"Justice is what love looks like in public."
— Dr. Cornel West
I strive to be inclusive of, accessible to, and affirming of all bodies/minds, identities, and people in my work. That means, but isn't necessarily limited to ...
- People of all faith traditions, spiritualities, or lack thereof, especially marginalized faiths or belief systems in the communities I inhabit, including atheists, humanists, and agnostics, whether lifelong or (de)converted;
- People of all a/sexualities and a/romantic orientations, including marginal sexual and romantic identities and experiences such as the entire asexual and aromantic spectrum, folks with queer identities, sexual minorities, or anyone else under the LGBTQIAP+ (or QUILTBAG) umbrella, and other people with highly stigmatized sexual experiences such as sex workers, polyamorous folks, members of the kink and BDSM communities;
- People of all gender identities and expressions, including marginal gender identities and expressions such as the entirety of the trans umbrella, non-binary and genderqueer folks, gender-nonconforming folks, agender and genderless folks, women (both transwomen and ciswomen), and female, feminine-identified, or feminine-read folks;
- People of all body types and appearances, including fat people, people with cosmetic disabilities, disfigurements, scarring, or deformities, and folks with tattoos, piercings, or other body modifications;
- People of all neurological, mental, and body types, including those with both apparent and hidden disabilities; people with formal medical/psychiatric diagnoses and people who self-identify with disability; people born disabled and people later disabled; people who prefer person-first and people who prefer identity-first language; people out as disabled and people who do not (or can't safely) identify publicly; people who might identify with specific labels or diagnoses or people who don't identify with any particular label or diagnosis; people who identify with disability through madness, trauma, fatness, sickness, deformity, or any other unconventional disability experience; people with body dysphoria about function and experience who identify as transabled; and anyone whose bodies/minds simply work atypically or differently than usual;
- People of all racial, ethnic, or national backgrounds, particularly Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous or Native, Asian, Jewish, Mixed-Race or Multiracial, or other people of color, otherwise racialized people, as well as undocumented folks, stateless folks, refugees, and other seasonal or permanent migrants;
- People of all socio-economic backgrounds and money statuses, including working class people, poor or low-income people, homeless people, and people without formal education or higher education (whether by choice or circumstance);
- People of all ages, especially those who experience ageism either because they are (or are perceived as) children or youth or because they are (or are perceived as) old or elderly; and
- People who communicate ideas in all forms, including those who communicate best face-to-face, in text, by typing, online, using manual languages, using pictures or graphs, using nonverbal body movements, or any other form of communication.
This stance is part of my political belief and practice, which are anti-oppression, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and anti-kyriarchy at their core. I believe in intersectional activism and organizing for transformative, intersectional justice, and collective liberation from our many oppressions. I believe in deferring to those most directly impacted by any issue in learning about that issue and how to best be an ally to members of the affected community.
(Content: The examples given in the examples below discuss specific violence against specific groups of people, including sexual violence.)
- When I use the word "oppression," I mean prejudice or prejudiced values that are backed by an entire system of power relations. This happens both formally (like through laws, policies, and academic research) and informally (like in mass media, popular culture, and everyday language).
Specific example: Believing that being disabled is worse than being dead, then supporting lenience for a parent who murders their disabled child supposedly out of desperation or mercy.
- When I use the word "imperialism," I mean when a nation-state is expanding its power and domination to exercise social, political, and economic control other nations or people through force and violence.
Specific example: When the United States government created laws and policies that forced indigenous Americans into small areas (reservations) and then forced their children to go to schools where they weren't allowed to speak their own language anymore, while also sterilizing some indigenous women and imprisoning many indigenous men; this was all after and during more obvious genocide of indigenous peoples.
- When I use the word "racism," I mean prejudice against people of color as a form of structural oppression that treats white people as both default and idealized while at the same time harming anyone who is not white. (Note that all racism is not identical, and that different groups of people of color experience different types of racism and racial trauma.)
Specific example: Police and citizens alike can get away with murdering Black and Brown people as long as they claim it was in self-defense, because of widespread unconscious fear that Black and Brown people are more dangerous than white and light-skinned people.
- When I use the word "kyriarchy," I mean all systems of oppressions as they work together, feed into each other, support each other, and depend on each other to survive, persist, and spread. All systems of oppression are both necessary for and dependent on every other system of oppression to exist and perpetuate.
Specific example: When people read as women report being raped, they are often told that they aren't capable of understanding what happened to them because they have mental issues. When people with intellectual disabilities report being raped, they are often told that specifically because of their disabilities, they can't understand what happened and are therefore unreliable as witnesses or reporters. When people of color report being raped by white people, they're less likely to be believed because the white people are assumed to be more reliable and truthful.
Justice is for all, not "just us."
I believe in working to support justice and liberation as much as possible, and in whatever ways are possible -- and that socioeconomic class, age, disability, or other factors (like safety and needing to be closeted about certain identities to survive) can make various types of participation or activism impossible or dangerous. I believe that every individual is the expert on their own needs, capacities, experiences, and body. I don't believe in shaming anyone for not participating in any given campaign or talking about any given topic, because self-care is actually important. Instead, I believe in building networks of mutual support and interdependence.
I don't believe in using language litmus tests to determine who is a good activist and who isn't. Everyone is at different places in their learning processes, and many factors (especially disability and education related) affect how people can use or change their language. I believe that people's ideas and actions are the best way to judge their intentions and their character.
I strive to be an ally to communities that I am not part of, but will not always succeed. I try to fix mistakes when I make them. I appreciate friends, colleagues, and strangers who take the time to hold me accountable when I do make mistakes. I try to hold myself and others accountable, but I also believe in having mercy and compassion when we make mistakes, because everyone is part of oppressive systems, just in varying degrees of complicity and consciousness. This is not an excuse to let oppressive behavior or actions slide, but a recognition that everyone is constantly learning and growing, and that accountability has to come with compassion.
I believe that we need each other to dismantle oppressive systems. Our communities and connections to each other are important. We have responsibilities to ourselves and to each other to be both accountable and compassionate. Just as our oppressions depend on each other to survive, achieving liberation will require collective action.
this page last updated November 2016, but due for at least a partial re-write soon
this page last updated November 2016, but due for at least a partial re-write soon