Intersectionality is where all forms of oppression overlap and impact each other, that is, from ableism to cissexism to ageism. As animal activists, we can be allies and advocates for a more just and sustainable world for both animals and humans. Our compassion for animals can and should include marginalized humans as oppression affects both.
A trans-woman in today’s society, experiences sexism, misogyny, and even death threats just for existing. This is oppression. If animal activists advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and vice versa; we would have many more voices against oppression. Being intersectional is much more effective than single-issue activism. I am vegan for the animals but am also for the marginalized humans in our society. My empathy and compassion aren’t reserved for animals only – I have enough love in my heart for all who are oppressed.
As I write, I reflect on the visit of controversial women’s rights activist, Posie Parker’s much anticipated visit to Auckland, New Zealand last weekend. The media sensationalized her pending visit as the government allowed her into the county for a speaking engagement. The LGBTQ+ community rallied to prepare for protests. In a highly charged context, Posie Parker’s address was abruptly abandoned when a protestor doused tomato juice on her head then the crowd literally forced her out and into an escape car. She left New Zealand immediately under police protection, shaken. The trans community celebrated – her mean, intolerant, hateful slurs had been silenced. However, I wanted to listen to her narrative then fire my questions at her, and vehemently challenge her but it wasn’t to be. Now I am listening to members of the LBGTQ+ community and empathise. In the last few days, I have learned so much more about their lived experiences and my understanding of their plight has expanded me. Animal advocates can do the same.
As a board trustee member of a women’s charity; I will initiate a conversation on how we could serve trans-women through our services. I’m excited. Just as I advocate for animals against exploitation and oppression, I can, we can, lend our voices for them. Because no-one deserves to live in fear and persecution.