Also.Also.Also: Queer People Are Organizing in Tech and Other Stories We Missed This Week

Hello, bunnies! I think spring is the most beautiful time of year for all kinds of little animals in real life and on the internet. If that bunny could talk, it’d say “Here’s the news we missed while I was looking at pictures of bunnies reading things!”

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 Farmworkers are Organizing, Resisting in the US and Abroad

+ Sexual assault of Florida farmworkers is becoming less frequent, thanks to the Fair Food Code of Conduct.

While litigation continues to be a way for many workers to stand up for themselves against employer misconduct, the Fair Food Program in Florida is an example of how nonlitigious workers’ rights initiatives can, according to advocates, systemically change conditions for farmworkers. And as the current era of campaigns to improve conditions across many low-wage sectors reveals persistent tension between workers and business, advocates note that the Fair Food Program is a workers’ rights initiative that is succeeding primarily through winning the support of business.

+ At Colombia’s Popular Agrarian Summit, it was declared that students, workers, indigenous people, and other groups will strike beginning on May 1st to demand the rights, equality, and respect they deserve.

The summit is part of an ongoing attempt by Colombia’s social organizations to provide space for people to articulate the problems they are facing and to collectively create solutions for a new order in the country. This process was constructed after the agrarian strikes in 2013, when campesinos took to the streets and demanded an end to displacements, exploitation of labor, land and resource expropriation by multinational corporations and the government, international free trade agreements, and a right to a dignified life.

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 It’s Time to Rethink Wealth and Work

+ It’s been 50 years since the passing of the Civil Rights Act, but we still have a ways to go before achieving economic inequality and dismantling this country’s “racial caste system.”

As Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking book “Capital in the 21st Century” has detailed: wealth has a tendency in a capitalist economy to concentrate into the hands of a few and travel down generations through gifts and inheritances. Even if racism were wiped out tomorrow and equal treatment became the norm, it would never cease being the case that the average white person has more wealth than the average black person. We could equalize everything else in society, and racial wealth inequality–plus all of the political power disparities that accompany such a thing–would continue into perpetuity.

+ Feminist theorist Katha Pollitt has some feelings about Melissa Gira Grant’s book Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. So does Autostraddle. But Pollitt’s response is rather problematic:

Why, under the banner of concern for “the women at the heart of the debate” (represented by a list of predictable tropes of abject sex workers) is Pollitt asking us to consider whether prostitution encourages men to feel entitled to sex without having to charm an unpaid woman in a bar? Because the women at the heart of this debate aren’t sex workers, but secondary consumers who might have to deal with male partners who are rude, socially awkward, or bad in bed.

Unpaid intimacy is a space of work too, and a Marxist feminist dialogue about how paid and unpaid sexual partners might struggle in solidarity would be wonderful. That would, however, require a radical departure from the “you’re not a worker because I don’t like what you produce” line of argument.


Iggy Azalea Wants More Queer Voices in Media

…and so do we. Obviously.

+In an Advocate interview, the rapper expressed her frustration at homophobia in the hip-hop community, but is optimistic for a better future.

“I don’t think we’re far off from [an out mainstream rapper] at all because women are the number 1 consumers of music and hip-hop, and I think women are more open to the idea of openly gay artists,” she says. “I remember seeing [out gay rapper] Le1f on David Letterman just the other night and thinking how great it was for him to have that kind of reach and exposure on television.”

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 Gender is More Than an Experiment

+ English professor Alexa Huang writes about her experiences as a trans woman of color, drawing parallels between her everyday existence and a social experiment in privilege.

Perception is very powerful, and once people put you in a box, there is little you can do to get out of it or convince people otherwise. One cognitive theory holds that the human brain seeks to use the least amount of energy possible to complete a task, including the task of perception: who this person is, what her position is in relation to mine, and so on. There are three stages. First, one quick look (first impression; the brain processes only select elements and not the whole picture). Second, formulation of a mental image based on the repertoire of known images (compare, contrast). Third, confirmation (cross-checking) and putting that person in a mental box (gender / race / age / class / social status). What follows is again something out of a mental box: pre-set, formulaic modes of interaction with the person based on perception. This is one reason why stereotypes exist, but it does not justify stereotypes.

+ Don’t misgender people. Specifically, Alyssa Garrison at xoJane asks that you not use the term “ladies” to refer to a group of people you don’t actually know the gender identity of.

So here’s my point: Don’t gender people you don’t know. Maybe they look female, maybe they look male, but what’s the point of singling them out and risking making a mistake that could ruin their day? There are trans people, genderqueer people, people who are happy to be called lady, and ladies who hate being called that, but at the end of the day, they’re all just people, and I think they should be treated as such.

Making the switch from “ladies” and “guys” to folks, or just nothing at all, might be a bit hard to get used to at first, but it would be pretty easy if you could see the way it affects our day every time someone calls Emmett a girl. The way his head and shoulders sag when a clueless employee repeats “ladies” over and over.


 You Should Go!

+ Activist Ryley Pogensky has created a change.org petition asking OKCupid to recognize trans and nonbinary genders as well as poly* romantic identities on their dating platforms.Pogensky is also coordinating an OKCupid Blackout on Friday (4/25) in which OkCupid users will make their profile picture a black box. Pogensky explains,

OKCupid recently asked their users to not use Mozilla Firefox and blocked their site from being accessible by the search engine because it came to light that Mozilla’s CEO was an unapologetic homophobe. Again the queer and trans* community took a back seat to the much more mainstream “gay equality”. This is not to say that it isn’t important that businesses stick up for equality. But it seems a bit ridiculous that OkCupid while being so disgusted by Brendan Eich’s words are not ashamed of themselves for ignoring a strong demographic of their users.

+ Autostraddle’s very own Intern Chloe is organizing the Out for Undergrad Technology Conference!

The Out for Undergrad Technology Conference (OUTC) is aimed at University Program students interested in careers at the world’s leading technology companies. At the conference, UP students develop strategies for managing and leveraging their identity in the technology sector. Conference programming includes informational panels with professionals emphasizing careers in tech, talks by inspirational tech entrepreneurs, sector-specific resume review, mentor discussions, a career fair with top Silicon Valley software firms, and numerous networking events. This year’s OUTC will take place at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

Applications are open now through June 5th!

Avatar of Liz

Liz is a student activist, cat lover, and pop culture enthusiast double majoring in Women's Studies and Classics at the George Washington University. When she's not reading, researching, or rabble-rousing, Liz enjoys knitting, spending time with friends, and watching things on Netflix.

Liz has written 25 articles for us.

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    You would think that all these feminists with degrees in gender studies from elite universities would at least know what Marxism is.

    “The nature of a product is irrelevant to how we should theorize, legislate, or organize the labor involved in producing it. Workers are not socially accountable for whatever may come from their work. ”

    That is the complete opposite of Marxism and only middle class people with heaps of privilege would claim something as outrageous as this. Privileged women argue for this kind of positions because it absolves them from any responsibility for how their work (for example, researching “feminist studies” in an extremely elitist institution like UC Santa Barbara) perpetuates the exploitation of other women. We are not all workers if we do some kind (any kind) of labour. Middle class people are not workers (at least not in the Marxist sense) because they are not part of the worker class – rather they are part of the oppressor class (which should be overthrown by workers).

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