I recently was pointed at a blog post suggesting people reject the Human Rights Campaign, a large social justice organisation that focuses on gender issues.
I generally respect HRW. The organisation has done a lot for tolerance and legal equality over the years, and has been moderately tightly focused on gender-issues and pragmatic on others.
The blogpost lays two claims of interest as to why we should not support HRW:
- They haven't always supported "transsexuals" in discrimination claims
- They've been willing to support legislation that advances the gender-equality and sexuality cause that is less friendly towards broader social programmes
- I am deeply bothered at the idea of employment discrimination against "transsexuals". While I don't recognise transsexuality, I don't believe it's appropriate to refuse to hire someone because they identify as such; how they see themselves is their business and so long as they're ok with their employer and coworkers having their own perspectives on gender, they're entitled to theirs; nobody needs to care, nobody should be harassed, people work together, they accept differences of opinion and whatnot, nobody demands anyone else talk or dress or date in a certain way, end of story. More broadly, employment should be about the ability to do the job, and issues of identity are only very rarely justifiable in employment decisions.
- I generally approve of narrow-focus groups more than I do broad-focus ones. Intersectionality is an interesting theoretical idea, but put into practice it ends up creating conversational provilege for third-wave discourse, limiting the understandability (for the unfamiliar) or the appeal (for many of the familiar) of movements to those they would serve. Why should a second-waver like myself, or a log cabin Republican, or someone who rejects Marx/Hegel, or anyone else who doesn't fit how these movements try to create overarching theories across different topics, sign on for that? I would rather take my activism a la carte. I think it's generally healthier that way, and it avoids cultural rot by having each movement staying in touch with and justifying its actions in terms accessible to the mainstream.