Aryenish Birdie: Why I rarely use the term “intersectional”

I’m a queer woman of colour, born from immigrant parents, and the founder and executive director of Encompass, a new organization fostering greater racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in the farmed animal protection movement. Because my identities live on so many different margins, I am constantly thinking about the intersections of various social justice issues.

I found my way into animal advocacy when I was in seventh grade and learned about how animals are used and abused through a frog dissection project in my biology class. Since then, I’ve worked on just about all animal issues from circuses, zoos, fur farms, vivisection, puppy mills, factory farming, and more. And I have also worked in other social justice movements, including those striving for racial equity, queer rights, and reproductive freedom.

Now that I spend most of my time in the farmed animal protection movement supporting fellow advocates of colour, I find myself thinking about race and gender even more than before. It’s interesting how many people approach me with gender-related issues, simply because I focus on race-related issues.

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