The following is a synopsis from my contribution to the Brooklyn Food Conference 2012 talk, "The Other Rainbow on my Plate: The Queer Perspective on Food Systems Work."
Panel description: A diverse panel of LGBTQ individuals explain why food policy is a queer issue and take us on a journey through food poverty, youth services and leadership, food production and health.
Other speakers on the panel included Celine Conception, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics; W. Brandon Lacy Campos, Queers for Economic Justice and The Fairy Chef; Kenyon Farrow, Housing Works; Jane Hodge, Just Food
Why is food policy a queer issue?
The feminist adage: personal is political and politically I'm an ethical vegan (meaning eating no meat or dairy products including cow milk, cheese or eggs), lesbian and feminist (someone who defends equal political, economic, and social rights for women).
I hope we call all call ourselves feminists!
When I hear food policy I think: animal rights and human rights. A feminist food policy incorporates economic justice, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and an awareness of what's driving climate change, in my view.
In otherwards, it's the intersectionality of these issues informs a healthy food policy.
Is coming out as vegan really anything like coming out as gay?
Much like coming out as gay, one comes out as vegan. It's an important political act. It's a threatening act to the norm.
In the words of pattrice jones, “Homophobia is really all about controlling reproduction and enforcing heterosexuality, specifically for the purpose of controlling women's reproduction."
The role of commonality of oppressions
All forms of marginalization is part of a larger system of oppression. I don't think it's a coincidence that a number of those animal rights advocates who have most informed my education in activism regarding the undeniably inhumane factory farming industrial complex are gay including Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals, Jasmin and Marianne of Our Hen House and Patrick Kwan of the Humane Society of the United States.
A food system and policy that denies the welfare of animals is unable to meet the needs and well being of the marginalized individuals for whom it is meant to serve.
Sensitivity to one form of injustice awakens one to a sensitivity to other forms of oppression.
While my experiences are as a feminist, lesbian, vegan I think the same can be said of those living with disabilities or people of color can also make one sensitive to other oppressions or marginalizations.