Advocate honors social justice leaders

Forty Under 40 banner image featuring Kenyong Farrow and Mia MingusI am surprised, impressed, and actually overjoyed to see queer and transgender leaders who push for an agenda excluded from mainstream LGB (and often T in name only) organizing included in the Advocate’s Forty Under 40. I want to highlight some folks from the list who would also be included in any collection of movement leaders fighting for liberation that I would compile:

Every time I’ve heard Mia Mingus speak she’s begun with her own identity: “A queer physically disabled woman of color, Korean American transracial and transnational adoptee.” In Mia’s fired up voice this sounds like a cheer and a rallying cry. Mia fearlessly calls out the ableism in our movements, pushing us to move beyond the goals of equality and access to liberation and the centering of disabled folks own words. Mia pushes social justice communities to focus on oft ignored issues like transnational adoption that require an intersectional analysis. Though her work is often centered on ending sexual violence, a broad range of linked issues are always present in Mia’s speaking and activism.

Kenyon Farrow is the Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, an organization that recognizes the oppression of many of the most marginalized in our community intersects with poverty, homelessness, police violence, incarceration, and racism. Through the organization Kenyon is building a network of grassroots LGBT organizations that center racial and economic justice in their work. Kenyon is the co-editor of “Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out” and the upcoming “A New Queer Agenda.” Kenyon’s essay, “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black” is a must read.

Dean Spade, now a law professor at Seattle University, is the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), which offers free legal services to transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex low income people and people of color. The organization also produces valuable educational materials and organizes around issues impacting the most marginalized in our communities. SRLP’s statement of non-support for hate crime legislation expresses a perspective on oppression by law enforcement and the prison industrial complex that needs to be heard and understood by mainstream LGB organizers. I will always be grateful to Dean for being the first person I heard speak publicly about the privileging of masculinity in queer communities when we were on a panel together at CLPP a few years ago.

The list also includes Selly Thiam, who Chloe interviewed for the Feministing Five.

Congratulations to all the Forty Under 40, and thank you for the work you do!

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