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WEAR YOUR VOICE'S MANIFESTO: OUR FEMINISM, OUR POLITIC, OUR LIBERATION

A WEAR YOUR VOICE MANIFESTO: Our Feminism, Our Politic, Our Liberation

Wear Your Voice is not defined by cisheteronormative, white supremacist, capitalist, and carceral bastardizations of feminism. This manifesto is who we are.

TW/CW: contains mentions of sexualized violence and assault, military and police violence, chattel slavery, mass incarceration, and white supremacy.

Wear Your Voice is a digital magazine for and by LGBTQIA+ Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) based in the United States. We publish reported articles, features, personal essays, and critical analyses of current events, politics, entertainment, culture, sexuality, health, and more. 

WYV was created, built, and developed out of a need to define our feminisms outside of the mainstream iterations of it, and out of the need for us to define it outside of the projections of what people think we “ought” to stand for. 

The editors and writers of this publication are queer Black and brown anarchists/autonomists, communists, anti-fascists, and socialists who are working towards liberation from all structures of power and oppression. We believe that education, the dissemination of information, and the witnessing and documenting of history from our queer, trans, BIPOC perspectives are essential to the process of liberation. 

WYV’s feminism is not defined by cisheteronormative, white supremacist, colonialist, imperialist, capitalist, and carceral bastardizations of feminism. Our feminism is rooted in the belief that our struggles are interwoven and that “equality” with white men under our current social constructs is insufficient and ultimately a continuation of oppression under the guise of “women’s liberation.”

Our feminism aims to dismantle all forms of oppression because a better world is only possible without the power structures which create vulnerable people under volatile, violent conditions that benefit the few. 

Who We Honor and Revere 

WYV’s politics are informed not just by our own experiences but also the experiences and works of other Black feminist and womanist thinkers, writers, activists, abolitionists, and scholars, as well as anarchists, communists, and race theorists who came before us. We are committed to honoring them and we look to Alice Walker, we look to Assata Shakur, we look to Angela Davis, we look to Audre Lorde, and:

Lorraine Hansberry, Mariame Kaba, bell hooks, Phillis Wheatley, Septima Clark, Saidiya Hartman, Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, The Combahee River Collective, SisterSong, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Toni Cade Bambara, Patricia Hill-Collins, Zora Neale Hurston, Nina Simone, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Ella Baker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Marsha P. Johnson, Lucy Parsons, Shirley Chisholm, Claudia Jones, Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Walter Rodney, Kwame Ture, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and many, many more. 

We are Black and brown feminists and as such, we critically analyze everything from that perspective. It is our experience, and the experience of other Black and brown feminists/womanists, that our liberation is tied to dismantling all forms of oppression, from white supremacy to gender-based violence, to capitalism and beyond. Wear Your Voice publishes pieces that take into account overlapping marginalizations because our identities cannot be pulled apart. All liberation demands this. 

White Supremacy 

Our mission, in all things, is to combat white supremacy, the oppressions it breeds, and the intentional revisionist reframing of history that enables it to continue. It’s an ugly thing and we regard it as the abominable, cruel, narcissistic, and vampiric monstrosity that it is. Moreover, WYV recognizes white, nationalist violence as a form of terrorism that directly impacts the lives of BIPOC, and as something that white people feel emboldened to enact because whiteness is always protected by our social systems and institutions. We reject liberalism and the moderate, centrist apologia that affords leniency to various forms of white violence and finds safeness in neutrality and performative allyship without truly providing support to the marginalized. Liberalism and centrism do not serve us or the communities we stand for, and WYV will never hold space for them. We are not and will never be neutral on matters of inequality, inequity, and oppressive violence. 

Imperialism and Colonialism

We do not believe in the legitimacy of settler-colonial governments. We are anti-imperialist feminists in solidarity with all living under occupation of settler forces. We are therefore in solidarity with Palestinians resisting apartheid, and thus we understand that Black and Palestinian liberation is intertwined and that we must fight together. The settler-colonial nation known as the United States is founded on genocide and slavery, and it continues to exert its violence every single day as an imperialist, fascist, capitalist police state. Across this planet, we support all Indigenous peoples in their struggle against colonizers, neo-colonialism (and its various iterations), and the stranglehold of decaying western governments still reaping resources from our lands. 

Black and Indigenous Autonomy 

Much of our political beliefs are rooted in the dismantling of colonialism. We write and fight for Black and Indigenous autonomy around the world. Colonialism has ripped generations of families apart; it is the scourge of our existence. It seeps into every facet of our lives and all to the benefit of corrupt leaders, western nations, colonizers, capitalists. Centuries of settler-colonialism and colonization have had and continue to have devastating effects on the environment and local ecosystems across the globe, creating a ripple effect of devastation which creates and sustains different kinds of violences. Reparations and decolonization are together one facet of the only viable solution to sustain human life on Earth and address the lasting effects of environmental racism that have touched generations. Black and Indigenous autonomy is a necessity that we support and continue to fight for. It is, therefore, our intention to honor Black and Indigenous traditions, cultures, and belief systems through our work. 

Police and Military

We are abolitionists. Our stance against imperialism, colonialism, and incarceration means that we are also anti-police and anti-military. Both forces protect the interests of this bloody, violent, fascist, and cruel empire. The United States military is not only responsible for the torture and murder of millions of BIPOC across the world, but they are also responsible for environmental degradation, the maintenance of right-wing governments across nations, enacting (sexualized) violence against women and children both at home and abroad, maintaining white supremacist, capitalist interests, and much more. 

Furthermore, we oppose I.C.E. and Border Patrol, and the xenophobic violence of borders maintained through Immigrant detention centers and deportation. National, local, state, and federal police forces are agents who exist to maintain the U.S. and its interests and oppressions. Police forces have terrorized BIPOC communities for generations. They have stolen from, framed, killed, abducted, tortured, sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned, detained, and harmed our kin. There is no such thing as a “good cop” as anyone who voluntarily chooses to be an agent of white supremacy has chosen to co-sign the violence of their colleagues and the settler-colonial government. Which is to say: we believe that all borders, western militaries, and police must be abolished.

Decarceration and Dismantling The Prison Industrial Complex

The U.S.’s existence as a capitalist, white supremacist nation-state relies on the continued use of slave labor. The abolishment of chattel slavery on plantations was not the abolishment of white supremacy, nor did this government ever grant Black people humanity or consider Black people as “citizens” deserving of rights, safety, and participation in society. The development of the prison industrial complex and the U.S. prison system as a mutation of enslavement continues to this day. America is a carceral state reliant on punishment and prison labor. Policing, the criminal justice system, the school to prison pipeline, deep poverty, redlining, pay inequity, environmental racism — all of it contributes and feeds into mass incarceration. Our feminism demands an end to prisons, an end to the way justice is currently framed. Prisons do not bring us peace, they create and sustain violence. They destroy our communities, our families. There are alternatives to prisons and it requires a systemic overhaul and dismantling of everything that makes this country an illegitimate nation. 

Capitalism

Much like other forms of oppression, capitalism continues to create and nurture mass inequities built on a platform of genocide, slavery, imperialist and colonialist violence here and across the global south. Capitalism both fuels and is fueled by other forms of oppression and its devastation cannot be encapsulated within a single piece of writing. Our feminism is deeply rooted in dismantling capitalism and its inherently destructive nature. Time and time again we witness its effects on the worker, on marginalized genders, on BIPOC, and on countless sectors of the labor forces, including journalism and media. Capitalism is both unsustainable and cruel. And there is no future for humanity if it persists. 

Environmental Racism

Environmental racism is a direct outcome of white colonial and imperialist land theft, occupation, and invasion. Climate change, or global warming, is also a result of colonialism, imperialism, hyper-militarism, and capitalism. White colonial mass-farming practices have devastated our lands (while food production is rife with abuses of migrant workers and poor BIPOC). Protecting our environment means to acknowledge the ways that capitalism and white supremacy continually work to destroy it and denouncing eco-fascist rhetoric. And as such, environmental protection requires the decolonization of all colonized lands. It requires a dismantling of capitalism and protection and sustainability based on the traditions of Indigenous peoples across the globe. Environmental protection cannot and should not be a privatized effort led by oppressors.

Food Apartheid 

We acknowledge the capitalist drive behind food waste and the myth of scarcity across the globe. Oppressions work in tandem to ensure that poor and working-class BIPOC have less access to grocery stores with fresh produce, less access to farmer’s markets and community grown and harvested foods. These food deserts are intentional, a byproduct of systemic racism and redlining wherein the restaurants and stores we have access to are multi-billion dollar chains which exploit their workers and the communities they are in; or woefully underfunded, independently owned and operated corner stores.

Housing and Education 

We understand gentrification to be a process of renewing and rebuilding Black neighborhoods, which often means that an influx of middle-class or affluent people (often white) lead to the displacement of the residents who have built a life and many memories in these spaces. Often referred to as “development,” gentrification is contingent on capital granted to a specific demographic, whereby we mean that it is determined by who has a financial stake in the movement and structure of entire cities. Historically and presently, this has meant that housing developers and rich or otherwise well-off people (often white, but not always) control how spaces are developed and who gets to reside in these spaces.

Gentrification, along with redlining and gerrymandering have served to intentionally disenfranchise mostly Black residents and impose racial segregation, as well as manufactured inequity and socio-economic immobility through environmental racism. Systems have been created and molded in ways to intentionally prevent Black people from receiving adequate housing and access to schools that receive significant support. The U.S. school system, on the whole, works to indoctrinate children into a police/surveillance state with school resource officers, and actively fosters the school to prison pipeline. 

Sex Work 

We write with the belief that sex work is a legitimate form of labor, and therefore it must be decriminalized so as to function as a safe form of work for all sex workers. While often conflated by policymakers who seek the continuation of its limited legality, sex work is not synonymous with sex trafficking. Sex work is a political term used as an umbrella for: street-level prostitution, erotic dancing, camera work, adult film, agency escorting, sensual massages, dominatrix work, and all other occupations through which one sells their sexual(-ized) services to clients.

The criminalization of sex work most often impacts the lives and livelihoods of those who do street-level work; overwhelmingly, those folks are Black trans women, Black cisgender women, and other Black queer and trans people—including youth. While it is a choice for most to enter into the sex industry, there are some who enter as “survival sex workers.” We name this not as an attempt to further stigmatize sex work, but rather to condemn anti-Blackness, capitalism, (trans)misogynoir, and queer/transantagonisms for making sex work a labor of survival and not one of choice for some. We also recognize, however, that all work can be classified as a labor of survival for some. Black people—as well as Indigenous people and other people of color—deserve to be able to perform sex work without any limitations or stigmas attached.

BIWOC and Marginalized Genders Liberation 

Historically, the mainstream or more “acceptable” and easily assimilated ideas of feminism have centered the needs of (upper-class, cisgender, heterosexual) white women. Many of their feminist goals are geared towards reforming current socio-political systems by integrating more (white) women into the workings of the state and within capitalism. We view this as a bastardization of feminism, one which continues to promote the interests of settler-colonialism, white supremacy, and imperialism. As such, the liberation of Black, Indigenous, and women and other marginalized genders of color—and all of our liberation—demands the dismantling of all systemic oppressions as opposed to the reforming of those systems, especially those which are gender-based. BIWOC and marginalized genders will never be granted humanity within the confines of the narrow boxes defined by whiteness, cisheteronormativity, and patriarchy.

LGBTQIA+/Queer liberation

Queer and trans liberation is at the forefront of WYV’s politic. It is the nature of this settler-colonial nation to repress, harm, and erase the existence of LGBTQIA+ people, especially queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of color. Cisheteronormativity relies on the continued domination of colonial thought, the promotion of harmful religious ideologies rooted in maintaining queer/transphobia, patriarchy, and white supremacy.  We believe that to be queer and to be trans BIPOC is transgressive of the bedrock that is foundational to fascism, whiteness, colonialism, and the very existence of the U.S. Feminism—as we define it—and queer liberation are inextricably linked. We continue to fight for our liberation in the memory of those we lost to the violence of the state and all those who fear who we are because they fear themselves. 

Reproductive Rights and Justice

WYV believes that an essential component of liberation for all includes safe, unmitigated support for access to reproductive rights and justice. Our autonomy, our access to crucial healthcare services is essential to our wellbeing and survival. We believe in highlighting the importance of reproductive healthcare and reproductive justice movement(s) for LGBTQIA+ BIPOC who are often disregarded entirely by reproductive rights movements that have historically centered cisgender, heterosexual white women. Repro rights and justice, like everything else, must also include an analytical framework that looks at the effects of classism, queer/transphobia, misogyny, white supremacy, colonialism/imperialism, and incarceration on our access to reproductive healthcare.   

Health and Medical Industries 

Throughout history, white colonial powers have worked to subjugate racial Others through scientific and medical racism. They have taken the form of eugenic thought and practices like forced sterilizations, as well as unethical testing performed on unwitting, uninformed, non-consenting BIPOC subjects in studies that have left lasting physical and psychological impact on our communities. Medical racism is accompanied by and intertwined with medical fatphobia and ableism, which also work to deny adequate care to marginalized people seeking aid. It has also been instrumental in the creation, sustaining, and mishandling of various public health crises that disproportionately erode the stability and well-being of BIPOC. We reject the concept of “health” used to Other, medicalize, and pathologize us as a means to serve white supremacist interests, and we empathize with and corroborate the rightful distrust of these institutions by many BIPOC. 

Body liberation 

The liberation of our whole selves is central to our politic. This is why we readily acknowledge the multitude of ways that white supremacy and colonialist thought have worked to promote and enact pointed body terrorism against queer, trans, disabled, neurodivergent, and fat BIPOC. Those of us who exist in bodies deemed non-normative and Ugly by white colonialist ideals are disproportionately subjected to dehumanization, criminalization, state violence, socially-sanctioned abuse, hate crimes, and wrongful death. Therefore, our feminism must address anti-fatness, transphobic violence, ableism, and colorism, and apply a racial analysis to sexual autonomy and rape culture. It must also contend with the movement of BIPOC in ostensibly “white spaces” being seen as an invasive threat and grounds for our assault and murder, and with the many other ways that our bodies are used and affected by the systems that uphold cis, white, thin, neurotypical, able-bodied folks as the standard for humanness and right to safety.

In this way, we believe it is essential that one names their explicit support for fat liberation with as much vigor as all other calls for freedom. Fatness—and consequently, anti-fatness—is interconnected with all other marginalized identities and oppressive structures, and therefore cannot be excluded from any freedom struggles or placed silently as a footnote in text.

Culture 

As a publication that often critiques culture and its creations, WYV bears witness to the cultural genocide visited upon BIPOC by white supremacy and colonial violence over the course of centuries. This has been done through law and policy drafted to punish and discriminate against us on an institutional level, appropriation intended to erase us and our innovations, the theft and destruction of our culturally significant artifacts, the desecration of our burial grounds, and many more pursuits with the intention of ripping our cultural touchstones from us. It is imperative for us to use our platform to identify, hold record of, and speak against the ways that this carnage has been carried out, how it continues to be enacted, and how it has contributed to the suppression of our communities. 

Our Responsibility As Journalists 

Responsible and ethical journalism remains ever at the forefront of our pedagogy and praxis. As such, we refuse to give voice or legitimacy to oppressors and those complicit in oppression. WYV is dedicated to platforming and amplifying the work of those whose livelihoods are most impacted by destructive powers. Our publication and our feminism will never center or pedestal white voices, white experience, or white knowledge production. The work of the most marginalized will always be what we uplift and continually dedicate space to.

In all things, we ask: What is it that we are writing towards? What are we hoping to write into/onto the world? What is the goal of a feminist publication—or journalism at large—if it isn’t to ensure a better future, free from oppression? We know that this sounds like a lofty goal to many, perhaps even utopian, but what is the point of doing this work if it isn’t to imagine a better world? Feminist writing should provide the stepping stones to liberation and should lead to a reckoning of all oppressors. It should be a point of reference for others to look to when they need guidance. It should inform, it should comfort, it should bring about change for the better and change the way we perceive things we know or thought we knew.  

WYV’s political beliefs are an essential part of how we write, what we publish, and how we work with each other. In an industry where “objectivity” has long been defined by whiteness and the idea of supposed androcentric neutrality, it is our duty to correct a long-term imbalance that has benefited and reinforced white supremacy and the growth of right-wing ideology and fascism. Mainstream western news sources have been adept at remaining centrist—supporting white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy—and ensuring that the necessary groundwork for fascism was solidified, keeping BIPOC out of their newsrooms. They betrayed us and themselves by doing so. WYV exists as a force to subvert and counter this industry standard. 


JOIN WEAR YOUR VOICE ON PATREON — Every single dollar matters to us—especially now when media is under constant threat. Your support is essential and your generosity is why Wear Your Voice keeps going! You are a part of the resistance that is needed—uplifting Black and brown feminists through your pledges is the direct community support that allows us to make more space for marginalized voices. For as little as $1 every month you can be a part of this journey with us. This platform is our way of making necessary and positive change, and together we can keep growing.

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