A introduction for those new to social justice topics…

We recognize that googling broad concepts like ‘feminism’ or ‘decolonization’ can sometimes be a scary and ineffective way to find resources. So the editors of The Talon have compiled a list of our favourite articles, books and videos on various social justice topics for you to explore. We have tried to ensure the resources are useful, accessible, and relevant. Many of these resources sparked our initial interest in social justice and anti-oppressive issues – we hope they will do the same for you! As such, we encourage you to explore all the different subheadings, even beyond your initial areas of interest.

If you are brand new to thinking about questions of social justice and the concept of (anti-) oppression, these are some good resources to get you started: Marilyn Frye’s “Oppression” (PDF), Racism Free Ontario’s Intersectionality and Anti-Oppression prezi, and a long list of other quick links on anti-oppression.

We have tried to organize the topics into different categories, but acknowledge that all the issues listed below are very deeply intertwined. At The Talon, we take an intersectional approach to social justice, because focusing on single issues doesn’t make sense when we don’t live single-issue lives. To learn about what intersectionality is, check out this article on intersectional feminism from Ava Vidal at the Telegraph, and this one from Shanice McBean on intersectionality in a Marxist context.

Please note that this section, more so than the rest of our website, is a work in progress. We are continuously updating this page as we find new pieces, and if you have a suggestion for a good resource to add to this page, don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail! Also please let us know if a link you’ve found is defunct.

Click on a section below to display the resources for that subject. Some sections are formatted differently than others, based on what made more sense given the topic and editor’s style as we started out. The formatting may change as we work to fill in gaps and add additional resources going forward.


Intro to Feminism

Why Feminism? via Belle Jar Magazine

Feminism Now: What the Third Wave is Really About by Kelsey Lueptow

#YesAllWomen: how twitter reacted to the shootings in California by Elena Cresci

Not All Men: How Discussing Women’s Issues Get Derailed by Phil Plait

A How To Guide for Male Feminists by Mychal Denzel Smith

Feminism 101 by Melissa McEwan

Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In by bell hooks

Geek Feminism Wiki founded by Skud

Sexual Assault, Pro-Choice, and Rape Culture

FAQ: What is slut shaming? by tekanji (Andrea Rubenstein)

What Many Men Don’t Understand About Sexual Assault via Columbia University’s Daily Spectator

On Calling Things By Name: Rape, Exploitation and Victim-Blaming Aren’t Bullying by Beth Lyons

Women Against Violence Against Women debunking rape myths

AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre answering common questions on consent

Why I Won’t Publish your Comments about False Rape Accusations by Lauren Nelson

Harsha Walia on Anti-Oppression, Decolonization, and Responsible Allyship (video)

Moving Beyond the “Consent is Sexy” Narrative by Britni de la Cretaz

Feminism 101: Helpful Hints for Dudes, Part 3 on rape jokes and “The Rapist’s Comrade”

Why I Never Play Hard to Get by Rachael Kay Albers

What Our Dominant Narratives Say About Abortion by Laura Kacere

Masculinity, MRAs, and Gender Roles:

Jamie Kilstein explaining male privilege for men (video)

The Male Privilege Checklist by Barry Deutsch

The Friendzoner vs. The Nice Guy by Cain (image/comic)

Gender Roles and Masculinity by Razzy (image/comic)

Debunking the Men’s Rights Movement

If I Admit That Man Hating Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self Fulfilling Prophecy? by Lindy West

White Feminism

Feminism can’t just be for white women by Jamie Nesbitt Golden

5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism by Sarah Milstein

This Is What I Mean When I Say “White Feminism” by Cate Young

An Open Letter to the White Feminist Community

Indigenous Feminism Without Apology by Andrea Smith

Transforming Feminisms: Islam, Women, and Gender Justice by Sa’diyya Shaikh (PDF)

On ‘native informants’: when Muslim women want to ‘save’ Muslim women by Sana Saeed

Race & Racism

On White Privilege

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” by Peggy McIntosh (PDF)

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person by Gina Crosely-Corcoran

The Point Is Not To Interpret Whiteness But To Abolish It by Noel Ignatiev (PDF)

Privilege Discomfort by Noor Al-Sibai

Challenging Racism And The Problem With White “Allies”: A Conversation With David Leonard by Suey Park

On the claim that “White people are discriminated against in foreign countries” by Hannah

Understanding White Privilege by Frances Kendall (PDF)

Examples of White Privilege via This is White Privilege

This is a resource post for all good white people by tumblr user vasundharaa

On Allegations of “Reverse Racism”

Comedian Aamer Rahman Debunks “Reverse Racism” (video)

On the claim that using the term “White people” is racist and generalizing

Why Reverse Racism Isn’t Real by Sarah Luckey

On the White Saviour Industrial Complex

White Saviour Industrial Complex by Teju Cole

Mikael on International “Service” Trips

On White Supremacy

Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy by Andrea Smith (PDF)

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House by Audre Lorde (PDF)

When White Supremacy Isn’t About White People via DARKMATTER

On Cultural Appropriation

The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation by Jarune Uwujaren

Defining and Identifying Cultural Appropriation by Claire Light

”Ethnic Fashion” Obscures Cultural Identity by Sunita Puri

On Appropriating AAVE (African American Vernactular English) by the tumblr blog pocproblems

Undreaded: Why I decided to cut my locks by Shayna Stock

On Racial Oppression and Stereotypes

*We understand this section is attempting to accommodate many different topics, but in terms of accessibility, brevity, and organization, we found this format to be best. This section is just a primer, and only has a few links; however, if you would like more resources on topics such as anti-Blackness, anti-Semitism, Orientalism, etc, let us know! We would be happy to send you more.

That’s Not Who I Am: Calling Out and Challenging Stereotypes of Asian Americans by Whitney Pow

Which Women Are What Now? Slutwalk NYC and Failures in Solidarity by Latoya Peterson

The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: making resistance to anti-Semitism part of all of our movements (PDF, zine)

On Representational Paralysis, Or, Why I Don’t Want to Write About Temporary Marriage by Lara Deeb

Anti-Blackness And The Myths Of “Monoracial Privilege” & The “White/Black Binary” by Trudy, writer for Gradient Liar

I’m not your ‘Black friend’ by Crystal Sykes

Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex by Angela Davis

What Does ‘Islamophobia’ Actually Mean? by Tanya Basu

The fallacy of the phrase, ‘the Muslim world’ by Sarah Kendzior

Edward Said, Orientalism

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; Black Skin, White Masks

From Miasma to Ebola: The History of Racist Moral Panic Over Disease by Stassa Edwards

On (Im)migration and Diaspora 

Queue-jumpers, terrorists, breeders: representations of Tamil migrants in Canadian popular media by Sailaja Krishnamurti (PDF – requires UBC library access)

The Turn to Diaspora by Lily Cho (PDF)

The Racist Truth about Canadian Immigration by Rachel Décoste

100 years of turning people away: The anniversary of the Komagata Maru by Daniel Tseghay

In Canada Every System of Oppression is Organized around Settler Colonialism (an interview with Harsha Walia) by Candida Hadley

Why everyone should care about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by Harsha Walia

Death and despair in Canada’s migrant dungeons by Harsha Walia

Return to Sender: Migrants as Globalization’s Junk Mail by Laura Carlsen

On Indigenous Issues ( see next section as well)

Are People of Colour Settlers Too? by Malissa Phung

The Colonialism That is Settled and the Colonialism That Never Happened by Andrea Smith

Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy by Andrea Smith

“Doctrines of Dispossession” – Racism against Indigenous peoples by World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (2011)


Indigenous Resistance and Decolonization

Queer Issues

Definitions & Unpacking Terms

“What is Genderqueer?” via Genderqueer Identities (note that this resource positions and advocates for  qenderqueer as an umbrella term that subsumes non-binary identities, which doesn’t fit everyone’s experiences)

Intersex Awareness by Lauren Bird

The Way of the Two Spirited People by Sandra Laframboise and Michael Anhorn

25 Privileges That Sexual People Have by Erin McKelle

30+ Examples of Heterosexual Privilege in the US by Sam Killermann

30+ Examples of Cisgender Privilege by Sam Killermann

An Illustrated Primer on Asexuality by Maisha

The Asexuals Project by Laia Abril

Asexual Visibility & Education Network (Website)

Asexuality & Aromantic terms by hyaenahart (Tumblr)

Asexual erasure by Queer As Cat (Tumblr)

Queer Politics

When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person by Monica Hesse

Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage by Ryan Conrad

Marriage Will Never Set Us Free by Dean Spade and Craig Willse

Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization by Scott Lauria Morgensen (book)

Failing to Ford the River: “Oregon Trail”, Same-Sex Marriage Rhetoric, and the Intersections of Anti-Blackness and Settler Colonialism by T.J. Tallie

Does the Gay Agenda Have Room for Transgender Rights? by Mey

Challenges Facing QPOCs

How Racism and Homophobia are Pervasive in American Society and the Consequences for Queer People of Colour

Worshipping Each Other: Public Possibility Models of Black Queer Love by Deaundra Audrey Cash

QTPOC And Feminist Writers Save Lives by Jezebel Delilah X

36 Reasons QPOC-Only Spaces are Very Necessary by the QPOC Speakeasy

A body-positive, QTPOC online advice space

A tumblr by and for Queer Muslims

Gay Pride is for White People by Aaron Talley

Trending Homonationalism by Natalie Kouri-Towe

Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism by Maya Mikdashi

Coming Home: Queer South Asians and the Politics of Family by Alok at Return the Gayze

The Myth of Black Homophobia: Why I’m Not Feeling Macklemore and Why White Saviors Are Anything But by Dennis R. Upkins

Trans Issues

Cissexism is the prejudice, discrimination and oppression that results from systemically positioning cisgender bodies as the normal, right, and desirable way to have a body. A cis(gender) person is one for whom assigned sex, sex, assigned gender, and gender all ‘match up’ in the way our society deems acceptable, i.e. a male-assigned man or a female-assigned woman.

Because we live in a cissexist society, we are taught to assume that there are two, binary genders, and that these genders align with, and result from, bodies with certain genitalia. Like a lot of what we are taught, this isn’t representative of reality. More important to recognize is that these assumptions are cultural norms, which structure many of our spaces and social interactions in ways that commit violence against trans folk.

Asher, at Tranarchism, offers an alternative to the standard ‘Trans 101.’ Typical Trans 101 readings can be helpful in beginning to unlearn cissexist thinking, but can also reproduce problematic ideas like “sex and gender are different” or “sex is physical, but gender is socially constructed,” i.e. trans women are born men and become women or ‘vice versa’ (again, assuming a binary and erasing non-binary folks). While this is a lived experience for many, we need to think about why it is upheld as a universal narrative. Asher explains many important concepts, including gender (coercively) assigned at birth, cissexism, the gender binary, self-identification, and transphobia. Asher also has a list of other resources under “Trans Basics.”

When we assume that we can know someone’s gender, and, by extension, their {{pronouns}}[[pronouns]]The words we use to describe ourselves in the third person e.g. they them their, she her hers, xe xem xyr, none, etc.[[pronouns]], by looking at them, we also commit violence by reinforcing cisgender as the norm, misgendering folks, and making it someone’s responsibility to correct us, which isn’t always safe. Similar to Asher’s explanation of the problems with how ‘self-identified’ is deployed by cisfolk, Debunking Cis discusses how cisfolk’s response of “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter” or “Any pronouns work” when asked about their pronouns can reinforce, rather than challenge, cissexism.

Another space that reinforces cissexism is bathrooms. Our assumptions about gender have created binary spaces in which we violently police others’ gender(s). When bathrooms are labelled with a gender, they become inaccessible to those of us who don’t identify with the binary. But they also create a dangerous space in which we assume we can tell who ‘belongs’ in the space, and police those we don’t think fit what “women” or “men” means – there are no menstrual disposal bins in “men’s” washrooms. This is why all bathrooms should be gender-inclusive.

In 2006, various groups at UBC collaborated on an audit which reported that “The existence of gender-specific facilities (male or female) impacts the safety and comfort of people who do not identify as either male or female or who are viewed as transgressing society’s view of how men and women should appear.” A map and pamphlet listing gender-inclusive washrooms on campus came out of this audit, but has not since been updated.

For further explanation of why “gender is your brain, sex is your biology” and similar phrases are limited in challenging cissexism, you can also check out the trans*scribe series and Claudia’s articles on Autostraddle, particularly “A Queer of Various Stripes.” Note that while Autostraddle frequently covers trans issues and trans authors and editors, Autostraddle often has a cis-centric approach to writing about sex, relationships and other non-trans issues. It is also frequently exclusive of non-binary folks. That said, trans and non-binary folks still inhabit and access the space as authors, readers and commenters, and it’s important to not erase their contributions.

“trans*scribe” uses the asterisk after trans, and you may have seen it used elsewhere. The asterisk was used as a way to acknowledge the existence of and include non-binary identities which were often left out of prominent discussions of trans issues, politics, and identities. However, this was often co-opted and not used in combination with substantive inclusion of non-binary identities. Trans folks have noted that trans is an umbrella term, and we shouldn’t assume it doesn’t include non-binary identities. You can read more about ceasing use of the asterisk here, here, here, and here.

It’s incredibly important to note that many feminisms have excluded trans women from their discussions, activisms, and spaces. Feminists who exclude trans women (and often include trans men) on the basis of biological essentialism and ‘socialization’ are Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFS). Tina Vasquez wrote an important article on ending the long history of feminism failing transgender women at Bitch Magazine.

For more discussion of trans issues and politics from academia, check out the Transgender Reader 1 and 2.

Capitalism & Class

Animal Rights

For a general but fairly academic overview, see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on the moral status of animals.

Animal Liberation by philosopher Peter Singer, often considered the foundational text of the animal liberation movement.

The Case for Animal Rights by philosopher Tom Regan. Presents an argument for why moral rights apply to non-human animals.

Animals, Property, and the Law by legal scholar Gary L. Francione. Discusses the implications of thinking of animals as property. Sets the groundwork for the abolitionist theory of animal rights, a theory advocating for the end of animals as property.

Veganism in the Occupied Territories: Anti-Colonialism and Animal Liberation by Dylan Powell. He has follow-up posts and other articles exploring how animal activism fits (or doesn’t, or can) under his Veganism in the Occupied Territories tag.

Liberation BC’s collection of articles on various animal liberation issues.

Capitalism, veganism and the animal industrial complex by Lauren Corman, a professor of Critical Animal Studies at Brock University.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the most authoritative source on climate change

Skeptical Science, accessible explanations of climate science

Oh, Canada: How America’s friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate by Andrew Nikiforuk

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math by Bill McKibben

Arne Naess’s work on ecology and philosophy.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. A classic detailing the misinformation disseminated by commercial interests and the negative effects of these interests on the environment. Though written in 1962, many of its criticisms remain highly relevant today.

Marti Kheel’s Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective. A feminist approach to environmental conservation and nature ethics. Describes how feminism and environmentalism can be synthesized.

Global Politics and Imperialism

Please note that for now, this section is very limited to Canadian foreign policy and imperialism. We are working to expand the scope of resources.

Canadian mining

A Dozen Examples of Canadian Mining Diplomacy on Mining Watch Canada

The back story to CIDA-mining partnerships by Catherine Coumans

Canadian Mining in Latin America: Exploitation, Inconsistency, and Neglect by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Whose Development? Mining, local resistance and development agendas by Catherine Coumans

Alain Deneault, Imperial Canada Inc.

Canadian foreign policy

Harper’s Crimes Against Humanity (website)

Canadian foreign policy is to promote corporate greed by Yves Engler

Canada’s Toxic Relationship With Chemical Weapons by Yves Engler

Yves Engler, Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy

Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority by Yves Engler

Disability Justice

Vancouver Issues

Gentrification is a process that occurs in cities all over the world, and is a significant problem in Vancouver specifically. This is a helpful introduction to gentrification as a general, racist and unnatural process of displacement. Everywhere it occurs, gentrification has serious human rights implications. Here are a few good articles by local community organizers on the ongoing gentrification in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), the history behind it, and how it is contributing to skyrocketing homelessness in this city. This is not the first time in the city’s history that massive racialized displacement has occurred.

A significant recent development in the DTES’s battle against gentrification was the approval of the DTES Local Area Plan (DTESLAP), referred to as the “dispersal plan” by many critics. Jean Swanson, a prolific DTES community organizer, writes here about the gains and losses of the plan for the community it targets. Swanson also writes here about how the City’s official definition of social housing can be and has been a significant tool in the gentrification process.

In Vancouver, “renovictions” contribute to gentrification and homelessness across the city. This video is a good basic intro to what a renoviction is, and this brilliant video seamlessly discusses how renovictions occur in Vancouver from a legal framework. This graphic from The Downtown East shows how a single developer has been rapidly gentrifying local SROs through the process of renoviction. It is important to note that the gentrification process in the DTES is aided by tactics of discriminatory policing (see also: this and this).

Even beyond the DTES, Vancouver is in a state of housing crisis. A good introduction to the wider rental housing crisis can be found here, and here is a piece that discusses Vancouver relative to other renter-majority cities. This article outlines the ways in which the current Vision Vancouver-dominated city government is responsible for the state of housing affordability, and this piece talks about the housing crisis as a problem of local developer monopoly. The unaffordability crisis has also had a severe impact on local arts and culture, leading to the closure of many local arts and music spaces.

Money plays a significant role in Vancouver’s municipal political scene. This piece beautifully illustrates the connections between Vision Vancouver and real estate interests, and how we are seeing those play out in the general affordability crisis mentioned above.

The Tyee and the Terry Project published a fantastic radio/article series about Vancouver’s historical harm reduction drug movement and the state of it today. You can listen to and read it here.

Vancouver has a violent history of anti-Asian racism. You can starting reading about it here, here, here, here, here, and here. The some-what jargony piece here also discusses the ways in which this racist legacy is perpetuated today. This piece on the sanctuary city movement discusses one form of anti-racist organizing currently going on in this city (see also).

Activism & Social Justice

This section is for a few good resources on the day-to-day ‘how-tos’ of activism.

Here is a handy article on how to respond when someone uses non-inclusive language. This is a great piece on the problems with tone-policing, further explored here.

This is a really great piece by Harsha Walia on challenging the sexism that often underlies political organizing.

The Talon, like many other social justice-minded organizations, makes all major decisions on a consensus model. This is a useful guide to consensus-style decisions and meetings. This is a note on starting meetings with preferred pronouns, and why it might be important to provide framing on pronoun sets when doing so.