This is an interview with Carmen Vasquez, an activist in the women’s movement and LGBT community, who discusses the initiative she co-founded. Causes in Common sought to build coalitions between LGBT rights and reproductive rights movements because of the desired outcomes shared by both. Some of the main challenges of this initiative included intervention and opposition from certain groups, especially conservative gay groups. She also discusses how the lack of intersectional approaches within these movements made it difficult to be inclusive of people who embody multiple oppressions. Additionally, while attempting to build these coalitions, Vazquez conveyed that reproductive rights organizations seemed unwilling to advocate for LGBT rights, since they thought it would be counterproductive to advocate for issues that were still very much contested within the media. Vazquez states that women of color must be at the core of these movements in order for change to occur because of their lived experiences at the intersections of multiple oppressions. She hopes to see a movement that is more inclusive in which people fight against forms of oppression they will never personally experience. Vasquez states that she hopes that future generation of activists realize that progress should and has to be inclusive of the most oppressed groups in order for change to occur.
This interview offers insider information from an activist who has worked within the social justice sphere for generations, specifically with LGBT reproductive rights issues. The advice she offers could be useful to any progressive activist, because it contextualizes recurrent problems within social justice movements.