The Intersectionality of Oppression: Talking with Progressive Allies About Our Issues

Cathy Bustin, Darby Penney, Shery Mead, Sera Davidow, and Chris Hansen

The panel will lead a participatory discussion and strategy session focused on our shared perception that there is a public narrative dismissing the human rights of people labeled with or regarded as having psychiatric diagnoses. As many of us have joined with other progressive people organizing against the rise of right-wing policies at home and abroad, we find that too many of our so-called allies use psychiatric language to mock right-wing opponents and see psychiatric labels as a legitimate reason for discriminatory behavior and policy. Panel members will frame the discussion by situating the psychiatric survivor movement within the historical and political context of other civil rights and social justice movements, and connecting the use of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry to related systems of oppression, domination, and discrimination. The panel will engage participants in discussion of action steps for building relationships and awareness of our presence in our communities, and to strategize approaches to coalition building.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify instances in which psychiatric terminology is employed in political discussions and actions in derogatory, degrading, and harmful ways.
  2. Describe shared principles and values among the psychiatric survivor movement and other struggles for human and civil rights.
  3. Discuss strategies for raising issues about the intersectionality of oppressions with allies from other social justice movements.