Alec Baldwin is not a homophobe. He's just a progressive, tolerant person who happens, sometimes, to use words like "cocksucker" and "queen" in anger to insult straight people. That was the gist of the first half of Baldwin's diatribe in New York Magazine last month, his defense against allegations that he had called a paparazzo a "faggot." And, while Baldwin has taken a fair amount of heat for his hair-splitting approach to homophobic terms, his rationale is really nothing new or unique.
It's pretty common - an activist collective gets together to meet about starting a campaign. Even though the group is relatively diverse, it seems to be that the people who are talking the most are those with considerable privilege. It's those folks (white, straight, male, rich, able bodied, etc.) that have to make sure that they aren't falling back in line with the status quo.
North American society is made for the privileged, with the justification that we live in a meritocracy. In reality, there are many different systems of power working to oppress certain groups, depending on what identities they hold.
For me, feminism and the left have always been inextricably linked. The connections between gender oppression and global capitalism, the ties between feminism and anti-colonialism, the fight for social systems that put people first, starting from a place that views our existence as a group effort rather than a wall one climbs alone -- those connections made feminism an obviously progressive movement in my mind.
How could we make long-lasting change for women without a deep commitment towards addressing race and class oppression? How could we uproot the deep foundations of patriarchy that support all of our most powerful institutions without a profound commitment towards supporting the most marginalized?