Class Matters Workshops

Download this brochure for more information on Class Matters workshops.

If you're interested in hosting a workshop, please click here for a brochure, or contact me about booking an event.

Order Class Matters

Class Matters book cover

Order Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists by Betsy Leondar-Wright (New Society Publishers, 2005).

Press Coverage of CM

Classist Comments

What's the most classist thing you ever heard someone say?

(I'm not talking about someone like Bill O'Reilly or your right-wing uncle. More specifically, what's the most classist thing you ever heard a liberal or progressive person say?)

Read five interviewees' answers — and my own.

Class and Other Identities

How do you experience class differently because of your race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, or other identity? What class dynamics do you notice within your identity groups?

Here's how a few visitors answered those questions:

And answers from the Class Matters book:

Class and Other Identities

GLBT and Class

The Louisville Youth Group runs a support group for GLBTQQ (Queer and Questioning) and straight ally youth. I was a teenager myself when I helped start it, and now, 13 years later I'm paid staff.

I try to give priority to the least privileged kids. Because they have fewer resources, they're more in need of a hand up. Some statistics for homeless youth show that between a quarter and half are homeless because they have been rejected at home for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

People are coming out at younger ages. It used to be college, now it is high school or middle school. Sometimes they get kicked out of their homes. We get quite a few young people from the foster care system, which has a disproportionate number of GLBTQQ young people.

When someone's considering coming out to their family, I ask them to assess their risks of being thrown out or cut off from their basic needs. Not to stereotype, but physical abuse seems more prevalent in lower-income young people. But it is important not to assume some of these same risks for wealthy young people too. I'm not as worried about their basic needs, but I'm actually more concerned about their isolation. They, too, are at risk of high risk behaviors. Because they often have more to lose financially, like a car or the prospect of college, they are less likely to come out. Many of these young people stay in the closet and go on to college, but have trouble reconciling that part of their lives with their families.

In our group meetings, youth leaders pick the discussion topics, like coming out, school issues, and relationships.

I go to many different meetings around Louisville related to youth, and I make sure I introduce myself as someone from a GLBT group. I don't let being a lesbian or being younger hold me back from allowing others to see me for who I am.

— Natalie Reteneller

When the Fischer meat packing workers went on strike, some of us in a gay rights group, the Fairness Campaign, proposed that the group back them up. It was a mostly white, middle-class group, and there was a volatile conversation, with some members saying it was off the point, not our issue, it would detract from what we were doing. But we said that you can't separate discrimination from workplace safety and wage protection. You need to back your natural allies and have their backing. We are not enough in numbers to go it alone, and you can't get there just on good will. Some members of the Fairness Campaign had awful stereotypes of unions.

But even without the whole group's support, a few of us participated on picket lines with the strikers. It made queer people real to the union members. We brought up class analysis in Fairness Campaign trainings, how it's connected, and when our anti-discrimination proposal came up for a vote, the union stepped forward, they came to City Hall and spoke up, and that helped us. We didn't win right away, but eventually our legislation passed. And we had union support all along the way. And we continued to be on the front line with them.

— Susan Remmers