The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions

The ArQuives's Digital Exhibitions

Explore highlights from The ArQuives’s collections of personal and organizational papers, artifacts, ephemera and more!

Buttons as activism

Buttons have been used historically and into the present as a low-cost form of wearable activism. While buttons are typically produced on a mass scale and are not particularly rare; what makes buttons valuable is their personal and political affective qualities. Mirha-Soleil Ross and Xanthra Phillippa MacKay’s publishing company genderpress produced hundreds of buttons related to trans issues and activism. The collection of buttons demonstrates genderpress’ commitment to multi-issue activism, as the buttons articulate opposition to intersecting forms of oppression, as well as celebrating difference in queer and trans identity. For example, one button reads I’m electric, TS epileptic  indicating the intersections between transsexual and disability rights activism.1 Another button reads TS’S AGAINST RACISM, indicating a practice of intersectional solidarity against racism. A variety of gender identities are celebrated, for example Trans Dyke, TransFag, and Poly gendered. Other buttons included are related to Mirha-Soleil’s animal rights and vegan activism, including Transsexuals for Animal Liberation.

1.Xanthra Phillippa MacKay wrote a poem discussing her experiences with epilepsy, which is published in issue #3 of gendertrash.

Buttons as activism