Isabel Krupp blames her East Vancouver upbringing for her activist spirit.
“I was really lucky growing up to have an amazing queer mentor in my life,” the 23-year-old says. “As a young person, I think it’s important to have those intergenerational connections.”
Krupp works at two local non-profits: as a program and office administrator at Check Your Head, which empowers youth to take action for social, economic and environmental justice; and as youth program coordinator at West Coast LEAF, a group that uses equality-rights litigation, law reform and public legal education to fight discrimination against women.
This past summer, she was a cabin leader at CampOUT, and in her spare time she facilitates workshops on HIV 101 and sexual well-being for YouthCO.
Having grown up in a poor working-class and activist community, she says she’s found it impossible to distinguish between her sexual identity and her politics.
“I’m not just a queer person or I’m not just a lesbian; I’m also poverty-class or I’m white or I’m able-bodied — like there’s all of these things that shape how I live life as a queer person,” she says.
Those politics have also led her to get involved in grassroots organizing as part of the Vancouver chapter of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA).
“I think it’s important as queers, as trans people and as allies to be aware of how our movement and culture is being used to push down other groups — if it’s to be used as pinkwashing.”
Last summer, QuAIA members handed out flyers at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and participated in a successful panel to challenge the inclusion of Israeli government-backed films in the festival. Recently, they’ve been connecting with chapters in other cities and are trying to grow and figure out what to do next.
Krupp points to the spread of pinkwashing of businesses and politicians as a growing problem for the community.
“The idea that tar sands is ethical oil because it’s not coming from the Middle East and is therefore queer-friendly oil is problematic,” she explains. “More and more groups who have had detrimental effects on the queer community will put up a rainbow or come to Pride to put on a veneer of progressive politics, when they’re still doing other things that hurt [us].”