Intersectionality

Learning Objectives–At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Define intersectionality
  2. Provide examples of intersectionality
  3. Explain the importance of using intersectionality in our work

Intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. (Geek Feminism Wiki, n.d.).

Audrey Lorde Quote
Photo Credit: Pinterest

 

As discussed we reviewed Anti-Oppression Framework, oppression does not occur in silos. Oppressions reinforce each other. Their intersectionality influence how we experience oppression. We cannot understand how a woman experiences sexism without knowing how her race, sexuality, class, age, etc.

What does this look like in real life? Fortunately actress and activist Laverne Cox breaks it down for us in this talk where she discussing being bullied as a trans woman of colour. In this talk, Cox discusses how she has faced sexism, transphobia, and racism often at the same time.

Intersectionality dictates that experiences will vary based on the intersecting identities of the individuals in play. For queer people, an important intersection is often race, especially as it relates to family dynamics (Basic Rights Oregon, 2014).

Please watch the video from this article here:

 

This topic is important because we know that racialized youth who identify as LGBTQ2S are over represented in the youth homelessness population.

Service providers who work specifically with LGBT youth also report serving a greater number of youth of color, suggesting that—at the very least—homeless youth of color are present in LGBT-specific programs at higher rates (Cray, 2013: 6).

It is important to remember that youth you are working with encounter numerous barriers and microaggressions based on their various identities. Below is a fun guide to help us better understand intersectionality.

intersectionality fun guide
Photo Credit: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/10/04/issues-vs-identities-whats-better-for-progressive-social-change/

 

The next module is an exercise that will help illustrate how intersectionality functions and that most of us enjoy privilege based on at least one of our identities. The exercise is called the Power Shuffle.

Sources:

Basic Rights Oregon. (2014, September 27). 4 Eye-Opening Stories From LGBTQIA Asians and Pacific Islanders. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/lgbt-asian-pacific-islander/

Cox, L. (2013, December 19). Laverne Cox on Bullying and Being a Trans Woman of Color. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwy5PEEa6U

Cray, A. (2013). Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

Geek Feminism Wiki. (n.d.). Intersectionality. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality

King, J. (2014, October 6). Aniya Parker and an Epidemic of Violence Against Transgender Women of Color – COLORLINES. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/10/mourners_remember_aniya_parker_trans_woman_killed_in_los_angeles.html

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). An intersectional approach to discrimination: Addressing multiple grounds in human rights claims. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/intersectional-approach-discrimination-addressing-multiple-grounds-human-rights-claims

 

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