What Is Intersectionality

Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Intersectionality is the ways that different overlapping identities affect the ways we experience them.

For instance, it'd be simple to say that women fear walking home alone at night, and men don't. But that's only if you aren't considering that every man and woman also has a race. A black man doesn't have the privilege of feeling safe walking home at night. He could be shot by the police or a vigilante. Pretending all women have white privilege, and all black people have male privilege, is what is called a non-intersectional approach tooltip available.

White women might complain about men trying to carry things for them, but black women can't get help when they do need it. This is a classic example of intersectionality in someone's life. Even when trying to advocate for their own respect, an oblivious popover available white woman might end up saying something racist, or at least disrespectful, because of her lack of consideration for intersectionality. Similarly, an able-bodied latina woman still has able-bodied privilege, and could still say or do something ableist. A disabled gay white man could still say or do something misogynist. We are all complex people with different ways we are positioned above and below each other by society in different contexts.[1]

When it comes to intersecting identities, 1 + 1 = 3. As a trans woman, I face all of the oppression that women face, and all of the oppression that trans people face, but the combination called transmisogyny is heavier than just both of those combined. For instance, the pressure put on women to have a perfect body is extra strong for trans women, because failing to meet those expectations could result in being denied access to healthcare by doctors who perceive us as "not real women."

It's important to be aware of our overlapping, intersecting identities, and not ignore the needs and experiences of those who are more marginalized popover available than we are. It's also important to recognize that you do not have to be just one thing. You are a whole, full, person, not just each separate part. You do not need to cut yourself into pieces to validate your reality.

[1] Vidal, Ava. “‘Intersectional Feminism’. What the Hell Is It? (And Why You Should Care),” January 15, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10572435/Intersectional-feminism.-What-the-hell-is-it-And-why-you-should-care.html