Intersectionality

There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives

-Audre Lorde

Intersectionality, in my opinion, is fundamental to activism because like Audre Lorde says, our lives are infinitely more complex than a single oppression or privilege. We are all more than one single identity so addressing more than one issue is critical to activism. Race, class, gender, etc etc all intersect to make us all complex and human.

The wage gap, for example, is something that is sometimes thought of as a single issue problem – the idea (generally) being for every $1 a man makes, a woman makes $0.77 (this should be an entire post but bear with me now). But if you add race into the mix along with gender, there are some major differences. When you add race to the mix, the differences grow and women of color are generally going to be paid much less than white men.

Hate crime based on sexual orientation and gender identity is another critical issue that must be addressed through intersectionality. I did some research about hate crimes and violence towards the LGBTQ+ community last spring and found (unfortunately) that trans people of color (especially trans women of color) and queer people of color were significantly more likely to experience violence. Rather than reiterate the presentation, here is a PDF of the research I found. So rather than just address the issue of transphobia and homophobia, we also have to address racism when addressing LGBTQ+ related hate crimes.

Laverne Cox also spoke about the intersection of transphobia, racism, and misogyny.

These are just two examples of many that highlight that intersectionality is often critical for activism.

It means understanding that different kinds of oppression are interlinked and that one can’t liberate only one group without the others. It means acknowledging kyriarchy and intersectionality – the fact that along different axes, we’re all both oppressed, privileged, and disprivileged

-Shiri Eisner

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