Intersectionality is defined as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” It can relate to a large scale, as in how all peoples of the world who share systematic prejudice. We can even see it drilled down to specific groups like our LGBTQ community. Are we not made up of every nationality, gender presentation, educational background, and socio-economic group? But we are also as divided as any other minority when it comes to wealth and status. The space between those divides are also so immense.
Here is how intersectionality can affect our community. A black man will face racism from white culture. A lgbtq person will face prejudice from non-lgbtq people. A black lesbian woman would have to deal with both racism and homophobia. This same black lesbian woman could also face racism from the LGBTQ community and can face homophobia from their black community. To use a description by another person, it would feel like standing in the middle of a road and being hit by cars on all sides. It is these very real issues that leave so many of us as a stranger in a strange land, where and how do we fit in. It has its toll on our livelihood and mental health.
As a community, we must strive to change this mindset and include more intersectional identities. Our own history shows how various minorities in our own community were the ones who sparked the fire for change but yet when we look back, we only show a cis white male perspective. Don’t get me wrong, Harvey Milk did a lot for our movement and pushing it forward but would he have had the change to make it to his heights had it not been for the transgender woman and men of color who were tired of the constant harassment they had to endure? Or what about the activists like Bayard Rustin, without him would we have had the activism that pushed us into the living rooms of people’s homes?
When we look back in our recent history, we can see the disparities when we look at the AIDS crisis. Gay, bisexual, and trans women of color were shunned by their families and our community. Many were raised in families that showed them very little love, due to their differences. This often translated in a lack of self-preservation that in turn led to more promiscuous behaviors. Due to this, we saw, and still do, see higher instances of HIV cases. Factor in the socio-economic conditions many of these young people of color had to endure, they were not given the same access to health care and preventative measures that their Caucasian counterparts were afforded.
It comes do to simple facts, our own LGBTQ community is still separated from its members. Our cause has progressed at the sacrifices of LGBTQ POC and it is time that we now stand in support of them and bring a fully embraced culture to our community. We cannot make any more progress until we can stand as one unified group. I ask of you, how can you bring intersectionality to the LGBTQ community? Your don’t have to think globally, focus on locally. The best pushes forwards in movements come from the local areas first. Be the change you want to see.