Sexuality and ethnicity are linked, maybe even entangled. The concept of Intersectionality is a powerful way to understand both issues. In an intersectional perspective, gender cannot be understood separately from sexuality, class, race/ethnicity, or identity. All these “indicators of difference” are part of the construction of one’s identity.
It is important to point out that these indicators are not fixed categories; they are always being constructed. The social structures of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability, and gender can work with or against each other, they can interact or interfere with each other, and in this way, they can increase or decrease oppression and/or privilege. An intersectional perspective helps us observe how identities are related to each other in our own experiences and how this intersection of identities factor in the social fabric of privilege and oppression.
Our lives and our cultures are composed of many overlapping stories. Listen to this discussion on NPR featuring Chimamanda Adichie: What are the dangers of a single story?
We craft stories to make meaning in our lives. Our stories shape our identities and set the path for what is possible. We have the power to disrupt the narrative imposed on us. By telling our stories, we can heal and connect.
- What do we lose when stories of and by diverse groups are concealed or lost?
- What do we gain as a society when we listen to and learn from stories that are not ours?
Analyze your identities and how they intersect.
- How does examining and learning about intersectionality change the way you see your work? Think of concrete examples.
- How can your work be informed and transformed by the principles of intersectionality?
- Read this article highlighting the use of storytelling therapy as a culturally relevant intervention for Hispanic survivors of interpersonal violence.
- Watch La Mission, a movie about a Latino man respected throughout his barrio for his masculinity. When he discovers that his son is gay, it compels him to reexamine his life.