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Embracing Intersectionality: Empowering advocacy for LGBTQ+ Individuals with Colour, Disabled, and Transgender Communities

CoachHub · 19 June 2023 · 7 min read

Pride Month celebrates the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community. Its origins can be traced back to the Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal event in New York City in June 1969. Following a police raid on the popular gay bar Stonewall Inn, LGBTQ+ members fought back, sparking days of protests and resistance.

This event was a watershed moment in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, inspiring the formation of activist groups. In the years since, Pride marches and parades have spread worldwide, celebrating LGBTQ+ identities and advocating for equality. Nowadays, Pride Month serves as a time of global awareness, solidarity, and support for LGBTQ+ rights.

Importance of Intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ community

Intersectionality is important in the LGBTQ+ community because it acknowledges the overlapping and interconnected oppressive systems that affect individuals. It recognizes that one’s perception of discrimination and marginalisation is shaped by factors other than sexual orientation or gender identity, such as race, class, disability, and others.

Understanding intersectionality allows us to address the unique challenges that various groups within the LGBTQ+ community face. And this helps to foster inclusivity and equity. It also emphasises the importance of hearing and actively involving diverse voices, views, and experiences in conversations, policies, and initiatives to create a more just and inclusive society for everyone.

embracing intersectionality

Understanding Intersectionality

The concept of intersectionality emphasises the need to address the particular problems oppressed groups encounter by recognizing how various types of oppression (such as gender, sexual orientation, class, etc.) overlap and interact to shape people’s experiences and identities.

Complex interactions between many identities have an impact on experiences. For instance, a person’s possibilities, privileges, and problems may vary depending on their colour, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. Intersectionality recognizes that a person’s experience as a queer person of colour, for example, is influenced by the junction of their race and LGBTQ+ identification.

It acknowledges that marginalisation and discrimination occur on many different levels and that people with several intersecting identities may experience particular oppression. To confront structural injustices and move towards a more inclusive and fair society for all, it is essential to understand these intersections.

Some examples of intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ community include experiences such as being a transgender person of colour, facing racism within LGBTQ+ spaces, navigating the challenges of being an LGBTQ+ individual with a disability, or experiencing discrimination as a queer person with a low source of income.

Challenges Faced by LGBTQ+ Individuals of Colour

Over the years, statistics have gone a long way to show the discrimination and violence that LGBTQ+ members of colour face daily. According to a survey in 2020, 24% of people of colour were discriminated against in various healthcare centres, while 18% had to guide their doctors to understand their sexual orientation to receive care. 10% were simply rejected with no explanation due to sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, in the economic status and other sectors like housing, 48% of people of colour earn below $40,000, while 44% find it hard to rent or buy a house due to discrimination.

Intersectionality of race and sexual orientation/ gender identity

The concept of the intersectionality of race and sexual orientation acknowledges that a person’s experiences within the LGBTQ+ community are affected by their racial identity and sexual orientation. It recognizes the specific forms of prejudice and marginalisation that members of racial minorities in the LGBTQ+ community experience.

For instance, queer individuals of colour may encounter racism in LGBTQ+ spaces or deal with racism and homophobia daily. Intersectionality makes it clear that we must confront these interrelated oppressions, promote inclusivity, and make sure that the views and experiences of LGBTQ+ people of colour are acknowledged and respected in the struggle for equality.

The way to empower LGBTQ+ individuals of colour is by educating and empowering them. By supporting grassroots organisations and initiatives individuals face daily, the challenged will muster a voice to speak. This will promote a high margin of Intersectional inclusivity.

LGBTQ+ challenges

Challenges Faced by Disabled LGBTQ+ individuals

Like their non-disabled counterparts, disabled LGBTQ+ individuals also face similar statistical numeration of heightened levels of discrimination and barriers. The intersection of ableism and LGBTQ+ discrimination likely compounds the challenges they experience in healthcare, employment and social inclusion.

Intersectionality of disability and sexual orientation/gender identity

Unlike that of race, the intersectionality of disability and sexual orientation oversees that LGBTQ+ members with disabilities can also have intersecting identities which shape their experiences.

The concept acknowledges that disabled members of the LGBTQ+ community face different challenges, such as discrimination in their day-to-day activities. For instance, they might face ableism or other issues like lack of access to health care. This is one of the reasons for the need for policies and inclusive spaces so that disabled LGBTQ+ members have the means to express their concerns.

To empower advocacy for disabled LGBTQ+ individuals, it is necessary first to consider the challenges this group faces. For instance, addressing the issue of heteronormativity and ableism already solves the larger part of the problem that the disabled face. With the problem out of the way, it is now possible to amplify the voices of disabled LGBTQ+ individuals, giving them room to shape conversations and lead advocacy movements. It is also possible to collaborate with disability rights organisations to create a powerful alliance that promotes intersectionality.

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Challenges Faced by Transgender individuals

Transgender individuals face significant challenges in accessing healthcare and experience transphobia when seeking general health services, and 45% feel their GP lacks understanding. Transition-related healthcare is often delayed for 90% of trans people.

Additionally, trans people of colour encounter transphobia from healthcare providers at a higher rate (13% vs. 6% for white respondents). Addressing these issues is crucial to ensure equitable and inclusive healthcare for all transgender individuals.

Intersectionality of gender identity and other identities

This one recognizes that an individual’s experience of gender is cross-linked with various aspects of their identity. It acknowledges that non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming community members might also have intersecting identities. The identities in question include ethnicity, race, disability, socioeconomic status, and others.

These intersections can form and affect the members’ privileges and access to resources. It can also affect the experiences of discrimination. For example, transgender women of colour may face compounded forms of marginalisation due to the intersection of gender identity, race, and transphobia.

Empowering advocacy for transgender people involves several key steps. First, it’s essential to educate ourselves about transgender experiences and challenges. We should actively listen to transgender voices and prioritise their leadership in advocacy efforts.

Providing legal protection against discrimination and ensuring access to healthcare, including gender-affirming treatments, is crucial. At the end of the day, the main goal should be promoting transgender visibility after establishing supportive networks and safe spaces. This way, society becomes more inclusive.

support pride

Creating Safe Spaces and Inclusive Policies

Fostering a more fair society necessitates investigating how institutions and organisations may advance intersectionality and inclusivity. By actively seeking out varied viewpoints, offering training on intersectionality, and putting inclusive policies and practices into place, organisations may encourage diversity and inclusion.

By fostering representation on all levels, they may establish safe places that acknowledge and address the particular difficulties experienced by people with overlapping identities. Through inclusive curricula, policies, and legislation that defend the rights of oppressed people, institutions like educational and political authorities can encourage intersectionality. Organisations and institutions can help break down structural barriers and provide settings where everyone can thrive by actively supporting intersectionality and inclusivity.

Highlighting best practices for creating safe spaces and implementing inclusive policies involves several key steps. Organisations should prioritise education and training on unconscious bias, intersectionality, and LGBTQ+ inclusion. They should actively seek diverse perspectives and input from marginalised communities, involving them in decision-making.

Developing and enforcing inclusive policies is necessary while maintaining consistent communication. Regular assessments and feedback mechanisms should also be in place to ensure continuous improvement. All of these will help to foster a sense of belonging for all individuals.

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Conclusion

In a nutshell, intersectionality plays a vital role in the LGBTQ+ community, recognizing the multifaceted nature of oppression and the unique challenges faced by individuals with intersecting identities. By understanding and embracing intersectionality, it is possible to build a more inclusive movement where everyone enjoys equal rights.

Therefore, as allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community, it is everyone’s responsibility to advocate for the rights and well-being of all marginalised individuals. It’d help if everyone actively listened, amplified the diverse voices, and challenged the systems that encourage oppression.

In mass, creating a community that supports and uplifts everyone is possible. Let everyone embrace intersectionality and work hand in hand toward a more inclusive future for all.

Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specialises in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him travelling or listening to good music.

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