The LGBT+ community is unique in that it is made up of a huge cross-section of all human society. There are people of all religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds who are LGBT+. This can be a strength, it makes us diverse and infinitely complicated as a group, but it also carries with it its own problems. Within the LGBT+ community there can be sexism, racism, transphobia and biphobia. This is the essential crux of having an intersectional identity.
Intersectionality refers to people who are part of multiple minorities. For instance, you could be black and gay and deal with both homophobia and racism, often at the same time. You could also experience racism from the LGBT+ community, then homophobia from the black community.
You could also be a trans woman, Muslim, and disabled. You could face ableism, sexism, transphobia and islamophobia.
Blog site Another angry woman writes that being a person with an intersectional identity is like standing in the middle of the road being hit by cars from many sides.
“One can think about a four-way junction (or, as the Americans call it, an). One road is not being male,” they write. “Another road is not being white. Another road is not being able-bodied. The last road is not being cis. Now, if you stand in the middle of any one of these roads, you’re going to be dodging traffic. But if you stand right in the middle of the junction, you have cars coming at you from four ways, and you’re going to have to do… more dodging than you would have if you were just in one road.”
Equality Network warns that having an intersectional identity can generate feelings ofisolation, depression and other mental health issues. They also point out that many LGBT+ organisations often lack the awareness of intersectional people’s unique problems. For instance, they might not be aware of prevalent racist attitudes within their own group and accidently create an unsafe space for a minority ethnic queer person.
“The LGBTQIA+ movement is not for me because I don’t have the privilege to fight for a singled-issue movement,” writes Alan Pelaez Lopez.
Being a person with an intersectional identity is like standing in the middle of the road being hit by cars from many sides.
“I’m Black, low-income, and formerly undocumented… My Blackness is visible. My accent marks me a foreigner. And my gender presentation makes me a target of violence in a world where femininity is devalued and to be destroyed.”
Lopez notes that mainstream LGBT+ community focuses on singular issues: that gay people will march in Pride parades, but not for Black Lives Matter; they’ll campaign for marriage equality, but not against the legal racial profiling of queer people of colour and their subsequently higher incarceration rates. Lopez points to the hugely skewed murder rateof trans women of colour, to the limitations of great projects like the “It Gets Better Campaign” which seems to be squarely aimed at cisgender white queer people: “As I stare at a screen of two white gay men – who also happen to be cisgender, US citizens, and upper class – telling me that things will “get better” concerns me. Because the truth is that the message doesn’t address the concerns of my community.”