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What is intersectionality?

“Intersectionality” is an analytical framework and concept first introduced by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. She first discussed this concepted in 1989 through a published paper in the University of Chicago Legal Forum titled “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex.” This framework evaluates all the factors that combine and apply to an individual’s identity particularly as it relates to social and political identities. For example, Typically when we as a society discuss and analyze groups such as Black individuals or LGBTQ+ individuals or women. However, what is it like to discuss and analyze the experiences of a LGBTQ+, Black woman? Through understanding the layers of discrimination and oppression that each identity might face, we see the combined identity in total and can begin to understand the compounded and unique experience of individuals.

Why intersectionality matters

Sociologically, we as a society seek to understand groups of people. As much as possible, we want to have general, broad understanding of groups that apply in all cases. However, this does not always work. We can seek to understand the experiences of being LGTBQ+, but not all experiences within this identity are shared. What happens when look at the challenges faced by gay White men compared to those experienced by gay Black men?

Queer and trans* people of color (QTPOC) have often been at the front line throughout the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Yet sometimes they experience the highest levels of stigma within the LGBTQ+ community while receiving lower levels of support. Black and Latinx trans women proportionally have some of the highest murder rates.

We at Georgia Southern University want to make sure we acknowledge intersectionality in our work with students. We are dedicated to supporting the QTPOC community.


Last updated: 5/11/2021