So. Intersectionality. Let’s start with a definition, shall we? (And yeah, I know it’s Wikipedia, but the definition from them is sound):
Intersectionality (or intersectionalism) is the study of intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.
On Tumblr yesterday, someone wrote this (the “Intersectionality…it’s a thing..” is my response to the post):
I may be in a really rant-a-licious mode lately, but, as I mentioned previously in my post defining social justice, people tend to have a very myopic view about who is and isn’t oppressed. Reminding people about intersectionality is supposed to be the remedy. It’s supposed to remind us that there are many forms of oppression, domination, and discrimination that all overlap and that people can be discriminated against in more than one way.
Now, the last commenter is right, in general, in saying that the heterosexism and rape culture issues are not exclusive to asexuals. However, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t asexual oppression and discrimination within that. One way you can look at it is through my definition of social justice: Are people being shitty to said person because of a specific characteristic or category? In this case, yes, because people are being shitty to the original poster for being asexual. And the commenter is being shitty to the original poster by erasing their experience, oppression, and discrimination as an asexual.
That last bit is why recognizing intersectionality on all levels is important. We don’t live in a vacuum, and all systems are interconnected. In it’s best form, intersectionality recognizes all of the oppression that a person can experience and acknowledges their lived experience. We, as a society, are really into erasing people’s lived experiences and invalidating the very real emotions behind them as trivial. Just because it isn’t part of your lived experience doesn’t mean that someone’s oppression isn’t real. We’ve seen this a lot in the feminist community. The larger feminist movement is primarily white and middle class, and generally ignores the issues specific to women of color, non-gender conforming persons, and transgender people. Queer groups are generally similar in favoring privileged groups over others. The problem with ignoring intersectionality, particularly of marginalized groups within movements, is that it perpetuates the very systems these movements claim to want to break down. Just as being diverse in one area doesn’t give a group a pass, neither does ignoring intersectionality.
As I’ve seen others say recently (in several forms): my social justice will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.