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Living Authentically: Why Intersectionality is Important


Hi everyone. I’m Kayla, The Millennial Therapist and owner of Reclaiming Stories Therapy and today I want to talk to you about intersectionality. Let’s get into it. So intersectionality is a big term, but it’s an important term. And I first learned about this term when I was in college and I was doing my women, gender and sexuality studies. Um, and it really talks about the different identities that we all have inside of us and how that, um, kind of creates our experience of either power and privilege or discrimination. So the Wikipedia definition, um, of intersectionality and I have some notes here that I’m going to be reading off. So if you see me glancing, that’s why, um, the definition of intersectionality is the theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person social and political identities might combine to create unique modes of discrimination. So it’s really talking about how different identities create injustices in a single person, that the combination of these identities can create different, feel, not feelings, but different experiences, there we go, of injustice.

So there’s tons of different categories that we can talk about that this falls under. Um, and these are all kind of on a spectrum. So on one side we would have the dominant groups in society that, um, have kind of the power and the privilege, um, deemed by society. And then on the rest of the spectrum, or kind of everybody else that falls in line underneath that, that, um, are considered minorities and experience discrimination and injustice. So some of these categories are race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, and age. And so when people, um, are discriminated against them, we call it things like racism and sexism and ageism. Um, and so when you put those all together, um, you can start to understand how people can have different experiences based upon their different identities. So I was going to give you an example.

So a white woman has the privilege of being white, but then has the minority status of being a woman. So because she is not a man or a male identified person, um, she can experience sexism. And I’m assuming that her pronoun is she, um, and then a black woman would have, um, the same thing as the white woman of having sexism because of a woman, but also have the identity of being a black person and can experience racism as well. So black woman can experience both racism and sexism sometimes combined at the same time. Um, now if we go even further, then there can be a black queer or trans woman. Um, so again, experienced racism because of the race of being black, um, can experience discrimination against the identities of being queer or trans, um, and then also experienced sexism, um, due to being a woman.

And so it’s really important to look at this because historically intersectionality has not always been considered and has not always been something that different movements have understood as people have different experiences of discrimination and injustice, um, due to the combination of all their identities, not just certain identities. So why does this matter? Why does this affect mental health? Um, so again, kind of going back to what historically has happened, um, you know, focusing a little bit more on the women’s movement, cause that’s what a lot of my studies have been in, um, that even from the very beginning of the suffragette movement to get the right to vote, um, I mean even through today, but definitely in like the fifties and sixties as well of trying to liberate women from the home and, um, be able to, you know, go more out into the workforce and stuff like that.

Um, people are women of color of any type of minority color, but definitely black women, um, and then, you know, the LGBTQ plus people, um, we’re definitely not included in that, that it was primarily middle class white women that were fighting for women’s equality. Um, so when we do that, then it excludes a lot of people from the feeling that they are part of that movement and they’re part of the community that is pushing for equality, basically saying only equality for a certain group of people, but not equality for the rest of the people. And, um, it just kind of forces people to feel like they have to fit into a specific box. Um, and you know, that’s not great. It makes people feel anxious and depressed about certain identities because they feel like they have to kind of be put into that box. It makes people feel like they have to kind of pick and choose between their identities in order to be able to find a community.

So in kind of modern day times, um, you know, like a black woman may feel like, well, because I’m first and foremost black, that that is how people perceive me, um, that, you know, fighting for black lives matter is much more important than like fighting for the women’s movement because they may not really care that I’m black, um, and not really acknowledge that piece of my identity. So kind of having to pick and choose and not really feeling like I could embrace both identities to fight for, um, or, you know, kind of having to reject one identity or multiple identities or all identities for fear of rejection and backlash. Um, so it’s really important that we acknowledge this because there are a lot of people that are feeling isolated from these movements or just from society in general, because they’re afraid that if I acknowledge this identity in myself, then I’m going to have another way of feeling discriminated against.

Um, I’m heartened though that we are starting to have some more of these conversations. I think, especially right now with the black lives matter movement that, um, we’re starting to see a lot more people of all different races come out and say that this is not okay and we need to end racism. Um, and so I think we’re starting to acknowledge that, like we have to understand and identify all the different identities in someone, um, to really create full equality that we can’t just pick and choose, um, what we fight for equality on, um, because somebody might have another minority status that they identify as, um, that isn’t being fought for. So we have to really identify all the different ways that people are getting discriminated against in order to fight for that inequality. And I mean, I’m speaking a lot about like in society fighting, but also just to acknowledge for people individually that it’s okay to embrace all your different identities.

And, um, to know that, you know, we’re, we’re hopefully getting to better and better times of people being able to feel free and comfortable to be who they are and safe to be who they are. Um, so when I work with my clients, I really want to make sure that I am embracing and holding space for all your different identities and exploring all your different identities. And sometimes that does mean kind of looking at discrimination and how that can take place. But I think it’s empowering to know that we can have a space that we can just explore our identities in whatever way, shape or form that looks like. Um, and to know that we can find integration and all those identities so that you can feel like you can live your authentic self. Um, and that’s one of my biggest pillars on what I work with people on is to really live authentically and be the people that you want to be.

Um, so that’s kind of how I work with identity and kind of my stance on identity. Um, and I just want to acknowledge that, you know, I am still doing my own work too, and making sure that I am fighting for these things and putting my actions forward, instead of just my words that, um, I’ve always considered myself a feminist and I’ve worked hard to make sure that I’m not racist, but, um, I think now is really the time to do further work. And I’m trying to definitely make sure that I’m doing actions that are, um, anti-racist and that I am becoming an intersectional feminist and, um, doing that work on my own as a professional and as just a person. So, um, that’s my spiel on intersectionality.

Um, if you want to get in touch with me for services, you can go to my website at reclaimingstoriestherapy.com. Um, you can go to my contact page and fill out my fillable form, and I would be more than happy to get back to you and talk to you about how we can work together and if we would be a good fit. Um, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram @reclaimingstoriestherapy. My YouTube channel is The Millennial Therapist – RS for Reclaiming Stories. And that’s how you can find me. So, um, until next time I hope you guys are staying safe. I hope you are finding some creative ways to live out your identities and to, um, kind of do some more work that I think we all have to do right now. Um, and this is a really hard time, but it’s also a really inspiring and creative time to figure out how do we reimagine the world that we want to live in going forward. So, um, take care of yourself, but also maybe embrace this time to do some more introspection or research or things that you want to do on how we can push some of these things forward and create a more equal society. Um, but until next time, take care, stay safe, and I will see you in my next video. Bye.

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