One of the greatest breakthroughs in the modern movement for basic human and civil rights has been different contemporary leaders’ ability to highlight, link, and strengthen the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and economic modality.
The concept, known officially as Intersectionality, describes the ways in which oppressive institutions of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, and classism are interconnected and thus cannot be examined separately from one another. The breakthrough has allowed us to critically examine subdivisions of oppression with the ultimate goal of its total eradication.
Imperfectly, yet nonetheless more so than any era, we are pausing when discussing women’s rights and feminism to specifically highlight discrimination felt uniquely by women of color. We are pausing when discussing racial justice to highlight injustices felt uniquely by trans people of color.
These are important steps forward and they are sprouting conversations everywhere, especially social media, which has played an immeasurable role in giving a voice to shared experiences.
Two days ago, an Instagram user named greenqueennc posted an important communication perfectly linking women’s rights to the discrimination LGBT persons are suffering around the country as a result of GOP legislation disguising itself under the cloak of “religious liberty,” highlighting in particular North Carolina’s egregious HB2 law, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom matching their gender assigned at birth.
The post perfectly highlights the absurdity of GOP lawmakers – the vast majority of whom are straight, cisgendered, white men – placing draconian restrictions on transgender people under the rationale of “protecting women” when nearly all sexual assaults are committed by men.
The post perfectly embodies intersectionality at its absolute finest, pointing out how “some dudes are suddenly worried about ‘perverts’ in public restrooms” yet have never bothered once to question the realities of woman’s daily concern for these potential assaults based on their daily interactions with men.
It questions the hypocrisy of male lawmakers caring more about transgender people preying on women – despite overwhelming evidence that this has never happened in a public restroom – than they do about presidential candidates condoning rape culture by telling female college students to “avoid parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.”
The ending itself ties the struggles of transgender people to be afforded their basic civil liberties with an unapologetic declaration.
I am not worried about the trans person in the stall next to me.
I will pass a spare roll of toilet paper under the stall if her roll is empty.
I will hold her hair back if she is puking.
I will tell her that her outfit is cute, and ask where she got her shoes
She does not scare me.
You fucking scare me.
On Monday, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, delivered the North Carolina NAACP’s proposed Human Rights Act, which would immediately repeal HB2.
Activists also delivered petitions on the same day signed by 180,000 people adamantly against the bigoted legislation.
— Mara Keisling (@MaraKeisling) April 25, 2016
NAACP fighting for transgender rights, and statements linking women’s rights to the LGBT community.
Intersectionality at its finest, friends.