Over on another forum, someone asked what the Intersectionality meant to us in the context of an LGBT march like in DC on March 17th. I thought about this question and what I had learned participating in and reading reactions to the Women's marches a few weeks ago. My answer is about really practical things in a march. I am not sure I am fully there, but I'm trying.
Intersectionality for me means a more complete awareness that our oppression and marginalisation is part of a complex pattern that influences us all differently depending on how we fit in society. Therefore, for example, the pressures I am under as a gay white man are very different from a latina bisexual woman who lives with a partner who does not represent in the gender binary, and their children. So for this march it would mean for me:
- It means being aware that having their back like I want them to have my back will involve me standing up against the racism that she will encounter and I will not, and which quite often will impact them more, or be indistinguishable, from homophobia. If I try to compartmentalise their oppression ("this is homophobia, this is racism, and I am only here for the homophobia") for my ends, I will lose her in our movement.
- LBT women in the large cities were there for us during the HIV crisis, so we'd fucking better be there for their anger about shutting down of their reproductive rights. The same forces that will not allow a woman control over her body are the forces that want to regulate who and how I can fuck. I understand that since women make less on average, and women of color or of alternate sexuality make even less than that on average, shutting down free, or low-cost, women-oriented healthcare centres because they may also perform abortions is an assault of the health of the L & B & even T part of GLBT, and thus it is on me.
- It means being willing to correct my over-representation as a white and male person in who speaks, who gets photographed, who gets represented (without whining that "women are taking over everything"). Basically, it means I need to be ready to sit down and shut up.
- It means my kink and sex-positivity will need to be incorporated even if other people are uncomfortable, but it has to come from a place of inclusion. If we dump trans sex workers because of the politics of respectability, you have lost me and whomever I would want to walk with on a leash, if you hadn't dumped me already anyway. We are a sexual minority, goddamit.
- It means, from my personal POV, acknowledging that while I may march to keep the rights we have obtained by now, and assimilate into the system even better so I can exercise all my options by, say, demanding federal EEOC protected status, they may be marching there to blow up the system because it will never give them any options at all. This mismatch is uncomfortable for both of us, but we have to meet. They may even convince me things will not get better without a radical change that might lower my options for a while.
- It means getting in the way of any wailing suburban pale people who want to cry white tears of fragility when a black woman shows up with a sign that says "94% of us tried to warn y'all" or "White people elected Trump" and using my whiteness and stature and gender to remind them that a) the signs are actually true and b) it doesn't help anyone to try to sweep under the carpet that a lot of white people could look past nr 45s racism and homophobia enough to actually get us in a situation where we need to march, and that if you didn't vote for 45 the sign is not about you so acknowledge it and move on.