I recently put together this reading list on queer intersectionality for a local LGBTIQ group, as part of thinking about how we can serve a wider community of same-sex attracted and gender diverse folks. I thought it might be useful to share it more widely.
For context, this is a 101 level reading list for people with a bare understanding of the concept of intersectionality. If you’re not familiar with that you might want to read Wikipedia’s article on intersectionality.
Interview with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who named and popularised the concept of intersectionality — I think it’s important that we remember and give credit to Professor Crenshaw and the black movements whose ideas we’re using, which is why I’m including this link first.
Intersectionality draws attention to invisibilities that exist in feminism, in anti-racism, in class politics, so obviously it takes a lot of work to consistently challenge ourselves to be attentive to aspects of power that we don’t ourselves experience.” But, she stresses, this has been the project of black feminism since its very inception: drawing attention to the erasures, to the ways that “women of colour are invisible in plain sight”.
“Within any power system,” she continues, “there is always a moment – and sometimes it lasts a century – of resistance to the implications of that. So we shouldn’t really be surprised about it.”
An excellent article about the New York group Queers for Economic Justice:
“You would never know that poverty or class is a queer issue,” said Amber Hollibaugh, QEJ Executive Director and founding member. She continued: “Founding QEJ was, for many of us that were part of it, a statement of …wanting to try to build something that assumed a different set of priorities [than the mainstream gay equality movement]: that talked about homelessness, that talked about poverty, that talked about race and sexuality and didn’t divide those things as if they were separate identities. And most of us that were founding members couldn’t find that anywhere else.”
An interesting personal reflection on intersectionality by a queer Asian woman in NZ:
On the other side, if I’m having issues in my queer relationship with my white partner the discourse my mum uses is that same-gender relationships just don’t work and aren’t supposed to work. Find a (Chinese) man, get married and have babies like she did. You don’t have to love him to begin with but you will grow to love him. Like my mum did, apparently. It’s like if you’re queer and there’s problems in your relationship it’s because you’re queer and the solution is to be heterosexual. If you’re Chinese and there’s problems with your family it’s because Chinese culture is just more conservative or backward and the solution is to distance yourself away from it or try to assimilate into Pakeha culture. It shouldn’t have to be like this.
An article about intersectionality and climate justice (not very queer-oriented but some interesting stuff to think about):
On a personal level, we have to slow down and educate ourselves so that we can name the toxic systems within which we exist. We have to relearn the real histories of the land, of resistance movements and what it has taken for communities survive. We must also take the time to talk through all of the connections so that we can build a deeper analysis of the crises we face. During this process, it’s important that we commit to the slow time of genuine relationship-building, especially as we learn to walk into communities that we’re not a part of in respectful ways. From there, we create space to truly hear each other’s stories and bring people together in ways that, as Dayaneni says, “we can see ourselves in each other.”
A speech about queerness and disability:
This gathering has been very white and for the most part has neglected issues of race and racism. All of us here in this room today need to listen to queer disabled people of color and their experiences. We need to fit race and racism into the matrix of queerness and disability. I need to ask myself, not only “What does it mean to be a pansexual tranny with a long butch dyke history, a walkie with a disability that I acquired at birth,” but also, “What does it mean to be a white queer crip?”
We haven’t asked enough questions about class, about the experiences of being poor and disabled, of struggling with hunger, homelessness, and a lack of the most basic healthcare. I want to hear from working class folks who learned about disability from bone-breaking work in the factory or mine or sweatshop.
We need more exploration of gender identity and disability. How do the two inform each other? I can feel the sparks fly as disabled trans people are just beginning to find each other. We need to listen more to Deaf culture, to people with psych disabilities, cognitive disability, to young people and old people. We need not to re-create here in this space, in this budding community, the hierarchies that exist in other disability communities, other queer communities.
And finally, Beyond the Queer Alphabet (ebook) — an entire book on the subject of queer intersectionality.
If you’ve got any other recommended reading, I’d appreciate hearing about it.