I started to hear the term ‘Intersectionality’ while attending the conference “Watch Us Run”. Then I heard it again throughout the speakers at the DC Women’s March on 1/20/2017. I could figure out what them meant by the word but it wasn’t obvious why a new word was needed.
Then I heard the conversation / interpretations around the decision to exclude “Pro-Life” groups from the march. Media reported on this as the Women’s march not being inclusive enough by excluding this key group. And then I got it.
Not because the reporting was accurate- it was not. The women were not excluded from attending. Their position – which was in conflict with the platform adopted by the Women’s March – was not in alignment.
The organizers did not invite the “Pro-Life” groups to participate, present and have their causes showcased / represented. The organizers took a stand driven by Intersectionality.
Because you cannot be for women’s rights and be against reproductive rights. Women reproduce. Limitations on reproductive rights impact women. Therefore they impact women’s rights. The right of a woman to choose what happens with her body – especially in areas around sex – is fundamental to providing equality and autonomy to women.
When abortions are legal – no one is making anyone get an abortion. When abortions are illegal or restricted someone else is closing out an option. Legal Viability for humans is set at birth – or 1st breath. Before that, you have life but not a human. The position on choice allowed the woman to hold the right over her body up until there is a lifeform that is mature enough to survive outside of the women’s body [which means they can breathe on their own]. The choice is made between the woman and her health care providers in privacy – as all health decisions should be. Anything less makes the woman lesser – takes away control.
So you can hold a position that abortions should be illegal – but that means you are for restricting the rights of women. You cannot claim to be for women’s rights and against their right to choose.
Just as you cannot be for woman’s rights and against LGBTQ rights, or disability rights, or race equality, or other aspects of equality.
Free means Free. Equal means Equal.
That is why Intersectionality is essential. It means we have to be serious about human rights. We need to quit pretending that we are for equality or for human rights but not for everyone and not all of the time.
Intersectionality provides a word to the fundamental that we, as humans, are complex. We are the fundamentally the same and yet we have many variations. As we celebrate and respect our commonality we MUST also celebrate our diversities.
Humans are complex. Politics are complicated.
The beauty is in the intersections.