Have you seen any successful examples of intersectionality in your community?
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Where have you seen intersectionality in your community?
As a young, indigenous woman, I have not only seen intersectionality, but I have also experienced it. I am still experiencing it - both its highs and lows. It is everywhere: from education, to employment, to the home, and within social circles.
Despite efforts to mainstream cultural relativism and gender and development in national policies, much is still needed to actually eliminate forms of discrimination. For instance, indigenous peoples continue to be nationally segregated and discriminated as "unlearned" peoples. Because of this image, we continue to be treated as objects or beneficiaries of programs and projects instead of subjects who are capable of agency. There are gains from the advocacy campaigns to raise awareness on indigeneity, but these gains are usually reduced to nothing when indigenous peoples continue to be misrepresented in various fora (festivals, trade fairs, textbooks, media, among others). On a parallel note, non-male genders continue to face discrimination and sometimes even violence, because of systems of power embedded in mainstream Philippine culture: patriarchy and heteronormativity. These experiences are further compounded by age. Filipino culture teaches us to respect our elders. The degree of respect varies from community to community, subculture to subculture. There are communities where respect for elders is absolute and there are those where it is flexible, depending on the context.
When these three axes (ethnic identity, gender, age) come together, it creates a double-edged experience for people. It is both a boon and a bane. Until the sociocultural barriers are lifted or changed, it will always be a struggle for people from the margins.
Thailand had never had any parliamentarians from diverse background before until the political party named, "Move Forward Party" were established three years ago. It was the first time the country had several number of a person with disabilities, karen ethnic origin, LGBTIQA+ background became parliamentarians. They have worked hard to bring social and legal acceptance toward different groups of people.
In my personal capacity successful practices of intersectionality is at the heart of my personal, voluntary, and professional pursuits including, inter alia: 1. My volunteer work with LGBQTIA+ Asylum Seekers in my capacity at Many Coloured Sky; 2. My volunteer work with religious/ethnic minorities seeking asylum in Australia in my capacity as Legal Researcher for the Human Rights Law Program at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; 3. My professional work with LGBTQIA+ persons living with HIV/AIDS in my capacity as the Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre; and 4.. My professional work with homeless women in my capacity as board member for Bridge It Ltd, a NFP start-up assisting these women with cheap transition housing.
In my residential community at University Hall, UWA, we are so fortunate to have a range of diverse people from all over the world who represent various cultures, linguistic abilities, religions, genders, and sexualities. Being able to live in such a diverse space enhances student experience and allows people to directly engage and educate themselves through positive exposure to diversity. This also provides social channels for individuals, particularly who originate from rural Australia or overseas, to feel comfortable in their own skin and truly be themselves in an environment that celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of everyone. It’s truly amazing to see everyone interact and celebrate intersectionality whilst also acknowledging the challenges and hurdles people face. This extensive interaction displays the decency of our Residents and demonstrates the potential for university residential communities to provide a safe and positive environment for intersectionality. This is significant as university residential communities have historically, and even contemporarily in some cases, have not been the spaces for such interaction.
A successful example of this intersectionality was when we had several of my friends and residents from University Hall contribute their literary works to the book ‘maar bidi’ (https://www.magabala.com/products/maar_bidi) which is a series of self-expressive short stories written by Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander youth. The anthology is a triumphant platform for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander youth navigating their way as young people as part of a minority in Australia. This literary expression of intersectionality is an example of its success in my community and something that I know its authors are very proud of.
Our city has been incorporating religious pluralism on a lot of community projects. One project that a lot of organizations are fostering are community gardens. The main objective of these projects is to engage the members of the community in cultivating food through peace-building and leadership. Also, this activity enables the residents to interact and communicate with each other, and build an avenue to develop goals and strategies as a community.
In Western Australia's latest election we have seen successful examples of intersectionality. It is extremely important that we see it happening in the realm of governance as elected members are ultimately the ones who make decisions for their community and the state as a whole. I admire North Metropolitan MLC Ayor Makur Chuot, a woman of colour, refugee and working mother. She is strongly supported by her community and I believe she is a role model for many young women of colour. The Australian/WA Parliament still lacks when it comes to ethnic/LGBTQIA+ diversity. Until we see more of that, young women and men with diverse backgrounds will not feel represented at all and might even be discouraged from entering politics.