Understanding Intersectionality

Coined in 1989 by professor Kimberle Crenshaw, intersectionality describes how individual identities intersect or overlap. The concept was first introduced in the legal world as a way to push the courts to acknowledge that things like race and sex were not singular issues that live independently of each other. In fact, the intersectionality of identities creates specific challenges that cannot be ignored. Identifying how different identities interact and compound is essential in understanding oppression and equity.  Once we understand, then we can make a plan to address power imbalances and eliminate them.

As we move through April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it’s important to understand how intersecting identities impact the rate of assault. Sexual minorities have a higher rate of experiencing sexual assault and violence due to poverty, stigma, discrimination, and hate motivated violence.

And if you are a trans person, those rates are even higher. According to the HRC, nearly half of all trans folks report being sexually assaulted in their lifetime. And if you are a trans person of color, that rate increases to 65%. To avoid putting themselves in unsafe environments, over half of trans and gender-diverse folks do not use public restrooms, a third limit how much they drink and eat to avoid having to use a public restroom, and almost 10% report infections because they wait to use a restroom.

To find out how you can support transgender folks, please read Supporting the Transgender People in Your Life: A Guide to Being A Good Ally.

It will take a village to address systemic inequity. We must all use our unique privilege and voice to dismantle the layers of oppression in order to rebuild a more equitable and just society. 

Important Dates in April

April 2023: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. It is observed in April.

Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

The theme, slogan, resources and materials for the national SAAM campaign are coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center each year with assistance from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States.

April 2023: National Diversity Month

National Diversity Month takes place in April every year. It was initiated in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity of the world around us. It is a time to recognize and understand our differences, be it gender, race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, and other factors, while honoring the common essence of humanity.

April 6: International Asexuality Day

IAD is a coordinated worldwide campaign promoting the ace umbrella, including demisexual, grey-asexual and other ace identities.

April 14: Day of Silence

The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in schools.

April 18: National Transgender HIV Testing Day

National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD) is observed each year on April 18 and recognizes the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness, and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts in people who are transgender or gender nonbinary. NTHTD was established by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of San Francisco Transgender Center of Excellence.

April 26: Lesbian Visibility Day

Lesbian Visibility Day is a time to recognize the worldwide lesbian community. Lesbians have contributed to society both in the public eye and behind the scenes. Yes, we’ve made progress as a culture in our acceptance of queer people. But lesbians still face judgment, discrimination, and stereotypes.

April 24-30: Lesbian Visibility Week

Lesbian Visibility Week aims to show our solidarity with all LGBTQI woman and non binary people in the community, as well as celebrate lesbians. It is essential that Lesbian Visibility Week is a voice for unity and lifts up ALL women, especially those who come from marginalized communities.