Feminism and LGBTQI+ Community in the joint fight for human rights, stronger together
A few days ago, June ended, and with it, Pride Month came to an end for this year. In this article, we would like to provide you with some information on Pride month and why it is so important to celebrate it if you identify yourself as an LGBTQI+ Community member or not! Pride Month is about human rights, and if you are reading this, chances are high that you are a human being! So, this affects you directly.
Moreover, here at Femme Lead, we want to empower women, and we’ll learn how gender equality is crucial not only for women but for society as a whole! And how supporting Pride can benefit women and the entire society, everyone included! Intrigued? Keep reading, I promise it gets better and clearer!
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ+) Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the US. Today, Pride Month celebrations include pride parades, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, and Queer individuals have had and are having on history and societies locally, nationally, and internationally.
As anticipated, there is a direct link between women’s rights and Pride Month. Have you ever heard of intersectional feminism? Before arriving there…let’s go back to the basics!
GENDER EQUALITY - BACK TO THE BASICS:
Feminism-definition: “the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.”
Male chauvinism-definition: “the belief that men are superior in terms of ability, intelligence, etc.”
Mind that Gender Equality does not mean more equality and rights for women and less equality and rights for men. Gender equality is about rebalancing equality for the ENTIRE SOCIETY, for everyone.
It doesn’t mean taking something (rights, opportunities) from someone to give it to someone else.
It’s not a pizza! As UNWOMEN beautifully phrased:
Equality benefits society as a whole. This is why it is crucially important to protect and be vigilant about everyone’s rights: when we talk about human rights, we are all affected. Not equally though, people who are already discriminated against are very likely to suffer even worse (as the concept of intersectionality suggests).
INTERSECTIONALITY. INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM.
Intersectionality. Intersectional feminism… We hear about these a lot, but what do these concepts mean?
Though these terms have become commonplace over the last few years, “intersectionality” was first coined more than 30 years ago by Kimberlé Crenshaw, as a relatively obscure concept analyzing how the oppression of Black women was being overlooked in the eyes of the law. Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia and UCLA, coined the term intersectionality to describe the way people’s social identities can overlap, its lasting relevance, and why all inequality is not created equal (e.g. being a woman + having a migrant background + having a disability: all these social identities overlap and can exacerbate inequalities. These identities “pile up”, and the different discriminations stemming from such identities “pile up”, creating more inequality and aggravating the discrimination-s).
These days, I start with what it [intersectionality] is not, because there has been distortion. It’s not identity politics on steroids. It is not a mechanism to turn white men into the new pariahs. Intersectionality is a lens, a prism, for seeing how various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other. We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality, or migrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts.
Said Crenshaw during an interview . And to bring it more down-to-earth, she adds:
When we talk about inequality, we are often talking about material differences in conditions of life. Take income inequality. Numerous statistics show that women still get paid less for the same work. That multiplies over a lifetime and means that the problem gets worse the older women get. There’s also a term called the feminization of poverty, which speaks to all the ways that life circumstances—like child-rearing, divorce, and illness—impact women more profoundly. Across the social plane, from issue to issue, from institution to institution, you see women doing on average more poorly than men. When you add on top of that other inequality-producing structures like race, you have a compounding. So, for example, data show that white women’s median wealth is somewhere in the $40,000 range. Black women’s is $100.
Intersectionality is a framework for understanding how issues like sexism, racism, classism, and more can overlap and affect people in multiple ways, Crenshaw has said. The concept of intersectionality perfectly applies to LGBTIQ+ persons as well. Through the lens of intersectionality, we can analyse how queer women may suffer even more discrimination than cisgender women.
The link between women’s rights and feminism and the LGBTIQ+ Community is brilliantly underlined in an article from The World Economic Forum, written by Julia Ehrt.
The author writes:
We witness millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people protesting in streets across the globe (especially during Pride month) to call out homo-, bi-, trans and inter-phobia, to fight against discrimination and violence towards our communities and for a life lived in dignity and respect. The lack of knowledge on LGBTI issues is striking and hard to eradicate - and sometimes, members of our own communities perpetuate these ideas. One very common pattern of thought is that if people read or hear about sexual orientation or gender identity, they will assume the subject is an LGBTI person. While this is understandable, because that terminology was coined to fight against discrimination on these grounds, it falls short of recognizing that every human being has a sexual orientation and a gender identity.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION≠GENDER IDENTITY
Sexual orientation answers the question about to whom we feel sexually attracted – if at all - and with whom we want to have sexual and/or romantic relationships. This is the case irrespective of what that sexual orientation is. Our gender identity, on the other hand, is a reference to how we experience our sense of being a gendered individual. It does not matter whether we are trans, non-binary, gender diverse, a-gender, male or female, or have an indigenous gender identity – everybody has a gender identity.”
We should remember that the feminist movement, from its very beginning, has been dismantling the belief that our sex and gender should define our roles in society and has been fighting the inherent gender-based discrimination and violence resulting from that belief for more than a century. This is where feminist and LGBTIQ+ movements meet: the ill-treatment of women in our societies and the ill-treatment of LGBTIQ+ persons have the same root cause. It is all about sex and gender – and they should be tackled jointly. And this is where feminism and women’s empowerment and the LGBTIQ+ movement join forces. This is why we should join forces. It affects each and every one of us. No matter the gender identity or sexual orientation, it affects us all, as human beings. The fight for human rights is on and we are all fighting for the same: human rights, for everyone; a.k.a. equality, for everyone. Equality is not a pizza, more of a party everyone should join! And as for every glorious party, the rule is the same: the more the merrier!
We hope that after reading this blog piece, you feel intrigued and encourage to join the celebrations for Pride month next year, it is important. It is a call we should all pick up because, once again, it is human rights we are talking about, everybody’s rights. Not to mention Pride Month celebrations are usually so much fun!!