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Introduction to Intersectionality

These slides have been prepared to assist in sharing information as it relates to intersectionality in the sport and recreation field.

Intersecting identities is an understanding that people have multiple identifying factors, both visible and invisible to others. It is also important to note that we are not bound to one identity or singular distinguishing factor. In other words, we are more than “just” a woman or man, tall or short, wheelchair user or able-bodied.

“Intersectionality” is an understanding that systems in our society have been intentionally created to benefit or oppress specific demographics. “Intersectionality is a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking.” (Kim Crenshaw).

Dr. Oni Blackstock is a Harvard graduate and practicing medical doctor and the founder of Health Justice, which consults with health organizations on issues of race and inequity. Dr. Blackstock speaks openly of the injustices she has experienced within the medical and education systems. She says: “Intersectionality is not just the concept of intersecting identities. Intersectionality is specifically about *marginalized* identities and how intersecting systems of oppression further serve to marginalize and disempower.”

Taking this quote from Dr. Blackstock and applying a gender equity lens, we need to respect the fact that girls, women, and gender-diverse people describe themselves differently and often in multiple ways. Therefore, service providers must consult and understand how best to provide welcoming environments.