From my understanding about why the term is worth thinking about and utilizing as a tool of radical resistance …
Intersectionality is not just about having a multitude of grievances for which we do a check list, categorizing the various ways in which we are disadvantaged, or privileged, or what makes us outsiders, insiders, or othered/mainstream, freaks or terribly boring or different or samey, leaders or followers, victimized, or disadvantaged or disempowered.
Intersectionality is thinking about the various ways that we hang within these space-time structure(s) of disadvantage(s) and privilege(s), the “forth dimension” if one could call it that, being the way that this changes and shifts over time–within our lifespan or within the course of a day, as we code switch and learn to flip flop and play within these various masks and costumes we don in order to SURVIVE. It is an acknowledgement of the complicated nature of our identities, not another chance to numerically quantify ourselves (this is what makes it useful and different to most systems).
It is not about making a hierarchy of our violence(s) and comparing our violence(s) to other persons’ violence(s), or attempting to speak as though we can quantify Authenticity or Authority or Origin, or heirarchizing our right to speak or our right to have an opinion or assuming “they” must have experienced so much more (or so much less) than “I/us” based on this or that factor. Nor in the queer or alternative scenes do these aspects of class race gender sexuality ability education become brownie points for which we then account for and count up the ways in which we have achieved outsider status.
Intersectionality acknowledges the way in which we are dynamic. After all we code switch do we not. We class switch do we not. It is not about finding the one true voice or the one true origin; this is not a term about what we “truly are” or “finding true selves”. If it is at all, it is about creating such a complicated map of almost infinite dimensions that the complication appears to get us “closer to truth”. But. As we know, quantifying ad infinitum is still an estimation.
From my understanding, intersectionality is about acknowledging where we are situated (and this location is fleeting, dynamic, changing as I write this, as I access my presumed entitlement even to post “my” thoughts on the internet) in the space-time structure of a multitude of factors that determine how we interact in the real and virtual world(s), on the street, inside the chosen/forced spectrum of how we interact with labor and survival, how we are regarded in the academy, in the punitive system(s), in the merit systems, all of this.
And even then, after all that, intersectionality, as I understand it, must also see something of an even further dimension. And this would perhaps be to acknowledge that as unique individuals, even standing at the very same point that we have so intricately mapped within the space time dynamic systems, that we are affected by those very same things differently and differently on and within our bodies.
So what I think is, stand up for each other. Resist shaming and naming and heirarchizing. Fucking stand up for each other. Doesn’t matter who each other are.