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Editorial: Intersectionality and Sexuality

Intersectionality, put simply means that our location on different dimensions such as those of gender identity, caste, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, to name just a few, weaves an intricate criss-crossing that determines our privileges and marginalisations. Shweta Krishnan, in an examination of desire and caste, shows how this criss-crossing is not between mutually exclusive categories, but how some categories are so deeply entangled that they shape, and sometimes even co-produce each other. In the making of political categories, differences are as important as samenesses, and Shweta brings us to realise that we are not part of one large homogenous ‘sisterhood’ speaking in only one voice and telling only one story.

In a thought-provoking conversation with Shikha Aleya, co-founder and co-director of Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group, Rituparna Borah unravels the many different threads that come together in the the lived experience of ‘intersectionality’. While intersectionality emphasises the ands in our identities and that of the people around us, these ands themselves might be disparate, inconsistent, and dissonant in the advantages as well as the vulnerabilities they afford us, Rituparna believes. Intersectionality, then, reflects lived realities, just as they are.

With candour, Reva Puri draws a bridge between abuse and healing, and her identity and lived experiences as a woman. Taught to suffer silently or deny pain altogether because of her gender, Reva recounts her journey towards understanding and expressing her anxieties and needs, and cultivating a space for self-care and healing. Gender is a fraught dimension and Liss Maria Scaria, Sunu C. Thomas, and Mala Ramanathan review the Malayalam film Sara’S to examine agency, bodily autonomy, and choice from a gendered lens within the scope of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Elsa Marie D’Silva takes intersectionality to the workplace. Building on research to discuss power, privilege, and systemically sustained marginalisations, she nudges us to introspect on our place in our socio-political, cultural, and economic context and our role in holding up as well as subverting the status quo.

In Brushstrokes, we bring you a comic unpacking the distinct yet interconnected terms ‘prejudice’, ‘discrimination’, and ‘oppression’, and in the Video section, watch The Advocate’s Ashley Jiang join the dots between intersectionality, feminism, popular culture, and representation.

In our FAQ Corner, we share a short video around cultivating a culture of inclusion at the workplace.

In our mid-month issue we bring you an article by Sunu C. Thomas about women, infertility, sexuality and the need for health care professionals to be sensitive to issues of sexual health and rights.  Apphia Ruth D’souza writes about how her experience of having a space to just be at a park in a vipassanna centre led her to examine a lack of a similar feeling of freedom and safety in other public spaces. We also bring you the Hindi translation of the musings of a sexuality educator.

In the Blogroll section, we have curated three articles. One, is a practical guide to understanding privilege and how to dismantle it. The second is an interesting account and analysis of how dominant narratives are created. And the third is a simple but fascinating explanation of what a Dalit Feminist Standpoint means.

Until next time, stay well, stay steady!

Cover Image: Pixabay

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