Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

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Exploring Identities

Everyone has intersecting identities. Everyone has an identity or lived experience that is influenced by their racial/ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religious/faith tradition, family structure, geographic origin, socioeconomic status, and ability/disability.  For people coming out with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression this emerging identity may be perceived as conflicting or mutually exclusive of these other aspects of identity (e.g., between sexual orientation and spiritual beliefs).

People often seek out community based on identities that influence their lived experiences, it may be challenging for people who hold multiple marginalized identities to find community.

For example LGBTQ-identified folks may find community in LGBTQ organizations but if an organization is not inclusive in terms of people who are not white, then an LGBTQ person who is Asian or African American may not feel welcomed.  However, those same people may not feel welcomed in a predominantly Asian or African American community if that community is not inclusive of people who are LGBTQ-identified.

It is always best to give resources that are  specific to the needs and/or identities that a person says are important to them. Resources are not necessarily “one-size-fits-all." When giving resources, be mindful of intersecting identities.