Layers of Intersectionality*

by Jessica Leung

*Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Black womxn scholar, was the first to coin the term "intersectionality" in 1989.

You walk in the world of reality where hearing world is overtaken. Hearing sound, high to low to speaking speech, tone, context, accent, timing, culture, habits, tradition, customs and location is crucial to gain information and access information.

You walk near anywhere to access public service, institutions, shopping malls , home, transit, family, friends, strangers that verbally speak so called hearies that requires to gain access to and from.

You speak English because you were grown to speak and live in a land that occupies English as a dominant language.

First Language.

You speak English because you had to survive and want to be independent.

You speak English because that was the only language you were told to learn since birth

You speak English because everyone praise that you speak so well for a Deaf PoC.

Oppression. Audism.

You speak English seeking human connections.

Communications. Trust.

You learn, relearn and unlearn deriving the process of who you are internally.

You walk in another world that you never thought or sought or brought in your attention that alarms you with dangerous, consequences, vulnerability and shunned. You witness a video that causes scene of fire that a Deaf person was caught on fire while asleep and  was not aware hits you from head to toe, skin to muscles, muscles to organ internally then to your soul.

You questioned yourself:

“What if?” “What will happen?” “How do I prevent that?” “Is that me?”  

You learn: Deaf. You also learn American Sign Language and currently still working in progress. You thought one identity. Culture, transition, self esteem, becomingness, intersections, wavering. Second language. Collectivism.

My first layer of intersectionality.

You seek still with human connection.

Seek with time that is in essence.

You rethinking thought with a thought.

You ought with another intersection: Person of Colour (PoC).

“P o C?”

“Am I one?”

“Yes, you are PoC!”


The land you live is brought with the top two race of people: White, Asian.

The white majority. The white supremacy. The white privilege.

Oppression. Racism.

You don’t often think about this. You clearly thought one identity, that was it.

You walk and not notice the majority of white says countless of racism-rude to soft.

Invisible to Visible.

This land you live often silence to whisper about racism in public.

My second layer of intersectionality.

You walk to another world that you felt impact since growing around your teens.

This world already seen boy to girl as youth, woman to man as adult.

You wanted to play hockey. You witness a round group of boys and their skates.  You felt lost. You have few complexities. You were fragile in bones. You look like a girl. You look hearing if speaking.

Uncertainties. Did not fit in.

You try to fit in places- the wrong people. The folks that people see as boys. The folks that people see as girly girls. The folks that already has their best friend and you cannot gain their trust and be part of it. You were misguided. You were pre/judged. You were invisible.

My third layer of intersectionality.

Time progress, Time flow fast to slow pace.

You have a wonderful mom.


You had a severely ill father in bed.


You lost a father.

You did not cry.

Stand strong.

You often wish to take back the hate you given to him.

You persist and you hoped to vanished.

That story did not ends me here.

With open wide eyes in my lens. My vision appear more and so.

To fight back with activism, compassion, use correct tools: non-violent communication, and cultural humility to make a bridge for all folks in these worlds.

You walk into another world that question your attraction, sexuality and gender expression.

You went to few Queer events.  You are in process of questioning self.

You question: “What is Queer?”

“How do people perceive Queer?”

They said:

“Don’t think about other people. Think about yourself first. What is Queer to you?”

You repeat the question:

“What is Queer?”

You ponder.

You are still waiting for this answer.

That is okay.

You will learn in time.

I am Jessica, gender neutral Deaf PoC- asian taiwanese and chinese. I speak english/read and sign ASL. I am proud.

K.O.  mic drop.

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return to issue 6: march, 2018