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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Intersectionality awareness

Movie screening explores convergence of gender, sexuality, and race

While the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) of Saint Joseph’s University has consistently promoted women’s interests, the group is also striving to gain a more nuanced perspective on these issues through the concept of intersectionality.

This goal was evident at the WLI’s screening of “Fagbug,” a 2007 documentary made by Erin Davies, an activist for LGBTQ rights. Over 40 members of the WLI attended the screening, held on Jan. 26 in the Forum Theater.

They watched as Davies turned a hate crime, in which someone painted the words “Fag” and “Gay” on her Volkswagen Bug due to her rainbow bumper sticker, into a message of positivity. A college student at the time, Davies took her vandalized car—which she renamed “Fagbug”—on a tour of the United States and Canada. Along the way, she interviewed over 500 people about their reactions to her car and their views on gay rights.

“One of our main goals as an organization is to ensure that we are always talking about women’s issues as well as intersectional issues,” Lauren King, ’17, president of the
WLI, said. “So this month we decided to screen “Fagbug”’ because it was a documentary that fit really nicely with LGBTQ issues and women’s rights issues.”

“Fagbug” explores intersectionality, the theory of overlapping racial, gender, sexual, and class identities, by shining a light on the story of a lesbian woman who must come to terms with homosexuality and gender.

The intersectional message of the film had an impact upon those in attendance. In the group discussion on homophobia and women’s interests that followed the screening, students shared the various ideas they took away from the documentary.

“It makes it easier to understand what someone who has a target on their back every day has to go through,” one student said. They also discussed what Davies’ experience might have been like in 2017 as opposed to 2007.

Safe Zone trained sticker in Merion Hall (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

“I think people would be much more vocal today about their opinions, whether they be negative or positive,” another student said. “It might be a scarier trip now.”

Deanna Martin, ’19, attended the screening and left feeling more aware of intersectional issues.

“I appreciate how throughout the movie they did bring up different perspectives, they did ask at some points, ‘Oh, how would this be different if this were a man participating?’” Martin said. “That was something I never thought of, the disparity between genders within the LGBTQ community.”

Though “Fagbug” was created in 2007, issues surrounding intersectionality within the LGBTQ community are still relevant today. On Jan. 23, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations issued a report that states that women and racial minorities are regularly targeted and discriminated against in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood.”

King also shared her thoughts on the wider issue of women’s and LGBTQ rights in the U.S. She stated that St. Joe’s students can play a part in transforming the conversation around these issues.

“I think we can encourage students to have open dialogues like this, to always keep in mind intersectionality, and to always keep in mind that people have many different identities, King said. “They’re not just one identity.”

Some of these goals for activism, King believes, can be achieved through the new Center for Inclusion and Diversity in Campion Student Center.

“This office is going to ensure that all students on Saint Joseph’s campus know that there are resources for them and there are places for them to have dialogue,” King said. “The Women’s Leadership Initiative is very excited to work with the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and see what programs we can provide for students in the future.”

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