Lately, I have been contemplating a great deal concerning inclusion and intersectionality. From my view, I would like to discuss my views on what those mean to me and how we can make spaces more inclusive.
Inclusion and being inclusive from my view, means making sure everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or religion can participate fully in events, meetings, without restrictions or doing something that would exclude someone. Intersectionality from my view, means people who are part of more than one community or group in addition to being part of other communities. For instance, this could mean anything from being part of a specific group such as being disabled while also being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I learned a lot concerning intersectionality through research and I will have a list for both below. I find that a lot of people are still learning what it means to be part of more than one community and how to support people from each community. For example, I am both a disabled person and I am part of the LGBTQIA+ community, however, most do not realize that. Primarily, because of societal views on disability. A lot of people do not believe I can be part of the LGBTQIA community because I am assumed to be straight in addition to other assumptions that are made. I use assumptions deliberately because people assume a lot because I or someone have a disability. In my case, I assumed to not be able to hear, or understand people. I say this because I am often told by people “Can you hear me?” as If I could not hear them. This is just one example of many. In addition, I am also part of the LatinX community and people do not realize because of the way I look. I use LatinX collectively as it is more inclusive. All of this said, things are changing due to everyone in some form is learning more about people in all these communities in addition to inclusivity and intersectionality both within and outside of the disability and LGBTQIA+ communities. Inclusivity and intersectionality are being discussed within multiple spaces within our culture. I recently went to a large conference where both were discuss concerning the blind and visually impaired community. I would like to discuss how we as Pagans and Witches can include people of intersecting identities. Please note, this is based on my own experiences.
I will first state that to understand how to include people I want to say that I have yet to have a negative experience within the Pagan community. However, I will say that a few things could help make things more inclusive particularly online. I like to watch a lot of videos on YouTube, and I find that descriptions can help me get more insight. For example, I see a lot of videos where people play music in the background in addition in most cases a type of slideshow appears. I know it is a slideshow because I am told either through the description of the video or by some other means. Moreover, I find that I am more confused than anything. However, I want to say that I do not have an issue with picture or slideshows within a video just that adding a description can help. Also, I love to watch altar tours and I love how people describe what they look like and how they are arranged. I find that this helps me develop a picture in my mind on what it looks like, and I think it helps others as well who can see maybe catch something they miss or at least help them understand more of why they use certain objects. At least this is my experience. The description does not have to be long or complicated but just detailed enough to be aware of what is present within the video for example, what color something might be would also help because I have noticed that lighting can make a difference in how something looks and sometimes the camera can cause things to appear differently or have issues with getting the camera to focus. Moreover, including alt text within images can help. I wrote more on alt text in this post, for those who are unaware alt text is essentially a description of what a picture is. I read a lot of blogs and I participate when I can on Instagram, which also allows you to add alt text. I would like to understand what that picture is with more detail and clarity to fully participate in the experience which is changing. This also helps because maybe that description can help someone understand what the object is in more detail.
Finally, I would like to end here with a final point. I feel that it is important to ask people themselves that we could do. I think asking is more helpful than assuming. Asking someone how I can help to make a circle, coven, or gathering more inclusive for someone. You could ask a question such as what do you need or is something I can do to help during our festival, circle, etc.? Do you have any access needs? Note, an access need is something that can vary from person to person. For instance, I may ask for myself to have a description of the ritual beforehand or at least during certain parts so I can keep track of what may be happening from a visual point of view. Asking questions of each participant can go a long way and it shows that you understand that not everyone requires the same type of assistances or needs. I mention mainly for people with disabilities however, I believe that this applies to everyone regardless of the community they are in.
I could expand on both topics, and I may at some point. I hope that in sharing my experiences and perspective can help others to continue making our community more inclusive and making sure that people of intersecting communities along with everyone else are included in each facet of the community.
I discuss more in the video below:
This post discusses what both inclusion and intersectionality are along with information on how the pandemic has given rise to its discussion.
This post is on intersectionality and discusses more on its history along with its definition.
I found this article from Time to help illustrate why Latinx is being used more within an academic setting in addition to other spaces. This article discusses its meaning and how people are beginning to use the term along with why the word is being used.
This is the blog post that got me to start blogging!! This post discussing including people who are blind or visually impaired within a group setting in addition to providing tips for practicing as a Solitary. Highly recommend!!
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