Discover logo

Intersectionality and Perspective


Name: Thida 
Title: Lead Operational Risk Management Oversight Specialist 
Pronouns: she/her 
Location: Riverwoods, IL 

Intersectionality is the acknowledgement that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression. We, as humans, rarely, if ever, exist in silos. We are complex and exist on the intersections of different identities.

Intersectionality matters because it helps us consider everything and anything that can marginalize a person such as gender, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, and physical ability.  

As important as it is to acknowledge the intersections of our marginalized identities, we also need to recognize the intersection of our privileges. For example, as a person who has the privilege to walk (even if it’s a little), I use this privilege to analyze what spaces are wheelchair accessible, especially for those in electric wheelchairs. Also, as a queer woman of color with a disability, I recognize I stand at a lot of crossroads of intersectionality. The advocacy work I do for one group cannot exist in a silo. We are not free until all of us are free. For example, when I fight for inclusion for people of color, I am also fighting for queer people and vice versa.  

For most of my life, I hid the pain associated with my disability to make others feel more comfortable whether they were my family or even strangers. I remember the first time I used a wheelchair during a girls’ trip with my sorority sisters of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc. I felt so liberated to finally be able to spend time with my friends without pain. Granted, during this trip we ran into obstacles regarding accessibility and had to tolerate mean looks when I stood up from the chair. However, I finally felt free. Choosing to use a wheelchair was my way of choosing myself.  

Name: Kayleigh 
Title: Principal Business Analyst 
Pronouns: she/they
Location: Farnborough, UK 

Intersectionality is how different experiences and identities we align with interact with one another. It’s important to recognize what and how they interact to understand yourself better and identify what you may need to navigate and do to live a happy and functional life. It also helps when we understand that we can have an identity that is marginalized and an identity that is privileged at the same time and that is okay. 

Whilst I work a lot in the Strive [ERG] space, I participate in other groups for identities that I align with—but also work to be an ally in spaces that do not form large, or any, parts of myself. I share my stories in these spaces, particularly about how the intersection of my identities has impacted me, in hopes others will resonate with the stories and allow them to perhaps identify some of their own intersectional experiences.  

As someone who is part of identities that hold a place of privilege as well – such as being white, and of stable economic background—I try and use this place of privilege to lift those in the marginalised groups I am also a part of, creating spaces for their voices to be heard. 

Name: Taylor 
Title: Senior Production Support Specialist 
Pronouns: she/her 
Location: New Albany, OH 

One of my favorite things about my identity is my Native American ancestry. My grandmother and grandfather are both descendants of the Cherokee Nation and even met at an Indian Boarding School in South Carolina. I didn’t realize how much Cherokee culture had been a part of our family traditions until I started expanding my knowledge of their history. I even discovered a Native American blanket wrapping ceremony that my fiancé and I are incorporating at our wedding this month! 

Intersectionality to me is the overlapping characteristics of one’s identity. Intersectionality matters because it helps to understand how the advantages and disadvantages of our unique identities come into play within our personal and professional lives. 

I am a Caucasian/Native American woman who has severe anxiety and depression. Those three characteristics (multi-racial, woman, mental health survivor) are a part of me and influence my career choices. Not only do they define who I am, but they also help me to connect with those who may experience the same challenges as I do. To advocate for intersectionality, I try to attend as many ERG-hosted events as possible. Attending these events allows me to gain insight into the challenges of identities I may not directly relate to. By understanding their challenges, I may find a way to leverage parts of my identity to create a better work environment for them. 

Name: Trina 
Title: Senior Manager Production Support & Implementations 
Pronouns: she/her 
Location: Houston, TX 

Intersectionality matters because the layering of social categories adds complexities and depth to one’s life experience. None of these are bad or wrong things – they do, however, provide context and help us understand how to better connect and relate by being fully aware of each other’s attributes and backgrounds. 

As a manager, I work to ensure that everyone’s skills and abilities are recognized and utilized, and it is okay to be different. It is the education and communication around those differences that are my advocacy. People tend to critique, malign and even fear that which they do not understand, so it is my responsibility to make sure all who are present are represented. 

Often, I find that I am someone others feel comfortable expressing concerns and issues to, and I take on the responsibility of being the voice for those who are not comfortable speaking for themselves.  

Name: Grace 
Title: Associate Software Engineer 
Pronouns: she/her 
Location: Farnborough, UK 

Since joining Discover, I’ve been welcomed into the communities here and hope I’ve been able to contribute back – for example, through participating in this blog series but also just turning up and being present. I strive to be a good ally, and I always try to listen, support, and advocate for all - regardless of my own personal identity. 

I support our Women in Tech group here in the EMEA region by hosting Lean Coffees (open discussion forums that anyone can join) and liaising with our US parent group. At the start of this year, I also hosted a little Chinese New Year celebration and quiz in person, which was super fun, and now that APAD has an official EMEA chapter, hopefully I can help the events team with future celebrations and events, such as Diwali which is coming up in November. Recently, I have also joined Bee Chew as the co-lead of the EMEA chapter of PWIR. We have also set up a monthly meeting for the EMEA ERG leads to come together and synchronise efforts. I’m looking forward to the increased collaboration between the ERGs and getting the chance to open the floor for more intersectional events/discussions. 

To me, intersectionality is about recognising people who identify with and exist within more than one marginalised group. Amplifying voices and encouraging people to share their lived experiences can help us work together to acknowledge the additional struggles those in the intersection may have and begin the work to break down barriers for all. 

If you want to learn more about our Employee Resource Groups, click here. Inspired to join the Discover team? Explore careers with us.