LGBTQ Intersectionality and Identity
with Kierra Johnson of the National LGBTQ Task Force
The number of Americans self-identifying as LGBTQ is on the rise. However, sexual orientation and gender identity are just one part of a person’s identity.
Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, joins Tetiana Anderson for a discussion about identity, intersectionality, and support for nondiscrimination policies.
May 28, 2021
Anderson: Results from a recent Gallup poll indicate that the LGBT population is growing as more Americans self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Hello, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Tetiana Anderson. While progress has been made in advancing LGBTQ equality, advocates continue to work towards increasing nondiscrimination protections, and part of that push is Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. And, Kierra, thanks for being here.
Johnson: Thank you so much, Tetiana. I'm glad to be here.
Anderson: So, look, there are states where you can legally marry but still get fired for being part of the LGBTQ community. Explain that disconnect.
Johnson: Yes, you know, marriage was definitely a step forward, but we all know that the fight for true civil rights and liberation and freedom is a long road. And so you're right. The reality is, is that you can be married one day and then, you know, evicted from your apartment the next day if you are in a same-sex relationship. You could be fired from your job. You can be kicked out of a store just for who you love, and so that is where our community is really picking up the fight and have a lot of urgency to make change.
Anderson: So there clearly are still contradictions, but the fact of the matter is that Gallup poll from 2021 does show that the LGBT population is growing. So what does that herald in your mind when it comes to equity, recognition, equal rights?
Johnson: Yes, it was such a surprising poll, and it was an exciting one because what we're seeing is, is that more people are coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. And we know that, you know, being counted matters, and what this means is that there are more people who are going to be engaged in the fight and telling their stories and engaging their elected officials to create a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
Anderson: We know that there are certainly a lot of talk these days about the ideas of equity, about equality. What's the distinction when it comes to those words for the LGBTQ community? How do they apply differently?
Johnson: Yes, intersectionality is such a critical part of our understanding and our work. The reality is, is that I cannot be a woman one day, Black the next day, queer the next day, and a parent another. We all live our identities simultaneously, and so we have to come up with solutions that meet the needs of the whole person. And that is the challenge but also a huge opportunity for our movement to take on.
Anderson: I wanted to go back to that Gallup poll from from 2021 because there are a lot of layered findings in there when it comes to identification, when it comes to health care. What are some of the things that stand out to you most about those findings, and what do they indicate about the changing norms of society? -Yes, I think sometimes, people assume because they see more LGBTQ people on TV or that we've had a gay man run for president that all of the work is done, and the reality is, is that we are seeing more LGBTQ young people coming out, more people entering the workforce. And so it is a requirement that while there are unique challenges that come with that, that we have to come up with unique solutions for meeting the needs of LGBTQ workers, LGBTQ parents, and folks who are just living their lives out in the world who need protections, and civil-rights protections, full civil-rights protections, is what the task force and our movement at large are fighting for right now.
Anderson: The task force is in the midst of a huge public-education campaign. It's called All of Me. All the Time. Kierra, what's it about, and what do you want to accomplish with it?
Johnson: Yes, LGBTQ people are everywhere, right? We are in the immigrant-rights struggle. We are in the reform of police fight. We are in the healthcare struggle, and All of Me. All the Time. is about how do we meet the needs of the whole person? How do we ensure that the quality of life of all people, given all of their identities, are met so that they can thrive and participate in our political system and make decisions that create a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
Anderson: And, Kierra, if people want to find out more about the task force, what's the website?
Johnson: Yes, you can visit us at thetaskforce.org. We can't wait to get you engaged in the fight for federal protections and look forward to seeing you soon.
Anderson: Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, thanks for being here.
Johnson: Thanks for having me.
Anderson: And thanks to our viewers, as well, for watching. As always, for more great conversations with leaders in your own community and across the nation, log on to comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Tetiana Anderson.