A decolonial critique of intersectionality

Here we run up against intersectionality who has created a passport for good and bad activism. In their strategy we should demand from everybody in the movement that they take up the issues of gender and sexuality in the same way as racism. We don’t do that.

We have a different approach.

In the western theories of gender and sexuality the individual is placed against society. It is all about the liberation of the individual that has to struggle against society. In decolonial theories we want to bring the individual in harmony with society. That is why the concept of love is so important in our theory: love for the community, love for mankind, love for family, love for principles like the principle of solidarity, justice and dignity. This brings us to different strategies.

In the LGTB-struggle we are not antagonizing the individual against the community, but organize dialogue, conversation and interaction based on the love for the community to bring our communities to a stage where LGTB is accepted and embraced rather than rejected. It is not a struggle. It is a deep-going process of creating a climate of love and dialogue.

The same goes for the struggle of equality and dignity of the women in our community. One aspect is creating safe spaces for women to empower themselves. Another aspect is to get men involved at a very early age through education, critique and the climate of love to get engaged in criticizing men when they abuse women and to change the institutions of society in order to promotes equality and dignity.

We are doing it and we know that it works.

In the western narratives of liberation, including intersectionality, there is only one way forward and that is their way or no way.

We have an age-old alternative for the concept of intersectionality that captures the sentiment of unity and that is the concept of solidarity. It is not based on the intersection of oppression but on the empathy, sympathy and love for people who are struggling for peace, justice, dignity and welfare.

We might be wrong in our assessment of intersectionality. We welcome critique and discussion and hope that this will bring new insights which will benefit the movement as a whole.



Berger, M.  and Guidroz, K. (eds.) (2009): The Intersectional Approach. Transforming the Academia Through Race, Class & Gender. University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill.
Crenshaw, K. (1989): Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 139, pp. 139-167.
Crenshaw, K. (1993): Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. https://politique.uqam.ca/upload/files/maistrise/notes_de_cours/Pol-8111-10_Mapping_the_Margins.pdf. Accessed 4-1-2016.
Lykke, N. (2010): Feminist Studies. A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing. Routledge. New York.
Yuval-Davis, N. (2009): Intersectionality and Feminist Politics. in: Berger, M.  and Guidroz, K. (eds.) (2009), pp. 44-60.


Sandew Hira
The Hague, Netherlands
August 7 2016
This article is based on a chapter
in my forthcoming book titled
Decolonizing The Mind.
Amrit Publishers 2017.

Decolonial International Network