As a woman of color, I have multiple marginalized identities that intersect and result in my oppression that I face everyday. I think about my identities a lot, and they have shaped who I am today. Particularly on the U of M campus, which is mostly white and very privileged, I stand out as a woman of color, and it can be an incredibly isolating experience. For these reasons, I felt really driven towards my work at the Corner, because it is so personal to me to be doing research on people who hold my identity. However, something that I am realizing and reflecting on as I spend my days doing research here is how lucky I am to have the privilege of healthcare and also being cisgender.
While I’ve been conducting my research, I have come across a lot of personal stories of women of color who were unable to pursue healthcare at all because of racism. Particularly with LGBTQ+ women of color, having good healthcare on paper doesn’t actually mean access to that healthcare when the medical professionals are racist, homophobic, etc. Even when I’ve known that some of the doctors that I have encountered might say things or stereotype me in a certain way, I also know that I have the privilege of having incredible healthcare at U of M, and being cisgender, because trans healthcare at U of M is really bad. I’ve never had to worry about meeting hospital bills or not being able to get to an appointment due to transportation, and never really considered how lucky I was to have that – to be able to just go to UHS whenever I even feel slightly sick, and not have to worry about a copay. Doing this research has definitely been a good chance for me to critically reflect on the ways in which I can be identifying my own privileges, and using them in order to empower others.