privilege, marginalisation & resistance
our sexuality, gender, race or ethnicity, level of ability and more may contribute to a sense of ‘identity’ but it’s not until we encounter systems that value some attributes over others that privilege and marginalisation occur.
In our society, there are a variety of attributes a person can have. Most of these attributes exist as a spectrum, although they are frequently treated as though they are a binary. In general, society is set up for people with attributes at one end of the spectrum — that is, the default is for people with those attributes. As a result, even though they might not be aware of it, they are treated as valued and experience ‘privilege’ while people with attributes at the other end experience disadvantage or oppression. Obviously, someone can be simultaneously at the privileged end of the spectrum for one attribute and at the oppressed end of the spectrum for another, and this intersection informs the lived experience of all of us.
Although this would seem to concern individuals, the oppressions and privileges that individuals experience is structural and systemic — that is, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and so on are built into laws, education systems, pay scales, access to events and more. That means that any change to address oppression requires structural and systemic resistance, not individual change.
The table below is provided for accessibility, and refers to the labels on the axes of an earlier version of our privilege wheel. However, the table makes it appear that these are binary opposites rather than showing the nuance of the spectrum positions in the image above. An updated accessible version is coming soon.
|Gender conforming||Gender diverse|
|Heterosexual||Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer|
|Fertile, a parent||Infertile, childless|
|Thin, tall, attractive||Fat, short, unattractive|
|Able-bodies, neurotypical||Disabled, neurodiverse|
|Healthy, coping||Chronically ill, mentally distressed|
|Upper & middle class, wealthy||Working class, poor|
|Young adult||“Too” old, “too” young|
|Qualified, literate||Unqualified, illiterate|
|English-speaking||English as a second language|
|Majority religion||Minority religion|
|Anglo/European, settler||Indigenous, refugee|
|White||Person of colour|
Download this free resource for your training
This A4 PDF consists of the privilege wheel above and prompts to add the labels on the axes that create marginalisation and oppression.
Our most requested resource, the privilege wheel handout is designed for use in small group discussion as part of intersectionality training. Although it is free, we ask that you add a donation to your order if you or your organisation can afford it. intertwine pays 1% of all income to First Nations communities via the Pay the Rent Grassroots Collective.
Considering in-house training?
We offer a free one-hour consultation for those looking to add intersectionality into their organisational practices. After we have determined your key areas of interest, we will discuss which of our services might be right for you, from intersectionality 101 training for your staff to organisation-wide assessment of your business goals, your policies, buildings and amenities and more.
What we do
- Tailored intersectionality training to help your organisation understand the basic elements
- CultureShift five-week program to embed practice and intersectional approaches
- Audit your organisation using an overarching intersectional lens
- Review policies and collateral
- Consult on event accessibility
- Evaluate existing intersectionality strategies and outcomes