It’s also crucial to highlight Kimberlé Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality, which emphasizes that we all live with multiple identities that overlap and influence each other within social and cultural systems like patriarchy and race. If we’re experiencing extreme financial hardship, realizations about other aspects of ourselves–like class, gender, and race–may become heightened during this time, forcing us to confront many pieces of our identity at once.  

Sometimes realizations related to an aspect of our identity – such as our gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity – can also themselves trigger a so-called “identity crisis.” For example, if you’ve been raised by conservative parents with traditional gender roles and realize you might actually be trans, your internal world might start to have a strong desire to change its external world accordingly. However, we might hesitate because of the many implications coming out might have on our lives, and it might not feel safe to express ourselves just yet–leading to an internal feeling of confusion or crisis. 

“For many of us with multiple marginalized identities or systematically minoritized people, this can actually occur quite frequently as we navigate systems that are not made for us,” Tuazon says.

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