01/02/2017 12:35 GMT | Updated 02/02/2018 05:12 GMT

Kicking The Kyriarchy Episode 08: Mental Health


We are Elena & Sid.

We're Kicking the Kyriarchy, the intersectional feminist podcast.

Like most people (us included to begin with), we've probably lost you with that sentence, so let's begin with unpacking what all of that means.

Intersectionality is a term first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 that argues people can experience varying levels of oppression and marginalisation based on their multiple identities i.e. ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, faith, age, mental and physical ability, mental and physical health and so on. Therefore, intersectional feminism takes all of this into consideration. A good example of this is how black women experience the world markedly different to white women. So when naming the podcast it was important to us that it was intersectional from the get-go, hence the term 'kyriarchy'. Although a catchy phrase, smashing the patriarchy was too simplistic for us as it only focuses on gender inequality, which isn't very intersectional. Kyriarchy is a term that describes all the ways in which an individual can be discriminated against, so therefore we want to not only smash the patriarchy, but also kick the kyriarchy.

No topic better demonstrates this than mental health.

This topic is filled with breadth and depth, but it also means that this episode in no way does justice the amount of areas mental health covers. For the purpose of this episode (and your attention span) we're covering a very limited area of mental health, with a view to do more episodes on this topic in the future. So for now, let us introduce the guests and try understand some of the many identities intersecting with mental health.

Up first is Chama, a black man who is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. We invited Chama to talk to us so we could try and understand a little more about masculinity and mental health and how this intersects with his identity as a black man. Mental health isn't talked about enough, and due to societal pressures, mental health within men isn't talked about enough. It's been widely reported that of the men who take their lives, 76% of them are under the age of 45. Another intersection is that mental health within the black community is poorly understood, and in Chama's case, he explains that this is partially down to his strong African background.

Second is Carl, the first international guest to join us from across the pond! Carl is a trans man, and though homosexuality is no longer considered a mental health issue, being trans, believe it or not, still is. However, that's not the end of Carl's story. When Carl was 15 years old, before his transition, his parents made him attend conversion therapy for being queer. Despite the fact that conversion therapy is blacklisted by every credible health care organisation, it is still legal throughout most of the US and still happens in the UK today. Let's get one thing clear; being trans is not a mental health issue. We invited Carl on to learn more about what it's like to be 'treated' for a part of your identity as though it's a curable illness.

Last but certainly not least is Nicolle. After seven suicide attempts and being in and out of hospitalisation for years, Nicolle was finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She tells us what it's like to be forcibly sectioned in the UK today, the types of care that are available and the hurdles one has to jump through in order to access it.

We all have mental health and keeping well is a challenge. Many of the people closest to us have battles with theirs that we could never even imagine, but being an ally when we are able to, can help stop those feelings of darkness in others. We are so often much stronger than we think we are.

In this podcast, we hope to start those conversations.

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