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Abstract

By linking the oppression of women with other axes of oppression, the intersectional theories and methodologies employed in the last few decades have proved to be strategic in building awareness, forming alliances, and influencing transversal politics. In this paper, the case of Roma/Gypsy/Traveller (RGT) women is discussed through the multiple discriminations they suffer from, the birth of feminism and gender activism in the communities, intersectional alliances with non-Gypsy feminists, and the anti-racist and LGBTIA-Queer movements. In the second part of the paper, I offer a focus on shared political ‘emotions’, ‘fluid identities’, ‘travelling activism’, and the need for decolonization of concepts, practices, and relations. To deepen the reflection around intersectional alliances, coalition building, and the ongoing risk of assimilation/domestication, feminist RGT epistemology is pivotal in order to overcome subordination and internalized forms of oppression, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, and to become resilient political subjects in ethnic and non-ethnic marginalized groups and stateless nations. The political alliances between RGT women, gender activists, and feminists of different backgrounds—in terms of economic status, education, skin color, religion, sexuality, ability, and geopolitical background—will create unity in diversity to fight for social rights and to gain freedom.

Note on the Author

I am a sociologist of the body, a feminist, and a traveler. I teach Gender Studies and Intersectional Methodology at the University of Calabria, south of Italy—with a multi-media and dialogic attitude—and have a record of more than one hundred publications (see: bodypolitics.noblogs.org). Among my latest books is ‘Gypsy Feminism. Intersectional Politics, Alliances, Gender and Queer Activism’ (Routledge 2018). Since 1993, my personal trans-national experience as a feminist scholar was nourished by visiting several universities in India, indigenous areas and women’s groups in central and south America, slum dwellers in Kenya, and women in refugee camps in the Mediterranean area. I have established a ‘Gypsy Summer School on Roma Culture, Activism and Leadership’ and serve as Director for the Decolonial Feminist Queer Lab. I am a member of several local and global networks of women’s research and activism, sat in the Steering Committee of the Unesco Chair for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, and was an expert for the Council of Europe in dealing with the multiple oppression of Roma women.

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