immersion + intersectionality = a new way of educating ourselves about each other
Where do I find information for the population with which I work?
It's probably here somewhere, but let's talk about "populations" for a second.
A common pitfall that ImmerSection seeks to avoid is the very concept of thinking of human experience in terms of populations. Many of the reasons that people receive culturally unresponsive treatment can be traced back to professionals thinking in terms of populations.
Someone who works in a clinic serving people with a particular rare genetic disorder, for instance, might think of themself as primarily needing education about this disorder. They think of themself as "someone who works with people with ____ disorder."
They don't think of themself as "someone who works with autistic people" (though surely they do, as this is between 1 and 5% of the population) or "someone who works with LGBTQ+ people" (though surely they do, as this is about 5-10% of the population) or someone who works with people living in poverty, immigrants, religious people, nonreligious people, people affected by the carceral system, people affected by the family regulation system, people of color (we can all google demographic information...).
People have experiences; they are not "populations"
A more useful concept is to think in terms of experiences and occurrences. ImmerSection attempts to include all human experiences, though this is of course not possible. The next best thing then is to include various human experiences based on estimated rate of occurrence, and try to include as many as possible. This will result in all participants being generally familiar with experiences that are fairly common, with the hope of including even more voices of experiences that are less common yet still very important. Users who encounter someone with a very uncommon experience should then use the ImmerSection model for seeking information on experiences that are not yet specifically included.
Above all, the project will hopefully emphasize the very important concepts that 1) it is professionals' responsibility to educate ourselves and 2) we should seek this education through first-person content from people of lived experience, not from those without lived experience. Note: While parenting a child with a particular experience is a unique type of lived experience that is sometimes appropriate to include, Intersectional Immersion-Informed Practices center on voices of adults who share(d) the child's experience, with parents' perspectives shared only when specifically relevant and when clearly informed by voices of adults who share the child's experience.
This page will over time include informational pages for those looking to become more competent with various experiences, with summaries of important things to know taken from those with lived experience, along with links to resources for immersion in these experiences. Recommended resources will be either exclusively run by those with lived experience, or will be curated resources that defer to those with lived experience. Inclusion of a resource is not an endorsement and just means that the resource focuses on lived experience and did not appear to have any major issues with lacking intersectionality. Readers who encounter an included resource that is problematic are encouraged to share their concerns.
The ImmerSection Facebook page is a curated feed of reposts of social media content that focuses on centering lived experience and marginalized voices. Following this page is the simplest way to start engaging in Intersectional Immersion-Informed Practices.
Experiences currently included in the feed and slated for eventual info pages
The feed currently includes:
Disabled folks, including those with psychiatric disabilities
Chronically ill folks
Transracially adopted folks
Other adopted folks
Parents who have lost children to adoption
Parents and children who have experienced involvement in the child welfare/family regulation system
Body positive/anti-diet folks
People in various stages of eating disorder recovery with various body types
People living with HIV
People currently practicing or who have left marginalized religions
Folks of marginalized/global majority racial identities
People affected by the carceral system
People in various stages of recovery from substance use disorders
The feed also contains a limited selection of parents, professionals, other individuals, and organizations without lived experience on their topic of expertise, but whose work is based on amplifying lived experience and who are frequently recommended by folks with lived experience.
...and of course, many many folks who embody several of these experiences.