op-ed: a love note to black heterosexuals who fight for black freedom while despising black lgbtq people, your freedom vision ain’t free
By The Establishment
August 5, 2015
Our present moment is organized by a brutal calendar of black death. Videos cataloguing black people alive before they are killed by police, deadened by suicide, mercilessly shot by white racists who despise their blackness, satirized by an apathetic public, taken from us by ghosts who enter jail cells sometime between a futile arrest and a hanging, abound. There is no rest for any of us. There is no retreat from collective liberation despite the thirst for individualist success and self-determination. And there is no time for black fatality, whether of spirits or lives, brought about by black people who believe black LGBTQ people are not reflections of themselves.
By Darnell L. Moore, AFROPUNK Contributor
That is why divisiveness among black people—whether it be socioeconomic difference, geographical location, sexual identities or gender expressions—is anti-liberationist. Hatred directed at same gender loving people, trans misogyny and Straight Black Pride celebrations are markers of oppression, not freedom.
And we refuse to allow you to abuse us. We will not be the sacrifices placed at the altar of your self-indulgence and inept “radical” black politics. Antagonism targeted at black LGBTQ people by black people feels more cruel and violent than white racism. It is domestic, intra-communal violence. It is the unhealed hurt that surfaces after an intimate harms you. It is death, not life.
In fact, so many straight black people haven’t done enough to receive the love of black LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer) people, but we love all of our people still. We have to—because we know that our mutual survival depends on liberation for all of us. It’s a stale and radical truth repeated by black LGBTQ people, but for some that acknowledgement is revelatory.
The rejection and hatred black LGBTQ people receive from black cisgender, heterosexual loved ones, and strangers, results in us experiencing devastating pain. Witnessing black people adorned in red, black and green, or holding signs proclaiming #BlackLivesMatter, yet preaching a gospel of black revolution that excludes and psychologically breaks black LGBTQ people, is devastating and enraging. You don’t want to go to war with the very people with whom you strategize your freedom in the battle for black liberation.
Yet, we march, fight, protest, and shut shit down for you despite the pitiful words or the jabs some of you throw at our bodies. We believe in liberation. Black liberation is love. And love is the radical act of removing any barrier that keeps us apart. We will, in fact, never collectively get free if our politics are weakened by lovelessness. Freedom cannot be dreamed through a colonized imagination—shaped by ahistorical truths.
Black LGBTQ people have always been present in the struggle. We have always been here loving and fighting for you. You don’t think LGBTQ people marooned? You don’t know that some black lesbian beat the hell out of some white master keeping him from abusing her mother or sister or brother or child? You don’t believe some black bisexual man struggled to find the right legal and moral argument in defense of your freedom? You can’t imagine a black trans women dying in the struggle for black liberation even if it was a black man who killed her? Black LGBTQ people are present in the black struggle and have always been.
This is a call to accountability—a love note—in this time of power and uprising: a reminder that we will not win if we do to each other what the system does to us.
* Darnell L. Moore is a Senior Editor at Mic and Co-managing Editor at The Feminist Wire. He organizes with #BlackLivesMatterand writes from his stoop in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.
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