Sex & Gender
op-ed: not my pride – an open letter to nc pride from the black queer woman you assaulted.
By Gender Bent
October 6, 2015
It is not okay for North Carolina Pride to violently silence LGBTQ people of color. Whether I was singing on stage, drumming in the parade or cheering from the sidelines, Pride Festivities were a yearly highlight for me. I first participated in NC Pride with Cakalak Thunder, the radical drum corp known for showing up in solidarity with many struggles, from celebrating freed prisoners to protesting occupied Palestine. We marched with Southerners On New Ground (a Queer Liberation organization focused on LGBTQ people of color and all marginalized communities), and it was a dream come true, playing music in the same parade I’d loved for years.
By Laila Nur, AFROPUNK Contributor.
* This letter was oringinally published on Laila Nur‘s blog – http://lailanurmusic.com/Blog/
Today, people in diverse communities across the world are finally facing and challenging the history and current state of anti-black racism, and how it operates within our government structures and on every continent. Though people of color have celebrated and taken advantage of the legalization of gay marriage, it made no difference in the lives of many LGBTQ folk – still subject to state violence, incarceration, homelessness, sexual abuse, and other forms of systemic racism. Queer & Trans people of color’s contributions are erased from history, as we’ve
recently seen in the white-washed Stonewall. From social dating sites to Pride, and up the ranks of many LGBTQ organizations, we literally and figuratively see – “White Only.”
When I received the invitation to participate in a Black Lives Matter contingent of NC Pride in Durham NC on Sept 26th, I was beyond excited. As we marched, the crowd didn’t simply cheer for us- they clapped, danced and screamed for us. They hugged and joined us. We brought the realest message to the glitter party – No
Pride for some of us without Liberation for all of us. The announcer, Duane, gave us two minutes on the microphone and warned, “Don’t say anything offensive.” (I guess talking about ways Pride isn’t actually inclusive is offensive…?). Within a minute of receiving the microphone, I was assaulted – a Pride affiliate stepped on my foot so I was unable to move, grabbed my arm and ripped the microphone out of my hand while yelling words I do not recall. I let go without struggle. I was in complete shock and almost in tears. Queer and Trans people of color asked to speak about being violently silenced and erased by our own community, and we were instantly cut off, assaulted and ordered to leave as they led cops over to remove us. In the most disappointing display of racism, lack of solidarity, or intersectionality, NC Pride allowed one of its affiliates to aggressively and physically suppress us to keep their program running smoothly.
I request a public apology from the individual who put their hands on me and
from NC Pride/The Pride Committee of North Carolina for our treatment. Until
this happens, and until more people of color are brought to the table, I will not
participate in NC Pride and will actively organize the larger community to do the
#ReclaimPride for Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and Yvonne Ritter.
#ReclaimPride for Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Alvin Ailey, Bayard Rustin
and every POC that have been ignored or erased by their community.
#ReclaimPride for Elisha Walker and India Clarke and the countless number
of Trans women murdered and ignored by this community and system.
#ReclaimPride by boycotting and disrupting them until these predominately
white organizations include people of color and work to heal these deep
wounds, and address racism within the gay community.
#ReclaimPride until they are not sponsored by banks that give funds towards
#RelcaimPride because that’s exactly what it’s about: Standing up, starting
shit and fighting back!
In solidarity and with so much love,
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