once pride month ends, so does black queer support
June 28, 2019
There are only a few more days left before all the rainbows are torn down and corporations can go back to pretending, they really care about queer folks outside of the money we make them. Pride Month every year comes and goes, but the traumas and issues our community face are still here. Still ever present in our day to day life. If we are ever going to see change in the Black Queer community, Pride has to become something that is 365 and inclusive of our actual needs.
There is no Pride without Black Queer, trans, and non-binary folks. From the first brick thrown at Stonewall that started this whole thing, Black Queer folks have been leaders of the fight for every right at the intersection of our Blackness and Queerness. On this 50th anniversary, I have to write this piece with sadness in my heart. Sadness that we have lost another Black trans sister, the 5th of this month. So, while everyone is waving their rainbow flags, Black Queer folks will be there too—with smiles covering up the grief we must carry to every party and parade for those who we continue to lose.
Let’s be clear. Black Queer folks face immense hardships at the intersection of our race and identity. Unfortunately, this part of the LGBTQ movement has been overlooked or overshadowed by movements that focus on either “Black” or “Queer” but never the intersectional lens needed for us to see effective change. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. While white queer folks were fighting for marriage equality, Black queer folks were fighting for survival. This isn’t to say that Black queers didn’t want marriage, but that seeing marriage as a top priority overlooked a lot of the violence and discrimination, we continue to face post that landmark decision.
Black Queer folks are tired of being hashtags that come and go. Tired of being the disposable body that gets one month of display when its benefits bank accounts only to return to our very real lives that make us targets daily. While others Pride months are full of fun and joy, many of us are experiencing those same feelings while also having to keep the fight going at trans rally’s like that for Layleen Polanco. An unfair burden to be shoulder by the kin of those who started this movement in the first place.
It’s important that we as Black Queer folks speak out, even larger than we have in the past. We can’t let another Pride month end without making demands for real change that impacts our community in a way much different than the past 50 years. HIV doesn’t have to be an epidemic for Black and Brown queer people. Trans violence doesn’t have to be an epidemic for Black trans women. And as hard as it may be, we must remain allies with ourselves in our death because no one else is going to do it for us.
Which leads me to challenge “allies”, a word I don’t believe in because there should be no need for mutual benefit for cishet folk to speak up for Black Queer people being killed or discriminated against. Your advocacy shouldn’t only come when we are trending. Your advocacy shouldn’t only appear when a coin is there. What are you saying July 1st and beyond when the rainbows fade away? It is on you to challenge those in your community to make the lives of Black LGBTQ folks better—as the rule and not the exception.
Historically we have been erased from what “Pride” has become for so many. And although we have “Black Pride” celebrations that are always lit as fuck and Black as fuck, we often forget the “who” got us here—and it wasn’t white queer folk. For Black Queer folks, we have always been here. We have always existed. And even if we don’t have all the stories of queer enslaved Africans, we know that they have always been part of our community.
So, to see Stonewall be so whitewashed with rainbow capitalism is disrespectful to the Black queer ancestors who have always been on the front line for fighting. It is for that reason, we must fight to reclaim Stonewall as ours, and force “Pride” to be about our daily existence. Not a month that forgets the “who”, who are not going anywhere anytime soon.
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