Intersectionality: Black Lives Matter & LGBTQ
Hello Beautiful People! Wellkumma! (Welcome)
"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."
June was pride month and during that time members and supporters of the LGBTQ community are in celebration and reflection. Dancing and cheering mediocre parade floats and drinking sticky, warm overpriced drinks while making valid complaints about the commodification of a party that individuals still badly want to attend. Why? Because it’s one of the few places that a member of the LGBTQ community can be themselves.
For obvious reasons, many of the planned pride events were not held this year; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the LGBTQ community to be, to come together in solidarity, in commitment, with our brothers and sisters involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement, because here’s the thing I know about marginalization: It means you understand othering. It means that you, for some reason, at some point, have been set outside of the majority and judged or punished, ostracized, injured, some even killed because of who we are. You know what it is to be hated. To be voted against. To scan a room to ensure your safety. If you haven’t experienced it directly in your lived experience, you embody the trauma of generations of history that became your own the moment you were born, came out, (even if only to yourself) even if you don’t fully realize it.
The experience of othering prepares you for allyship if you let it. If you insist on it. It primes you to really grab intersectionality by the balls and to see every single place where the lines cross in the most beautifully, brilliantly, painfully undeniable way. The impacts of marginalization cannot be discussed and dismantled any more than they are experienced in isolation. Marginalization does not separate. It doesn’t break itself down into neat and tidy compartments inside of bodies or lived experiences. Marginalization stacks. One identity on top of the other, The same way privilege does.
Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights are separate issues. Absolutely. Yes, with important distinctions between communities and histories and needs. But because marginalization cannot be broken down inside of bodies, it can also not be broken down inside of movements. The brutality experienced by rioters at the hands of the police is an echo of both the entirety of the Civil Rights Movement and of Stonewall, the beginning of the LGBTQ movement. The bodies filling the streets right now grieving and demanding change are not so very different from the bodies that shouted “out of the bars and into the streets” during the White Nights Riots in San Francisco when Harvey Milk was killed. Over and over again, we have taken to the streets to insist on the undeniable truth of our own humanity. Over and over we have taken to the streets for each other. But not near enough. We have to do more. We have to show up for the black members of our LGBTQ community, and for the black community at large. We have to because we also carry the impact of hate in our bones. Showing up for Black Lives Matter doesn’t negate showing up for Pride. It strengthens both. We have to show up. We have to. For the countless impossible to fully understand or imagine distinctions. And for the million inseparable lines of intersection between us both. Yes. This is a call to action to all of us who claim a stripe on the rainbow flag. The Black Lives Matter movement includes so many of our own. You might protest. You might have difficult conversations. You might hand out water or register people to vote or put a BLM sign next to your pride flag. Maybe you’ll make a commitment to purchase from queer black businesses as well. Maybe you’ll donate or volunteer your time for queer black organizations. Maybe you’ll attend city council meetings and get involved. Maybe you’ll pledge to listen to and amplify black queer voices in addition to black voices as a whole. Whatever it is that you do, I promise, there is a place in the revolution for you.