This is, indeed, a momentous time for our country. Let us not forget that our Gay Agenda should refuse to leave anyone behind. I said it yesterday, and I will try to be the voice of conscience again.
Black and Brown bodied people are still in a huge struggle. Black and brown queer people even more so. Black and brown transgender people even *more* so. Many people have attempted to liken the LGBTQ struggle to the civil rights movement in this country. Is is not the same. While I can see it can be beneficial to find a connecting point, we, as a minority group, have slammed and forsaken the very people who started our march toward equality. It was not white gay men with money who threw things at police for harassing them. It was trans women and low income queens who began the brave rise that we celebrate as PRIDE every year.
They showed us all a kind of fortitude and willingness to fight that the gay community had wished for up until that moment. The civil rights movement did not forsake their roots, did not leave MLK or Sojourner Truth or Nina Simone or Malcom X behind. Their words and actions were integral. We, however, snatched the action up and left the activists behind in our quest for equality. The beginning of the marriage equality movement, as an actual movement, purposefully left out the trans community for a long time because we decided that to bring the societally “least” acceptable among us meant the rest of us would not get what we wanted.
This is absolutely equivalent to white women’s suffrage specifically leaving black women’s vote behind because they didn’t want to struggle *that* hard for suffrage. This is equivalent to someone standing in front of a bullet for you and you forgetting their name.
We have apologies to make. I have apologies to make for my people both on a scale of being a white activist and an LGBTQ activist, for the things my movements have done. But we have GOT TO CHANGE the *way* in which equality for *anything* is sought. We have got to both pay homage and let our peers and children not forget where we began. Our movement began in bars and cafes in late night hours where we were relegated to be most especially if our gender was questionable. The most horrifically marginalized among us were the bravest ones. Those of us who did not want to rock the boat because we could pass through our lives in just enough comfort did not get this bus moving.
And now we have obtained a right that has many many implications far outside of marriage. These rights will assist us lessening outright discrimination, in letting us hold hands with less fear, in moving forward with our lives with a bit more security. In that “more” of security, please turn your awareness to the fact that suicide rates are highest amongst our trans community and even higher in the black and brown queer community. Why? Because a minority of a minority is an extremely dangerous emotional place to be in this country. How do we eradicate *that*? I don’t know that I know, but the discussion needs to be started, wisdom needs to be sought from the people who are experiencing, and it all needs to be taken very seriously.
We’ve taken up a cause and we won, but we won with a white face across 99% of every marriage photo in the media. Why? Do you think there are fewer black gay people? No. But why are they not out celebrating in the same numbers that we are? Our movement is extremely white-washed and extremely cis-gendered washed right now. We need to better understand the struggle of those who could be standing beside us. But why would someone stand beside us when we seem to refuse to represent them? Seem to refuse to acknowledge that we are a vastly monochrome movement.
I am not forwarding any directive here, but I am asking us to at least give commemoration to the Stonewall and Compton riots that set us on the footing we just gained. I am asking to make concerted effort to especially end racism in our community. Even at my age, I grew up in the gay community where lesbians and gays didn’t consort with or respect each other. Lesbians felt left aside by gay men and we were ostracized from many bars and felt an even deeper level of stereotypes and shame. For lesbians are the first level of a minority (women) of a minority (lesbian). We started having the conversation around why the hell we couldn’t fight *together* just 15 years ago. We started to finally put our heads and hearts together and look where we got. But shit, look, we *still* left huge parts of our community behind.
So stop it. Stop trying to be mainstream to get by or get more. Be braver, be more reverent of our roots, be more open hearted to the trials of those of us who even deeper in despair. Take someone’s hand and start a conversation, be meek of your own misunderstandings and ignorance. It’s a tough road to hoe to recognize you’ve done something wrong when something so right just happened. But hell if I want to continue to perpetuate the mainstream. I am not mainstream.
You are not mainstream, so fuck it, be all out, y’all. Please. For the lives and hearts that were left behind. It’s like seeing your friends play in the street with joy and you’re still in your house scared because they didn’t think about your access and their privilege. It’s heartbreaking. Stop breaking hearts and let’s work on healing even deeper than we imagined. Let’s work on our community and show those bastards in charge that we actually do poop rainbows and glitter because we are willing to work on the hard stuff.