Have you ever wondered why the queer community isn’t whining about Black Lives Matter taking over Pride Month? The fact is, we’ve already got so much awareness about LGBTQI+ life. And much of the systematic injustices over being gay or differently gendered in the western world have been removed or overturned. There’s still a long way to go, of course – especially in anti-gay countries – but we’ve already come so far.
And yet, the black community still face so much inequality today, even in a world that seems so progressive. And the queer community knows this because oppression has been part of our history too.
But now it’s our time to stand up for their rights. Because no one deserves to be unjustly killed, prosecuted or systematically oppressed for something they can’t control.
They’re Part Of Our History, Too
The freedom of queer America is mostly thanks to black trans woman Martha P Johnson. In fact, her activism has sparked pride protests across the world.
Martha was a leading activist in the Stonewall Riots and is still rumoured to be the one who sparked the uprising by throwing the first brick. Her actions drove gay liberation groups across the world to take to the streets. Which is why pride celebrations in many countries begin in June.
Since the riots, Martha has been a prominent figure for the LGBTQI+ community. But she will always be remembered as the first outspoken leader for queer rights.
Of course, it’s not just America where black people have been part of the LGBTQI pride movement.
In Australia, the indigenous community have been marching in Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade since 1988. And they’ve been leading the parade for much of the past 30 years.
In the UK, they have UK Black Pride, which is dedicated to LGBTQI people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent. And their first steps began in 2005.
And in the quaint country of New Zealand, queer Māoris have reclaimed their own word “Takatāpui“, which is now a term for Maori people who are part of the LGBTQI community. It was once a term that meant an “intimate companion of the same sex.”
On top of this, queer black people have made history while sporting their true colours. The most famous is Martin Luther King Jr’s key advisor, who was an African American gay man named Bayard Rustin. His most notable achievements are organising the powerful March on Washington and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
In fact, here are 16 queer black pioneers who made history.
So Let’s Be Part Of Their History
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” – Elie Wiesel, American-Romanian writer
The Black Lives Matter fight is not going to be won sitting down. Nor is going to be won solely by the black community. We are all in this together, we are all part of the same planet, and we are all facing the same unjust system.
We can wait for another year to progress our queer community and raise awareness about the injustices we still face. But for now, black people need their time in the spotlight. Much more than we do. And they need our voice.
Because many of them have done the same for us.