Because of that whitewashing, the beginnings of the LGBTQ movement post-Stonewall is an appropriation of a black, brown, trans, and queer liberation narrative. And it is the deliberate visible absence of these African-American, Latino, and API people that makes it harder, if not almost impossible, for LGBTQ communities to build trusted coalitions with white LGBTQ communities.
With advances such as hate crime laws, legalization of same-sex marriage across the country, and with homophobia viewed as a national concern, the LGBTQ movement has come a long way since the first Pride march in 1969.
Many laud the distance the LGBTQ community has traveled in such a short time from a disenfranchised group on the fringe of America’s mainstream to a community now embraced. But not all members of our community have crossed the finish line.
Some are waving the cautionary finger that within our community not all are equal. And Pride events can be public displays of those disparities.
Cultural acceptance is just one of a few things LGBTQ people of color do not experience from larger Pride events. Many Pride celebrations are predominately white, and many LGBTQ of color revelers experience social exclusion and invisibility within these spaces.
After decades of Pride events where many LGBTQ people of color tried to be included and weren’t, black, Asian and Latino Pride events were born.
Fighting among ourselves
As we feud with one another our protections are being chipped away while we’re preoccupied.
Since Donald Trump has taken office, there has been an erosion of LGBTQ civil rights under the guise of religious liberty. There are bills are that are
Lawmakers want to use so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts to codify discrimination as a backlash to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. The laws could be used to deny LGBTQ people services on state and local levels – and Trump is in lockstep with these discriminatory practices.
Meanwhile, transgender Americans being denied access to public lavatories is eerily reminiscent of the country’s Jim Crow era, denying African-Americans access to lunch counters, water fountains, and, libraries, gas stations, theaters, and restrooms.
Then there are the laws passed in Kansas and Oklahoma that allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children in the homes of families they find morally reprehensible (also known as LGBTQ people).
So where do we go from here?
We have to recognize the need to network and build coalitions beyond our immediate communities, creating an intersectional social justice movement throughout the nation to foster healthy and wholesome communities.
While pride events are still fraught with divisions, at their core, pride events are an invitation for communities to connect their political activism with their celebratory acts of song and dance in its continued fight for justice.
They should highlight the multicultural aspect of joy and celebration that symbolizes not only our uniqueness as individuals and communities but also affirms our varied expressions of queer life in America.