The LGBTQ movement has had massive strides in 2015, especially with the federal legalization of Gay Marriage. While this is definitely an accomplishment to celebrate, this is not enough. We cannot just sit back and believe we have accomplished our goals. We still have to fight!
There is still a plethora of inequality and injustice against LGBTQ persons, but I want to specifically focus on Queer People of Color. I am going to refer to all LGBTQIA+ persons as Queer POC for the purpose of this article.
So, as a cisgendered, heterosexual, white person, Why Should You Care?
As a White person of any sexuality or gender, Why Should You Care?
I think that we tend to get comfortable in the ethnic, cultural, racial, and general community that we most frequently associate with. As such, we forget about the struggles that members of our nation are facing on a daily basis. Struggles that instill fear, trauma, and difficulties with being able to enjoy the same luxuries as the majority of the privileged citizens of the U.S.
Let me begin by saying that just because your are LGBTQIA+ or even an ally doesn’t mean you can be racist. Take for instance the media whom tends to represent the LGBTQIA+ movement with cisgendered gay men. While it’s great to represent them as one facet of the movement, this is not an accurate representation of the movement as they are among the more privileged members of the community.
Another example is the raising of awareness of trans* people by using Caitlyn Jenner as an example. While we are all happy that she has pursued her true self, she is not an accurate representation of the trans* struggle. Not only is she white, but she is financially able to go out and had all the surgeries necessary to transform her body in to what matched her mental image of herself.
I absolutely agree that having such an important and popular public figure go through such a massive transition does begin to shed light on the topic, but we need more. We cannot allow the general public to think that if someone “decides to become a woman” that they can just walk in to their local doctors office and request the appropriate surgeries.
Off the top of my head, the only significant Queer POC that I can think of is Laverne Cox. Orange is the New Black helped put her in th
e lime light and help to bring more awareness to the issues. What I find to be a
complete tragedy is that Cox is such an important and wonderful role model, and she does not even receive half of the media attention that Jenner has received. This is what we say when we mention White Privilege. Why is it that this amazing, Black Transwoman receives less recognition than Jenner? Is it because Jenner began as a privileged white male in America and was able to bring the media attention to herself when she came out?
But lets stop looking at celebrities and focus more on the real Queer POC struggle. So again, I ask, Why Should You Care?
You should care because Queer POC are dying. Queer POC are being murdered just because they are Queer, POC, or both. This is a national tragedy that is being swept under the rug.
With the anti-LGBTQIA+ movement within religious, conservative, and otherwise privileged communities, there has been a sort of witch-trial. It reminds me of the Civil Rights movement. Murders, discrimination, inequality.
Queer POC are almost twice as likely to experience physical violence as Queer white’s.
Why? If they’re both Queer, why does a POC receive more hate than their white counter-parts? If they are both Queer, shouldn’t they be treated equally? You’d think so.
Black People are dying. Queer People are dying. This is a national crisis. As of April 2015, there have been 14 LGBTQ related homicides, half of which were Trans* POC. There is a record number of reported LGBTQIA+ related homicides in 2015. With the federal legalization of Gay Marriage, can we expect to see those numbers rise?
What I find even more tragic is that even within the black and POC community, there is hatred towards the Queer community. Can we not band together to protect the liberation and equality of all people?
“Being black and being a female and being gays is just, like, a triple negative in the US, it really is. I mean, I’m a third class citizen”
So I repeat, Why Should You Care? Because it’s the right thing to do. Apart from every other community and affiliation we belong to, we belong to the biggest one of all. Humanity. These are our brothers and sisters, being outright murdered for who they are. That’s wrong. That’s a tragedy. That’s a crisis.
Tell me what you think in the comments below. What experiences have you had?
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