I have had plenty of “friends” suggest that Black trans sisters getting killed is a gay issue and not a Black one. When I highlight Black queer folx who have been murdered, I get accused of trying to hijack the Black liberation movement with “that gay shit.” Meanwhile, Black trans women are experiencing communal violence at alarming rates and are “7 times more likely to experience physical violence” when interfacing with the police than those who are cisgender.
But, we aren’t supposed to ask for justice because our sexuality makes us less worthy? We aren’t supposed to lift their names because their gender identity made them less human? No, fuck that.
I am Black. I am a woman. I am a Black woman who is same gender loving. Let me attempt, for a moment, to speak to these intersections as they pertain to the plight of Black Liberation in America.
Black folx that identify within the LGBTQI+ umbrella are often an anomaly within the movement/protest world and society at large. We frequently find ourselves defending our sexuality or gender identity in heterosexual & Cis Black spaces while defending our Blackness in white queer spaces. We are the bastard children among demographics where we both exist and identify.
In spite of the fact that Black queer folx have ALWAYS existed and that many of our beloved Black freedom fighters from the past and present are queer, there is still much disdain, tension, and hate when it comes to the inclusion of Black queer folx in the movement of Black liberation.
This outright implies that a non-heterosexual identity or cis gender alignment somehow revokes one’s Blackness. It assumes protection under the LGBTQI+ umbrella as if that somehow protects us from the communal and state sanctioned violence acted upon brothers and sisters of color. It suggests sexuality, or gender expression, somehow grants one the liberties of an Ellen or a Caitlyn Jenner or whatever white gay man’s name you want to enter here. The LGBTQI+ community and the fight for gay rights are predominately white led and, like many other social justice movements, ignores or omits the contributions of Black folx and people of color.
For one to exist and walk in the truth of being same gender loving, trans, or non-binary is a beautiful thing. With that, however, comes the possibility of scrutiny, prejudice, ostracization and hate that often leads to violence. While white queer folx experience injustice and bigotry, they also have the option to lean into their whiteness and the privilege that comes with it. The hatred queer Black & POC experience is rooted in both anti-queer and anti-black ideologies. Perhaps I can hide my gay; however, I cannot hide my skin.
Many queer white folx want Black folx and POC to engage in kumbaya moments that champion the LGBTQI+ movement, while simultaneously ignoring and silencing the oppression that specifically impacts those same queer Black folx and queer POC. They want us to align with a gay rights movement they hijacked, while they play oppression Olympics and use cute catch phrases like “gay is the new BLACK.” They push for our participation while MANY of them are in fact racist, pro-police, and anti-Black.
So, we navigate away from this and attempt to lean into a community of folx that look like us. Black folk. Beautiful Black folk that continue to be resilient in spaces and places that often attempt to make us believe otherwise.
When a Brother gets cut down too soon by the pigs, I don’t inquire about his lifestyle choices. I don’t ask what kind of man or what kind of father he was; I just show up.
When Black folx are experiencing injustice from systemic racism I don’t alter how I do the work because they don’t look like me or love like me.
Why? Because these are BLACK folx, these are OUR people.
So, I ask what part of this exclusion of queer and trans Black folx is pro-Black? What part of this ignoring and separation is getting us to freedom?
I don’t wanna hear shit about religion. I don’t wanna hear shit about the gay agenda as these are all excuses and scapegoats to mask one’s bigotry and hate.
When I wake up, I first identify as Black. I lead with my Blackness. When I speak about liberation and freedom for us there is no asterisk. There is no exclusion.
We say until Black people get free then none of us are free, but you can’t agree with that and exclude certain demographics of Black folx. That isn’t how this works. And until some of you grasp that, you will forever be on the side of the oppressor.
If we are pushing to abolish and transform systems of oppression, then we MUST include ALL Black folx in the fight. If you are pushing for Black folx to truly be liberated, then you MUST not exclude any Black folx because of how they walk in this world.
If you are NOT doing that then you are NOT doing this work and WE don’t believe you. We don’t need you.
For those that do, LET’S GET FREE.
Kristian BlackmonKristian Blackmon is a STL native who is a community organizer, activist, art curator, creative and lover of Black folx. Her work is centered in fighting against all the ways in which oppression forms & the liberation of Black bodies & Black minds.