Life Lessons Learned: Having Pride in the lgbT
It’s June, so you know what that means...it’s PRIDE MONTH! A time when we recognize, celebrate, and salute our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Here at AnnodRight, we like to focus on People of Color, specifically Black. Why? Because many times when talking about Pride, white faces get the focus and recognition as if it started off as just a fun block party with pretty rainbow flags and people parading down the street. But, compared to how Pride began, what you see today is more like the happily ever after (even though we still have a long way to go).
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Pride started off as a riot led by Marsha P. Johnson. It was pivotal in bringing the LGBTQ community to the forefront and making PRIDE become the notorious parade it is today. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Marsha P. Johnson is a gay, trans drag queen who was huge advocate for LGBTQ rights and freedoms. She is known for her efforts in helping the trans community, especially her marching in front of the 1973 Pride parade, after being told that drag queens wouldn’t be allowed because they were giving the parade “ a bad name.” (That’s how you do it!)
While I love to see people celebrate the LGBTQ community, I find it ironic and full of fuckery that all month long people and companies are ready to post rainbow hearts in their captions and rainbow filters for their selfies to show support for the good times, yet are nowhere to be found during the bad.
While celebrating Pride we cannot overlook our trans brothers and sisters who are being killed in these streets. Just a few weeks ago we were sending our condolences to the family of Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman from Dallas who was murdered and the lack of media attention she received really bothered me. Since 2013, over 128 transgender people have been killed, of which 80% were people of color yet the coverage is few and far between. Think about it, can you name 3 victims off the top of your head?. I love Black Lives Matter, but sometimes we can be some straight up hypocrites, especially if we don’t recognize that there are Black Trans Lives who ALSO matter! . We have to do better! For those who feel some type of way about the trans community or don’t feel any type of way about these senseless murders, I need you to take a moment and ask yourselves “What is it about trans lives for me that seem to matter less than other lives?”
And I want you to ask yourselves that because not too long ago I wrote a post entitled “Minding Your Business:the Therapeutic Benefits,” which was written to remind you to do just that: Mind. Your. Business. And I think it definitely needs to be reiterated during Pride month, because during this time I notice a lot of policing. Policing about how we feel certain people should live their lives, who they should love, and how they should identify themselves when that’s nothing that concerns you! The fact that you feel you need to police them in that manner is a sign that you need to do some self reflection because that’s a question about you more than it is about them. Maybe the way you should all over yourself compels you to police others. But that internal reflection is a job for you and your therapist. Everyone is not meant to act and think exactly as you do. They are trying to live their best lives. Why don't you try to live yours instead of stopping someone based on your prejudices?
When I see LGBTQ folk out here living their best life, I’m personally inspired. Not just inspired as someone who identifies on the LGBTQ spectrum, I’m inspired because they’re living their lives honestly despite fear of persecution, especially trans people. There’s a certain level of visibility that is required as a trans man or woman, or someone not on the gender binary. The people in their lives are very much aware they were born one way and now live their life another and they have to deal with their reactions, whether positive or negative. So, I admire them because that takes a special kind of courage and strength. A strength that makes it even harder to grasp how trans people minding their business and living their lives is such an issue with people who aren’t even in their lives, to the point that they want to inflict pain and violence on them.
COULD IT BE??
I wonder if part of the issue some have is centered around jealousy, a jealousy around the fact that trans people have made the choice and transition to live their lives the way they want to.
Could some be jealous that:
- They have embraced and live by the notion that they must do for themselves because others won’t?
-That they have consciously decided to live honestly and truthfully for themselves?
-That they live out loud, live boldly, and freely?
Which many of us have not done or don’t have the courage to do (yet).
We, as Black people, have been taught respectability politics from the day we were born. It’s pushed upon us constantly and consistently, and part of this push is because we’re supposed to live our lives according to what whiteness dictates. It has been our responsibility to make sure white people are comfortable and live in accordance to their comfort, never our own.
To be trans is to live out loud and be completely true to yourself despite societal norms. It is to be honest and in a way throw those respectability politics out the window and live for you. IT IS TO LIVE, NOT JUST SURVIVE. So, is there jealousy going on because some of us are living lives in the confines of those in power?
And I question this because Black people are already oppressed by white people and white culture, but there’s also heteronormative culture/supremacy as well as a gender conforming culture. And when we are a part of that dominate culture, I notice that those who have been oppressed want to oppress others, in this case trans people.
Now maybe they’re trying to oppress trans people for their “safety,” but that ain’t never worked and they don’t need it, so stop! Maybe they’re trying to oppress them because they feel a certain way about how they live their life. That’s also a hard stop. I think we need to look at ourselves because what makes me angry is watching trans people die because of prejudice and hate. What makes me angry is that there is not enough of an outcry about it when we talk about Black lives. When I talk about Black Lives Matter, I mean ALL lives. That means from the criminal to the jackass, from the child to the grandparent, from those trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents to those making it rain, and everybody in between .
Take a moment, look back at yourself, what are you doing? How are you living? And what can we do to better support and show true solidarity with our trans family.
**Here is a great podcast episode from Therapy For Black Girls on “Shoulding” maybe you need to take a listen.