To All Happy Pride:
It is Pride weekend and all will be celebrating and that’s good, however, many will feel unaccepted in the LGBTQ community. With all the pain experienced over the years and the hostility foisted upon my community, I find it unconscionable that any group who has been marginalized can, in turn, exclude their brothers and sisters.
Audre Lorde expressed this feeling. Tom Clayton in his piece “Gay Will Never Be the New Black: What James Baldwin Taught Me About My White Privilege” quotes Lorde who said, “[W]hen I, a Black woman, saw no reflection in any of the faces [in the lesbian clubs of New York] week after week, I knew perfectly well that being an outsider in the Bagatelle had everything to do with being Black.”
There are hard-core lesbians who reject those not like them. I understand the fights you went through and the degradation heaped upon you yet now is not the time for separation. There is no time good for separation. In numbers, there is strength and power. Allies are a necessity in any struggle and yes, we are in a war to keep the benefits we’ve gained. The current administration is doing all it can to destroy years of progress. And although I am concerned about the actions it’s taking I am more disturbed by the comments and actions of my community.
Patriarchy still reigns in both white men and those of color. What I’ve heard is particularly “white” LGBTQ people are distancing themselves from people of color. We cannot have this. Either we stick together or we’ll die one by one. No one will go back into the closet after tasting freedom. What I worry about are the isms that are part of the LGBTQ community. Sexism and racism cannot be tolerated at a time when we are all vulnerable.
Todd Clayton states “white people feel cheated.” The society in which they were born is supposed to be secure but it is not because of their sexual orientation from Clayton’s “Gay Will Never Be the New Black: What James Baldwin Taught Me About My White Privilege.” What this signifies is the need for coming together. The pretense of superiority gets no one anywhere once sexual orientation is found out. He goes on to quote Baldwin with, “the gay world as such is no more prepared to accept black people than anywhere else in society.” This is significant in the myriad of struggles going on now.
No one battle is more significant than another. They all derive from a system designed for the so-called superiority of “white people.” These skirmishes proclaim if you’re not “white” and a heterosexual male then you’re nothing. So, let’s unite and destroy racism, sexism and any other that is divisive. Pretending things are fine is like putting one’s head in the sand against a storm. Won’t work.
“Your silence will not protect you,” Audre Lorde.