It’s June already. More so, I’ve forgotten it’s June. More so, I’ve forgotten that it’s been three months since the beginning of quarantine. More so, I’ve forgotten that it’s Pride Month.
I can’t help but feel that now is not a time of celebration. Not just in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, but in regards to the growing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Celebrating in itself is a privilege, and it feels negligent of more important things going on in the world. Myself, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, can wait.
I’ve been thinking a lot about intersectionality lately, how we can’t forget about the queer POC members of the community. And because I’ve been thinking about how all our various identities intersect, I’ve also been thinking about the community itself. Though the definition of community suggests commonality between values, customs, or identity, I think we often forget how communities are supposed to be active. If we care about the individuals we share intersections with, then we should also be active in supporting them, as well.
Normally this would be a time where I write or share posts in the name of queer pride. I’ve taken to writing protest pieces questioning white morality and privilege. To support intersectionality, we need to focus on its tangible representations in Black Lives Matter and feminism, movements that work to demolish oppression against people of color and women. The thing about intersectionality is that when various forms of discrimination intersect for marginalized communities, the discrimination multiplies, rather than adds up. We can’t claim to be inclusive if we’re not intersectional. And the LGBTQ+ community could use this time to learn how to be more intersectional to work together toward both movements’ collective interests.
Perhaps it’s my natural inclination as a queer, and someone who knows that queers have been rioting and demanding for social reform for a long time, that Pride Month should be set in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We should still be protesting after Pride Month, after posts and news have lessened on our social media. Pride Month is deeply rooted in the fight against inequalities, injustices, and discrimination, which echoes back to the Stonewall riots of 1969, which were an uprising against police brutality toward the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride can only persist and continue if we elevate the voices of people of color, particularly in the queer community, because it’s the voices of those existing in multiple marginalized communities who are the most unheard. Their stories are crucial. It’s our responsibility to showcase this publicly in the form of protest, to denounce systemic injustices that have been pervasive in the United States since its inception. If we’re not active or saying anything, then we’re allowing these injustices to go on. If we refuse to take a side, we’re taking the side of the oppressor, because that’s what they want. They want silence.
Now is a time to be loud. Or rather, it’s always been a time to be loud. But we can be louder.
*To make a donation to support Black Lives, here is a list of various national organizations, bail funds, and activist programs. Locally, consider supporting organizations in the Twin Ports including the Duluth NAACP, the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial, and local student organizations and offices at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.