North Texas Daily

Inclusion of Black women and Black LGBTQ is vital

Inclusion of Black women and Black LGBTQ is vital

Inclusion of Black women and Black LGBTQ is vital
July 06
21:23 2020

As a Black woman, when I was introduced to the Black Lives Matter Movement it was hard to deny the power and awareness that it brought into the world. Campaigns were introduced to show the bias and modern racism that Black Americans and Black people around the world faced. It also encouraged those to become more educated within the community. Though valid, a majority of the imagery that resulted in outrage or was used to document or educate the public, involved Black men. 

The missing piece in today’s activism is the one that includes fighting for the livelihood and respect for Black women and Black LGBTQ. Both in which experience alienation within the communities that intersect their identity. 

There is no denying that the current climate and response to racial injustice is different, especially if you’ve been fighting for it for a long time. When the longstanding numbness associated with activism began to be felt again in 2012 following the death of Trayvon Martin, opportunities arose to express concern and outrage when the Black experience began to take center stage. 

In 2014, the African American Policy Forum, or AAPF, launched the #SayHerName campaign to highlight violence to bring “awareness to the often invisible names and stories of Black women and girls who have been victimized by racist police violence, and provides support to their families.” The movement grew tremendously over the years and seemed to have further found a greater footing following the death of Sandra Bland. The hashtag highlighted the tradition tied to Black women that included not acknowledging the violence and death that they face, and more often than not, using one death as an opportunity to tokenize. 

Today, #SayHerName is being used in the way that #BlackLivesMatter is used to address the outrage of the murder of Black men. This is a result of Black women often being excluded and counted out when it comes to addressing violence, murder or any other racial injustices they have experienced. 

Black LGBTQ+ experience alienation in both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, one rooted in homophobia or transphobia and another rooted in racism. When it comes to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the coverage and outrage are extremely close to nonexistent. The lack of coverage and support are just as telling as the accusations of neglect that Black people use when describing the lack of support by other groups. By actively ignoring this piece of the community, it shows the lack of full compassion that needs to be present for a movement to be fully successful. Thus, it further enables hypocrisy.

Alienation, harassment, violence and murder happen as a result of ignorance. Ignorance that contributes to an underreporting of injustices like the violence of Black transgender women. As the Human Rights Campaign reported, 91% of the violence is towards Black women, but this is an estimate being that they are often misgendered, an act that contributes to dehumanization.  

A movement is incomplete without accountability on both fronts. There is no validity nor true change that is likely to occur if the full humanity of others isn’t touched on and validated. Activism holds no true meaning when this happens. 

It’s important to use this opportunity to not only show support and to actually work towards a better community. Being that Black LGBTQ+ have established their own community and purpose on their own, it is a little less than safe to assume that acceptance and understanding are what they desire above all else when they have pursued their own rights (like Marsha P. Johnson). It is also worth noting that Black-identified LGBTQ+ activists have had an extensive hand in fighting for civil rights and racial injustice (James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Baynard Rustin, etc.)

When the discussion of inclusion is brought up, there is always an argument that says that we as a society are not ready to see said change. However, there is no right or wrong time for change to happen, it happens with effort and a clear path to educate and work. 

Yes, we as a human race need to be better and that starts with acknowledging the disconnect and failures that have occurred at the hands of the Black community. It is now and will always be vital to address and equally fight for the livelihood of Black women and Black LGBTQ+ because they will never fail to be the blueprint for change and courage.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Jasmine Hicks

Jasmine Hicks

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