Can we come, too?
I ask this question in homage to Indya Moore’s plea for trans inclusion in the fight for Black liberation, but I’m genuinely asking is it OK for those of us who fall under the queer spectrum to be included in any conversation centered on the salvation of Black people.
In the past couple of months, we’ve been able to see the structural change that can happen when we galvanize to stand up for the unjust slaughter of our people, but that’s not all we’ve seen. Sadly, we’ve bore witness to the erasure of our sisters and brothers who are trans, queer or fall under any category that is not heterosexual or cisgender. It’s time for that to change. Pride Month may be over, but the fight for all Black lives is still very much in effect.
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Poem by Indya Adrianna Moore (downloadable link in bio) This poem is based on just a small part of black trans/queer sentiment. At each point that I say I, please imagine every black trans or queer face you can think of. (Don't watch if you don'twatch the whole thing.) This is a poem i wrote based on my response to a young black cis man who told me that I was causing harm to the black liberation movement by centering the violence black trans women are experiencing In our community. I wrote the poem, and expanded it for an amazing youtube program hosted by a powerful black man in hollywood which is coming out soon that I am so honored I was thought of to be included in. I just can't wait any longer for the world to see and hear it and I don't believe this is exclusive content. I am 100% breaking the rules by posting early, but this isnt content you can contract because its made out of my spirit, my heart, my mind, my pain, my pain, my pain, my LOVE, my anger, my hope, my desire and my future and nobody owns my voice. I am so grateful for @nonamehiding who released a new track called 33 (link in her bio) , because it was that track that inspired me to share this poem early.
That same exhaustion and frustration pursuant of fighting against white supremacy is doubled for those of us who have to prove that our lives matter to the racist white folks and the homophobic and transphobic Black folks in our own backyard.
Moore said her poem was written in response to a young Black man's claim that she was detracting from the Black Lives Matter movement by advocating for Black trans people.
The hypocrisy of suggesting that Black lives do not matter unless they are cisgender or heterosexual is mind boggling. Whether or not statements like that are explicitly stated, they’re made abundantly clear when we don’t show up for women like Riah Milton or Dominique Fells the same way we did for George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
We used our anger as fuel to combat the oppressive system that categorizes our Black bodies as expendable and quite literally set fire to this same system that is symbolic of white supremacy. Did the fuel for that fire run out when it was time to stand for Milton or Fells? How about Tony McDade, a trans man who was at least the 12th transgender identifying person who died of a violent death this year? Or was it only reserved for Rayshard because he wasn’t a trans person?
Black trans women face even more discrimination and violence JUST for being /black trans women/ as compared to being a white trans woman. https://t.co/5KF2uMbNFl— ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 (@heliosdraws) June 30, 2020
While the “All Black Lives Matter” march that took place last month was completely necessary, it’s unfortunate that it even had to happen. The actual Black Lives Matter movement was started by queer Black women so it should come as a huge surprise that these very same women are excluded from the movement that they breathed life into. There shouldn’t have been a consideration for a separate march honoring Black lives who fall on the LGBTQ spectrum because we should already be doing that — through and through — with the current movement.
For those in the Black community who so gallantly ride through the streets on a judgmental white horse chanting “Black Lives Matter” while simultaneously looking down upon the Black lives that don’t fit in the narrow confines of respectability politics filled with transphobia and homophobia, do better. Actually, be better.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, trans women are 4.3 times more likely to be murdered with an overwhelming percentage of that number being Black trans women. Additionally, over one third of Black trans women have reported harassment during police interactions with 15% experiencing biased motivated assault from police officers. This is not just a Black trans problem, it’s a community problem.
Standing in solidarity with our Black trans sisters and brothers requires us to unpack the toxicity that many of us have internalized. How different would protests look if Black trans people decided to take note from the painfully embarrassing ways that cisgender Black folks have chosen not to stand with them and duplicated this behavior? Solidarity isn’t restricted solely to white people or non-Black people of color, but it’s something that should be displayed in our own community.
Solidarity is more than watching Pose and identifying with Elektra or Angel because of their fabulous style and charm. It’s more than being excited for the reunion this month of Noah’s Arc, another cultural artifact in the Black LGBTQ community, because a few queer friends really liked the show. It’s showing up alongside queer Black people and putting in the same work to dismantle systems that oppress them as you would for yourself or any other non trans folk in the community.
For the non queer folks who do watch these symbolic shows of freedom, stan for your queer friends just as hard as you do for these fictional characters. These characters may be fictitious but, make no mistake, they are representative of the real struggles that Black queer people face every single day. So turn off the TV and pull up.
I’ll ask this again — can we come, too?