is Pride Month for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer
(LGBTQ) communities across the country — and parades abound.
we all rev up each June for Pride so, too, do the fault lines of race
and class in our larger white LGBTQ community.
advances such as hate crime laws, legalization of same-sex marriage
across the country, and with homophobia viewed as a national concern,
the LGBTQ movement has come a long way since the first Pride march in
1969. Many laud the distance the LGBTQ community has traveled in such
a short time as a disenfranchised group on the fringe of America’s
mainstream to a community now embraced.
not all members of our community have crossed the finish line. Some
are waving the cautionary finger that within our community not all
are equal. And pride events can be public displays of those
acceptance was just one of a few things LGBTQs of color did not
experience from larger Pride events. As a predominately white event
many LGBTQ of color revelers experienced social exclusion and
invisibility. And, after decades of Pride events where many LGBTQ
people of color tried to be included and were not - Black, Asian, and
Latino Pride events were born.
example, Sunday gospel brunches, Saturday night Poetry slams, Friday
evening fashion shows, bid whist tournaments, house parties, the
smell of soul food and Caribbean cuisine, and the beautiful display
of African art and clothing are just a few of the cultural markers
that make Black Pride distinct from the dominant queer culture. LGBTQ
people of African descent have focused not only on HIV/AIDS but also
unemployment, housing, gang violence, and LGBTQ youth homelessness.
this June large communities of LGBTQ people of color will be absent
from Pride. Boston Black Pride 2017 took place in February, offering
hip-hop yoga, commemorating Black History Month and National Black
HIV/AIDS Awareness, and a Mix and Mingle Drag Paint Party, to name a
the growing distance between our larger white LGBTQ community and
LGBTQ communities of color is shown by how, for an example, a health
issue like HIV/AID that was once an entire LGBTQ community problem is
now predominately communities of color.
December 2014, The New York Times front-page article on HIV/AIDS was
both shocking and unsparing stating, “The AIDS epidemic in
America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and
Hispanic men who have sex with men.”
news that is too often not reported or stays under the radar is the
proactive steps this demographic group is taking to stem its spread-
not only among themselves, but the entire community, too. And one of
the reasons for not knowing what these men are doing to stem the
epidemic is because their ways of reaching out to their brothers and
sisters are both culturally creative and unconventional.
example, in 2015 the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) in Boston
kick-off event was the health expo “Our Health Matters, Too!”
The expo was held at the gymnasium of the Epiphany School in
Dorchester that was filled with health booths, workshops, exhibits
and screenings. There were workshops on Sex Positivity, Prostate
Health, Trans Health, Domestic Violence, and LGBTQ Depression, to
name just a few. And there were screenings for the following: STDs,
vision, hypertension, and HIV/AIDS. And the community came out.
it might seem odd that LGBTQ people of color would prefer going to a
school gym or a Pride picnic for health check-ups and information
than to a hospital, the reasons are unfortunately rooted in the
systemic healthcare disparities due not only to race discrimination,
but also to gender identity and sexual orientation as well.
is known as queer-friendly and for its outstanding hospitals across
the country. People travel from other states and countries to be
cared for. But adequate, culturally competent, and compassion
healthcare for its LGBTQ population is still gravely lacking,
especially when it comes to communities of color.
the revolutionary decade of the 1960s during which the air bred
dissent, our LGBTQ agenda has moved from our once urgent state of,
“Why we can’t wait!” to our present lull state of,
“Where do we go from here?”
we go from here now, in my opinion, is in recognizing the need to
network and build coalitions beyond one’s immediate
communities; thus, creating an intersectional social justice activism
throughout our Commonwealth to foster healthy and wholesome
Pride events are still fraught with divisions, at their core, Pride
events are an invitation for community to connect its political
activism with its celebratory acts of song and dance in its continued
fight for justice. They should highlight the multicultural aspect of
joy and celebration that symbolizes not only our uniqueness as
individuals and communities, but also affirms our varied expressions
of LGBTQ life in America.
as long as LGBTQ communities of color continue to be absent each
June, Pride month is an event to not be proud of.