On the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and nine days after Juneteenth, I write this post as a Black queer person reflecting on how much progress those with identities like mine have made in just the last century. On June 28th, 1969, just over 50 years ago, activists took a stand after yet another police raid of an LGBTQ+ space. After decades of being shunned, mistreated, and harassed by both police and other members of our nation, queer people fought for their right to proudly and freely exist; now I sit today with a platform to speak about my experience and honor them for theirs. Taking up space in our nation has become so much easier due to the work of so many activists and organizers before us — although, there is still much work to be done.
From pronoun competency to a broad understanding of LGBTQ+ history, there is so much more work that needs to occur in order to make our world a truly inclusive place. Whether it be microaggressions during conversation, side-eyes given to gay couples in public, or using only one set of pronouns for someone who prefers to be addressed by more than one, LGBTQ+ people still face marginalization today; this applies especially to LGBTQ+ people who hold a marginalized ethnic identity.
Being Black and queer and navigating the world has been a challenge to say the least; in queer spaces, I must make room for my experience as a Black femme and the way that has informed my identity. And in Black spaces, I find myself having to make space for my queerness. The same struggle transcends day-to-day interactions and makes its way into the politics of our nation. While people of color and queer people are more represented in US politics than ever today, queer people of color are still largely underrepresented, and so many feel voiceless. If we have no representation in politics, we have no true representation in policy.
Though the prospects seem daunting, there are people out there every day who are defying the odds and taking up our cause. In an interview with a diverse group of queer politicians, I worked to dispel the myth that queer people and queer people of color cannot succeed in politics. Embracing our identities is not a death sentence; nor is it a prescription for failure. LGBTQ+ people have been wildly successful in politics, and they have so much advice for young people who aspire for a political career as well.
For more information on their message, view my interview with them on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/amypritchard/videos/10159045804945791/