As thousands of people marched worldwide for pride and racial justice this weekend, many demonstrators called for an end to the often overlooked racism within the LGBT + community.
Pride events celebrating LGBT + rights take place worldwide throughout June – though most have been canceled or put online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic – but the emergence of protests against racial injustice has a number of live events triggered.
Studies show that colored LGBT + people are more prone to violence and poverty. A 201
“It’s definitely still pretty common,” said Kwamina Theo Amihyia, who attended a Black Trans Lives Matter march in London.
“As far as we have come, many steps have been taken for white members of the (LGBT +) community, and we are still almost considered second-class citizens.”
After the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in police custody in the United States on May 25, racial inequalities worldwide have been put under the microscope.
Many LGBT + groups issued statements in support of protests after Floyd’s death, pointing to the radical origins of the LGBT + legal movement at the Stonewall Inn in New York 51 years ago that arose to combat police brutality.
“As a queer person, I’m exposed to racism from the queer community myself – and it’s time to stamp it out,” said Patrick King, as he roared along one of the main streets in central London with booming car horns. The Black Trans Lives Matter march in London was one of several events planned to support Black Lives Matter this weekend.
As the debate about systemic racism also hits LGBT + companies this month, gay dating apps Grindr and Scruff have removed ethnicity filters in response to racial justice protests.
19-year-old college student Donald Arrington, who was due to take part in an informal pride march in Los Angeles on Sunday, said he was rejected for LGBT + dating apps because he was black.
“It’s always” Hey, I’m sorry, you look good, but I’m not going to meet black people, “said Arrington.
On Sunday, thousands of people are expected to take part in the Queer Liberation March in New York, an event that was brought online due to the corona virus but went back on the streets after protests against police brutality and racism after Floyd’s death.
“There must be the element of people on the streets and popular uprising and outrage,” said Natalie James, co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is organizing the march. “There is no substitute for it.”
However, Ed Brockenbrough, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the Pride organizations’ move to address Black Lives Matter issues had not gone far enough to address racism in the LGBT + community.
“Activism in black and brown queer communities has been going on for a long time without the white gatekeepers fully accepting queer resources,” said Brockenbrough, whose research focuses on the challenges of color LGBT + people.
For Ted Brown, a veteran of the British Gay Liberation Front (GLF) who marched in London on Saturday, nothing has changed enough since he was on the “scene” in the 1970s.
“[Racism] remains a problem within the LGBT + community, ”said Brown, as banners and posters were unfolded and raised around him.
“If you look around here, for example, I’m one of the few black people here … The LGBT + community has to look at themselves and find out how they can become more diverse.”