As we celebrate the last day of LGBT History Month, I am reflecting on the amazing civil rights work being done by Binyavanga Wainaina. Let us all hope that every country in Africa will celebrate and embrace the LGBTQ community.
I am also hopeful that the transgender community will be celebrated and embraced with the visibility and leadership of people like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock.
I think it is also important to look back and be able to honor those that came before us — to pay tribute to those who assumed level of risk, so that future generations might have an easier life just for being who we are. Thank you, José Julio Sarria. Thank you, Harry Hay.
While many states can now enjoy and celebrate marriage equality, this does not mean that LGBTQ people are no longer targeted or marginalized. Of course, we must not forget that the disproportionality of targeting/marginalization is greater for people of color who are also LGBTQ.
Of course, this is also the time when I get to highlight some of my favorite LGBTQ stories over the years.
As with Black History Month and Women’s History Month, I wish we did not need LGBTQ History Month, but the fact is we do! We must not fall into the delusion that people in the United States and all over the world are treated equally by virtue of being human. In most states in the south it is not safe to be part of the LGBTQ community. In Uganda it is legal to kill gay people – a proposal seen just recently here in the United States.
I bring up Black History Month and Women’s History month because of all the people who have multiple identities and experience oppression on multiple levels. Marriage Equality is just a small portion of what needs to be addressed regarding civil rights. Violence against the LGBTQ community has increased by 13% over the past year, with people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming folk being especially targeted.
A Call To Action: I ask that all of our allies/supporters to raise your voices — stand in solidarity with those of us in the LGBTQ community. Together we have the power to eradicate homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and poverty.