Aug 13, 2020
What Does Black August Have To Do With Queerness?
Earlier this month we shared with you that Equality North Carolina is observing Black August, a month-long period of remembrance about the history of anti-Black, violent, systematic oppression in this country and the giants and revolutionaries who laid the foundation for the work of our movements today.
However, Black August is more than just a month of observation -- it’s a celebration of the resilience of Black people in America and the sacred tradition of Black survival, particularly when it comes to our LGBTQ brothers, sisters and siblings.
Black and Brown LGBTQ people have always been at the forefront of the battle for civil rights, even if they didn’t stand in the spotlight. You only have to look as far as Bayard Rustin, an openly gay Black man in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s circle who helped organize the March on Washington. Or Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman who is credited with throwing the first brick at the Stonewall Riots.
The movement for LGBTQ equality began as a riot against police brutality at places like Stonewall Inn and Compton’s Cafeteria. Over half a century later, we are still coming together to resist oppression and fight against police brutality targeting the most vulnerable members of our communities through the Black Lives Matter Movement, with queer black women like Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza leading the charge. Other prominent Black liberation organizations are also led by revolutionary queer folks who are changing the world, such as BYP100’s Charlene Carruthers.
This Black August, we’d like to make it known that Black and Brown LGBTQ people have always been here. From Miss Major to Alicia Garza, without the unrelenting passion and sacrifice of these giants the movement to end racialized violence and oppression in this country would not be where it is today.
From all of us at Equality NC, we hope you’ll spend some time this month reflecting on the legacy of the LGBTQ rights movement and it’s position within the larger fight for civil rights in this country. Keep your eyes peeled to your inbox and our social media channels for more on #BlackAugust in the days and weeks to come.