Tensions are high everywhere. Injustices towards minority Black and brown people are raising concerns within the LGBTQ+ community as well. The Black community spoke up on systemic racism and police brutality. However, they didn’t do as much for their queer brothers and sisters. Regardless of sexuality, a Black person is still Black and deserves the support of their community.
The Black community never had a good reputation with the LGBTQ+ community. Historically, homosexuality and sexual abuse were used to dehumanize Black men during slavery. With that precedent, the Black community strongly discouraged homosexuality and looked at it as something similar to a crime. These feelings carried through generations. Today, there are still queer individuals who receive hatred from their family for expressing their sexuality. Young individuals are often kicked out or disowned and forced to figure out life alone. They become subjected to vulnerability and naivety. This leads to a higher chance of experiencing violence or being taken advantage of in some way.
Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, Iyanna Dior and Tony McDade are the recent victims of violence against LGBTQ+ individuals.
While their stories are all different, violence against queer Black individuals happens at higher rates than non-Black individuals. Society has become more tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community but we’re still seeing a trend in violence against transgendered individuals. According to pflag.org, hate crimes based on gender identity rose from 0.5 percent to 1.8 percent every year. If you need a better contrast, the amount of reported hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals in 2014 was 5,479. While in 2018, the number rose to 7,120. These hate crimes come from everywhere; loved ones, anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, police officers, and others who feel threatened by someone else’s differences. Even President Donald Trump, who has sparked a lot of controversies, ruled on a decision to revoke nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals seeking medical attention earlier this month.
As we’ve seen, when we all come together and support one another we can’t be stopped. Protests and petitions alone were able to bring some sort of justice for George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Tony McDade didn’t get the same attention. We criminalize sexuality the same way society criminalizes our blackness and it’s not right. As a community, we can’t be stuck in our ways so much that we turn the other cheek to violence against our own members. It will take some time but remember that these individuals were Black before they came out about their sexuality.
Going forward, the Black community needs to stand up for all of its members.
The message Black Lives Matter and the Black community should be sending is that it shouldn’t matter who you love or who you choose to be, your life still matters. The same way non-Black individuals showed their solidarity against racism and police brutality, Black people must uplift their LGBTQ+ counterparts. There’s no way to justify the violence done to LGBTQ+ individuals, their sexuality isn’t the only thing that defines them. There’s no way to shy away from the conversation because it’s right in front of you and it’s becoming more normalized within society. When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we must include Black LGBTQ+ individuals; there’s no room for hypocritical logic.