Laverne Cox and Ricky Martin communicate to USA TODAY about commemorating Satisfaction Month all over the Black Lives Topic protests.


I wasn’t certain how I used to be going to recognize LGBTQ Satisfaction this yr.

Between the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and the continuing Black Lives Topic protests in opposition to police brutality, I considered whether or not and the way Satisfaction belonged within the nationwide dialog. 

My conclusion: It very a lot does, particularly with an emphasis on supporting the Black LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

“We need to read about our personal neighborhood and the racism that lurks within the LGBTQ neighborhood,”  Earl Fowlkes, president of the Heart for Black Fairness, prior to now informed USA TODAY. One instance: Queer intercourse and relationship app Grindr lately introduced it could be taking away its ethnicity clear out in keeping with comments and as a part of its dedication to combating racism.

Satisfaction this yr seemed dramatically other. The same old corporate-sponsored parades and fairs had been changed with socially distanced celebrations, digital ceremonies and Black Lives Topic protests. However most likely Satisfaction must have gave the look of this all alongside: Coming in combination in particular person and in spirit for one of the crucial maximum marginalized participants of our neighborhood.

And now, even with Satisfaction Month finishing, the paintings of being an best friend and creating a distinction does no longer.

Satisfaction: five tactics to honor the Black LGBTQ+ neighborhood

1. Take part within the Black Lives Topic motion. If you wish to beef up LGBTQ organizations presently, direct your efforts to ones that intersect the Black neighborhood. Donate to Black queer organizations, or attend protests with this intersection in thoughts. Thirty-nine % of LGBTQ adults within the U.S. determine as other people of colour, in step with the Williams Institute at UCLA.

On June 14, hundreds stood out of doors the Brooklyn Museum in New York, in large part dressed in white and spreading the message Black Trans Lives Topic. 

Do you know black transgender girls led the primary Satisfaction, a protest out of doors the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969? Transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson could have thrown the primary brick at Stonewall (no less than, that is the consensus of many of the neighborhood; Johnson mentioned she didn’t get to the bar till the rioting had already began). Activists rioted after a police raid on the bar; New York had refused to offer licenses to bars that served homosexual other people. Police entered Stonewall with a warrant and arrested 13 other people. If it were not for Black transgender girls and others protesting out of doors Stonewall, we do not need the parades we sit up for annually.

If you select to wait an online Pride event, keep all this in mind and make sure whichever event you’re attending is just as inclusive.

2. Read, read, read. Support Black queer authors (I recently finished “How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones, and can’t recommend it enough) and buy from Black-owned bookstores. It’s also worth reflecting on your own media consumption. How many articles have you read about Black transgender women? Do you know how many transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year alone? (The answer is 14, per the Human Rights Campaign, including Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, both discovered dead this month. Last year, it was 26 killed, most of whom were Black and transgender.)

“I’m afraid that one day there could be a victim and that victim could be me,” Karleigh Chardonnay Webb, a transgender activist and operator at the suicide prevention organization, Trans Lifeline, told USA TODAY last year.

3. Be an ally  and mean it. This means listening to and reading voices unlike your own, but also means thinking about who you surround yourself with on a daily basis. Black drag queen Jo Mama told me this month something I will remember forever about examining your social media presence: “If you can’t find a single person of color in the first five photos, then you have a problem. That looks like it could be a symptom of racism. You need to examine why that is,” Jo Mama said. Don’t get defensive — do the work.

4. Watch, watch, watch. Educate yourself about Pride and the Black queer community through documentaries, film and television. Documentary “Disclosure,” on Netflix now and executive produced by Laverne Cox, looks at the history of transgender representation in film and TV. The first two seasons of FX’s drama “Pose,” featuring many Black transgender women as they compete in ballroom competitions and support each other through the HIV/AIDS crisis, are also available on Netflix. “Paris Is Burning” offers a real-life glimpse into ballroom culture, and the beautiful, Black and queer film “Moonlight” won best picture at the Oscars in 2017. Be careful to read up on what you watch first, however: Films that propagate stereotypes or otherwise receive criticism from the communities they portray might not be worth your time.

5. Talk to the queer people in your life. If you’re a white, straight and/or cisgender person, don’t let the onus just be on your Black, brown, queer and/or transgender friends to talk about Pride. Make a donation or engage in a discussion about the origins of Pride, or maybe offer thoughts on the recent Supreme Court decision that guaranteed LGBTQ people couldn’t be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’m not sure what the world will look like in a few months, let alone tomorrow. But trust that I’m doing everything in my power and encouraging those in my life —  and you —  to step up for the Black LGBTQ+ community. We haven’t achieved equality unless everyone gets a seat at the table.

Contributing: Elinor Aspegren and Cara Kelly

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