This Transformational Moment

Artwork (left to right): Breonna Taylor – @shirien.creates; Ahmaud Arbery – @shirien.creates; Nina Pop – @colorofchange;  George Floyd – @shirien.creates; Tony McDade – @vientoxsol

Tomorrow is the first day of Pride month and today I’m holding, honoring, and celebrating the truth that what we commemorate every June was an uprising—days of passionate resistance to the brutal violence of the police against our communities, especially the Black and brown trans women who led this fight, that had been going on for decades—centuries.

At the time, Stonewall was considered a riot. But this framing, as we are seeing today, is used to distract from what was actually at stakeIn essence, Stonewall was a rebellion of people who had been oppressed for their sexuality and gender identity both interpersonally and by police and other institutions. I celebrate and give gratitude to the brave and beautiful people who fought for their lives and against the daily discrimination and oppression they faced.

While they might not have been thought of as such, many of the patrons of Stonewall Inn were grassroot leaders and organizers. Most of them were people of color, trans women, femmes, butches, and queens cast away by society and often the broader gay community for their focus on things like incarceration and demanding that their humanity be recognized and valued. 

As we witness the pain and passion of the events happening today, I can’t help but see their spirit of interruption, resistance, and liberation alive and bursting forth in the national response to the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and too many more.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that these acts of resistance are a culmination of centuries of pain, anguish, and anger about the violent, brutal racism that Black people in the United States live with and experience every single day.  They are about changing the world as we know it and crying out for better. Let us remember that windows can be replaced and buildings can be rebuilt. But we will never, ever get our family members, our beloveds, these human beings back. Their lives are not disposable.

Pride Foundation’s mission is to fuel transformational movements to bring justice for all LGBTQ+ people—this means movements that are fundamentally challenging the oppressive, racist systems and institutions that are preventing the liberation of our community. What we are witnessing across the nation this week is exactly one of those transformational movements. It is a movement to dismantle the systems that have oppressed Black people for generations.

Pride Foundation is in unwavering solidarity with the people, communities, and movements who are challenging the violence and systemic oppression that undermines the humanity of Black people and support the dismantling of white supremacy and the rippling effects of its violence. We are in unwavering solidarity with Black LGBTQ+ community members, scholars, community partners, and grantees who are fighting to change our world.

The reality laid bare right now compels us to get very, very clear about what our purpose is: Who we are fighting for. What it will take. What justice looks like.

Today and every day, please, please, please join me in saying, chanting, screaming, and fundamentally believing this truth: Black Lives Matter.  I beg us all to think about what it would mean for this truth to be reflected in our systems, in our institutions, in our media, and in our everyday lives—and to work to change this world together because the lives of our communities depend on it.

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