Ferguson and Eric Garner: Why the LGBTQ Community Should Care?

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Ferguson and Eric Garner: Why the LGBTQ Community Should Care?

national-march-2014-protest

Take a stand…because we notice who is not.

national-march-2014-protest

National March protesting police brutality on Saturday, December 13, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

You can’t help but be proud of the sustainability of our LGBTQ family. Throughout  history, although widely persecuted and often criminalized, we have stood true to our demands for equality and liberation. For the most part, we have not been stagnant in our quest for equality and have always rose to the occasion when our very human design has been violated. We have marched, and rioted and spoke out for equality so loudly that our voices and actions have created measures and systems of equality and liberation.

For some of us.

In just the last 45 years we have progressed from the police brutality and riots of Stonewall to LGBTQ protections in the workplace. We have  passed hate crime bills that promise  justice should someone harm us because of who we are. Our military families no longer have to hide in the shadows. In 35 states, and growing, we can legally marry the love of our lives.

We said that we would no longer accept second class citizenship. This is a short list of our accomplishments and we still have a lot of work left, but we have come a long way.  We have obtained the privilege LGBTQ folks have dreamed about throughout history.

Well, some of us.  

Many of us, miss out on the privilege that is afforded with our community accomplishments because we are busy simply trying to survive. I’m speaking about our women, trans folks, people of color, youth, disabled, and all of us who cannot exclude the layers we are with our sexuality. For many of us, these liberties are secondary to things like racism, poverty, education, abuse, oppression, pay inequality, sexism, misogyny, sexual violence, transphobia, violation of our human rights, and even murder. Some of us never see the glitter and rainbows. It is important that all members of the LGBTQ community understand this reality so that we can also understand why the recent protests and riots are not mutually exclusive to LGBTQ history.

Because of a long pattern of historical injustices involving the police and people of color, an uprising has begun. This is an exciting time in history. Young and old people of all ethnicities, races, social classes, backgrounds and religious convictions have said they will no longer stand for the police brutality and injustices that disproportionately affect people of color. We are hearing the beautiful song of revolution against systemic oppression, and genocide of brown skin. This national movement for black lives has become so important because it has exposed the brokenness of our criminal justice system and created a necessary wave of protests and demand for change.

Tides are turning and we are saying no more.  Sound familiar?

 However, many of our community members, leaders and even our organizations have either been radio silent or created surface campaigns with no real skin in the game.

This Hurts

Maybe some are thinking the protests and outrage does not affect them. After all, if you do not have brown skin, why should you care that Darren Wilson was not indicted for murdering Mike Brown? If you do not have brown skin, why should you care that even in the face of overwhelming evidence, police misconduct and an autopsy ruling his death a homicide,  a grand jury decided not to indict the police who killed Eric Garner? How does all this affect you if you are not a person of color?

I’m so glad that you asked. Our diverse team of masterminds here at Tagg have some compelling answers to that question.  Here are ten reasons why the LGBTQ community should care:

  1.  Because we need to face the fact that situations like this happen to black members of the LGBTQ community regularly. Allowing that oppression makes us poor allies. It makes us just as responsible.
  2. Because there is no divide between LGBTQ issues and race issues when you are a queer/trans person of color.
  3. Because race, gender, and sexuality is not cause for victimizing people. It’s about holding each other accountable.
  4. Because to not care would equate to siding with the same oppression that would just as quickly deny our liberty and even for some, our humanity.
  5. Because as a marginalized community we do not have the moral leeway to ignore even a single example of injustice, lest we commit community suicide.
  6. Because, from Stonewall to now, we have demonstrated that within our community we have a collective power to change the lived experiences of our people. That power is not just reserved for the privileged, but entrusted to us to be used to liberate anyone who needs it.
  7. Because people are more willing to listen to white/cis voices rather than black/queer/trans voices. Those of us who are white and cisgender and dare I say male, have a moral obligation to use our privilege to change systems of oppression. To not do so, would be contributing to the further oppression of our own LGBTQ family.
  8. Because the messages being sent to our youth, black and/or gay, is that they don’t matter. What kind of future is that for any kid?
  9. Because Eric Garner, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Michael Brown, Roman Ducksworth Jr., Tanesha Anderson, Herbert Lee, Oscar Grant, Yvette Smith, Tarika Wilson, and John Crawford III were people. And people’s lives should matter to EVERYONE—even if those lives belong to black people.
  10. Because it is the right thing to do.

In our own liberation we gain the moral obligation to challenge and combat other systems of oppression, especially when those systems of oppression intersect with our own LGBTQ family. To sit by and do nothing, or to create shallow campaigns of solidarity without investment and true work in our community; To create tag lines and hash tags that never see themselves offline in real work and alliances; To show up for the sake of photo ops or co-opting online spaces masquerading your logo as solidarity, is the equivalent of community neglect and skates the lines of community suicide. We are better than that.

We are all paying attention. We see who is on the ground doing real work. We see who is giving lip service and we see who won’t take a stand for fear of ruffling their donor list.

This is our request for you to take a stand and then start to do real work in our community to help solve these issues. History has shown us the power of our collective voices. Being silent is no longer an acceptable option while hoping it is not noticed.

We need to know that you also deeply believe that #BlackLivesMatter. Equality is for our entire community and should be honored at all personal and community intersections.

 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Tagg Magazine.