No Pride Without Black Lives Matter
25 Queer BIPOC-Led Organizations to Support
This year, we stepped into pride month with smoke still in the air from the riots over more senseless deaths of people whose lives mattered. It would be a mistake for white people like me to put on our rainbows and glittery unicorn horns without acknowledging that Pride began as a riot, led by Black and Latinx trans women+.
As a nation, we have a pretty terrible track record at learning from our history. We also have a tendency to create wildly distorted holidays that celebrate the freedoms of white people at the expense of others. (See Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.) We cannot let Pride become another distorted white holiday.
We cannot forget who fought for our freedom, and we cannot forget that there are still freedoms to fight for. LGBTQIA liberation and Black liberation have always been intertwined. And in this moment, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge how the movement began — on the shoulders of our Black and brown transcestors.
In June of 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Fed up with the incessant police violence, hundreds of people fought back. For three nights, queer folks rioted, throwing bricks and bottles as they battled police. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black “street queen,” and Sylvia Rivera, a Latinx activist known as “the Rosa Parks of the transgender movement,” were two of the leaders in the riots, who said, “We weren’t afraid to get our heads bashed in.” Together, they co-founded the LGBTQIA advocacy organization S.T.A.R., working to create safe spaces where people could live without fear.
One year later, the first Pride Parade was born with marches and demonstrations in cities across the country. But more than 50 years later, Pride looks nothing like those early marches against injustice. Pride has become a nationwide celebration, filled with parades and corporate sponsors like…Thanksgiving. As Pride’s popularity and queer acceptance has grown in mainstream society, so too has the privileging of white gay men.
We cannot forget that we have the freedom to wear rainbows and dance with the person we love because trans people of color fought for us. We need to fight for them.
African-Americans in the LGBTQIA community are 1.3 times more likely to experience police violence. Black transgender women+ have the highest levels of fatal violence and are the most murdered group within the LGBTQIA community. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were not only targeted because they were trans, they were targeted because of their skin. At a time when being any one of those identities could land you in jail or in the morgue, they kept fighting. That is why our movement must center trans women+ of color.
Just because the queer community is also marginalized does not mean that we do not hold racism and have work to do. There can be no Pride without also fighting anti-Blackness and recommitting our movement to the struggle against racism everywhere. We are not free until everyone is free.
We can honor the memories of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera by showing up for the Black community as they have always shown up for us. We can link arms with Black Lives Matter, and we can support the queer BIPOC-led organizations who are building our future.
Here’s a list of 25 LGBTQIA organizations in the U.S. led by people of color — particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and Transgender — that we should all support. This is the way forward. You know what to do.
25 Queer BIPOC Organizations to Support:
- Anti-Violence Project (AVP) https://avp.org
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice www.astraeafoundation.org
- Audre Lorde Project (ALP) https://alp.org
- Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits https://www.baaits.org
- Black and Pink https://www.blackandpink.org
- Black and Queer Fund https://bqic.net
- Black Lives Matter https://blacklivesmatter.com
- Black Visions Collective https://www.blackvisionsmn.org
- Emergency Release Fund https://emergencyreleasefund.com
- Freedom Fund https://www.lgbtqfund.org
- Incite! https://incite-national.org
- Marsha P. Johnson Institute https://marshap.org
- Native Justice www.nativejustice.org
- No Justice No Pride https://www.nojusticenopride.org
- Peacock Rebellion https://www.peacockrebellion.org
- Queer Detainee Empowerment Project http://www.qdep.org
- Solutions Not Punishment https://www.snap4freedom.org
- Southerners on New Ground https://southernersonnewground.org
- SPARK Reproductive Justice http://www.sparkrj.org
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project https://srlp.org
- Third Wave Fund http://www.thirdwavefund.org
- Trans Latin@ Coalition https://www.translatinacoalition.org
- Transgender Law Center (Black LGBTQIA + Migrant Project) https://transgenderlawcenter.org/programs/blmp
- Trans Queer Liberation Movement https://familiatqlm.org
- Trans Women of Color Collective https://www.twocc.us
If there are other queer BIPOC-led organizations you know and love, please let me know. I would love to keep adding to this list.