Your Racism Won’t Let You See Me at Pride

Salomé Chimuku
Jun 25 · 3 min read

Pride month is here. Many have already had conversations about how pride is brought to us by trans women of color, who were sex workers, rioting against police brutality. Some don't go to pride because it's not highlighted enough. I've seen others discuss corporations and police in pride. Some argue that they should be welcomed, others saying they shouldn't due to how historically/currently those businesses or professions are wolves in sheep's clothing. Hopefully, you're not sick of conversations about pride because there's one left I want to talk about; blackness and how it intersects with pride.

For those who didn't know, or have never met me, I'm a bissexual black woman. The issue of being "seen" is hardly an issue for most people who identify as black, except when it comes to being LGBTQ. So the issue is not do you see me, but more how you see me? Unless you're very excessively butch or flaming, people assume you're straight. Often, along with that, assuming you're homophobic. This isn't whining; it's a fact. Despite frequenting gay bars, I'm often seen as "a straight girl" in a queer space. When in rooms or conferences and I step into LGBTQ caucuses, I get thanked for my "support as an ally". These encounters have even come with aggression at me "taking up space".

Now, the issue for me is, why can't you see me as queer at pride or other queer spaces? The answer: you're so busy seeing my blackness that your implicit (and explicit) racism won't allow you to. Which is a shame because let's be real; queer culture takes a lot of mannerisms, verbiage, and moves from black women. So why can't you see the one in front of you as a part of the community? You copy me and my sisters yet are quick to dismiss me, throw disapproving shade, or forget me entirely. Now the "you" is universal. Black people fall into the same trap. We see each other and unless there is a certainty, we assume each other as straight. People sometimes ask for my coming out story, but my "coming out" happens almost daily as I respond to someone's microaggression. I'm certain that even after writing this I'll have to "come out" to someone else.

To wrap this up, I wish you a happy, fun, and safe pride. There was a lot I didn’t touch on but I decided to keep this short and speak to what I know. My blackness seems to also blind others to my other identities (gender, disability, etc.) but that’s for another time. Focus your time on having fun during pride. Celebrate the queer community but also protect each other. Black trans lives matter, black queer lives matter, black lives matter year round.

County Democrat Reader

Of, by, and for Multnomah County Democrats

Salomé Chimuku

Written by

Young, black, queer, first generation, disabled activist/consultant/artist.

County Democrat Reader

Of, by, and for Multnomah County Democrats