As thousands of people marched in support of Pride and racial justice worldwide this weekend, many protesters called for an end to racism that is often overlooked within the LGBT + community.
Pride events to celebrate LGBT + rights take place around the world throughout June, though most were canceled or moved online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the rise of injustice protests Racial sparked a series of live events.
Studies show that LGBT + people of color are more prone to violence and poverty. And a 2018 Stonewall / YouGov survey also found that more than half of Black, Asian, and other British LGBT + minorities had suffered discrimination by members of their own community.
“It’s still definitely pretty prevalent,” said Kwamina Theo Amihyia, joining a Black Trans Lives Matter march in London.
“As far as we have come, much of the progress has been for white (LGBT +) community members and we are still viewed almost as second-class citizens.”
Racial inequalities around the world have come under the microscope after the death of George Floyd, 46, in police custody in the United States on May 25.
Many LGBT + groups released statements in support of the protests after Floyd’s death, pointing to the radical origins of the LGBT + rights movement at the Stonewall Inn in New York 51 years ago that emerged to combat police brutality.
“As a strange person, I am faced with racism from the queer community, and it is time for us to get rid of it,” said Patrick King as he marched along one of central London’s main thoroughfares with car horns. The London Black Lives Matter March was one of several events planned this weekend to support Black Lives Matter.
With the debate on systemic racism also affecting LGBT + companies this month, gay dating apps Grindr and Scruff removed ethnic filters in response to protests for racial justice.
College student Donald Arrington, 19, who was due to participate in an informal Pride march in Los Angeles on Sunday, said he had been turned down on LGBT + dating apps because he was black.
“It’s always, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, you’re handsome, but unfortunately, I don’t date black guys,'” Arrington said,
On Sunday, thousands of people are expected to attend the New York Queer Liberation March, an event that moved online due to the coronavirus, but then returned to the streets after protests against police brutality and racism after Floyd’s death.
“There must be an element of people on the streets and popular revolt and outrage,” said Natalie James, co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which organizes the march. “There is really no substitute for it.”
But Ed Brockenbrough, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said the Pride organizations’ move to embrace Black Lives Matter issues didn’t go far enough to tackle racism in the LGBT + community.
“Activism in black and brown queer communities has been going on for a long time without full acceptance by white guardians of queer resources,” said Brockenbrough, whose research focuses on the challenges of LGBT + people of color.
For Ted Brown, a veteran of the British Gay Liberation Front (GLF) who was marching in London on Saturday, he hasn’t changed enough since he came on the “scene” in the 1970s.
“[Racism] it is still an issue within the LGBT + community, ”Brown said as banners and banners spread around him.
“If you look around here, for example, I am one of the few black people here … The LGBT + community needs to see itself and discover how they can become more diverse.”