Often, we think of Gay Pride & we simply think of a time of partying and parades.

While that is very true, we must not forget the history of what led to this celebration.

Pride started from a riot.

A riot against police.

A riot against police co-led by a Black Trans woman named Marsha P Johnson.

The riot at Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village started in the early morning on June 28,1969 and was a result of a police raid that turned violent.  

That riot essentially turned into an uprising lasting 6 days.

A year later, on, June 28,1970 the first gay parades occurred in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

This history matters because the Stonewall uprising birthed the LGBTQI movement and PRIDE as we now know it today.

Now, to be transparent, personally, I don’t need validation, affirmation, and acceptance from the cis-hetero community around my sexual identity.  

Just like I don’t need validation, affirmation, and acceptance from white folk around my Blackness.

However, I, recognize that while freedom may be present in this self-acceptance and assurance so is the presence of potential danger and isolation as well.

I recognize how that potential danger impacts the existence and livelihood of the Queer community—specifically Black Queer & Trans folx daily.

So, while it’s cute for June to be to Gay folx what February is to Black folx -a celebration of our history, achievements, contributions, and existence, none of that matters if it is just a month.  

Pride doesn’t matter if all you are doing is being performative.

If your company has found a million and one ways to monetize & capitalize off PRIDE while simultaneously Queer & Trans folx are more heavily involved in sex work due to workplace discrimination.  

Are more subjected to experience discrimination at sickening proportions in housing which often leads to homelessness or unsafe living conditions AND are more subjected to experience communal and state sanctioned violence.

I also must not be remiss in stating that these experiences are higher amongst Queer and Trans folx of Color than our white counterparts.

You can’t say you support us or Pride but in your next breath say “as long as I don’t see it” or speak about a “gay agenda” or that it’s being “forced down your throat” because Queer and Trans folx are visible on TV and in entertainment.

We exist IN the real world.

We exist beyond our closets that so many of you want us to stay in.

We exist beyond your stereotypes and stigmas.

We aren’t here for you to fetishize or tokenize.

Pride is literally about coming out & being seen.  

Seen as your true & whole self and not having to worry about your safety nor your freedom.

Just like Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Riveria and countless other Queer folx fought and marched for all those decades ago.

Isn’t that what every human desires & deserves?

Kristian Blackmon
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