Question: Some have said “A lot of black folks are very upset that the LGBT rights issue is being compared to the civil rights of African Americans.” Is that true? How would you respond to that?
Darren’s Answer: It’s a mixed bag!
- Some black folk are upset because some white LGBT movement folk conflate the Civil Rights movement with their own while continuing to be oblivious to or ignore ongoing racial discrimination – especially within LGBT communities.
- Some black folks are upset because they are Cis gender and heterosexual and think black liberation is only for people who fall into both those categories. They routinely are antagonistic of black LGBT folk and will often blame them for issues in the black community. “White people are turning our sons and fathers gay to eliminate us!”
- Some people (black and otherwise) think the civil rights movement should never be touched. It was perfect and holy unto itself and to compare it to anything (including Black Lives Matter) is sacrilege.
- I say all justice work is interconnected in some way. There are valuable ways that the fight for racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights intersect. I speak often and highly of Bayard Rustin being both black and gay and needing needing the freedoms afforded by both movements but not fully embraced by either movement. I think it’s important to keep our lens intersectional so that we don’t co-opt the civil rights movement or erase the ways black LGBT+ people are still vulnerable, erased, or excluded.