It’s late Monday morning and I am still recovering from the two-mile trek that is the Atlanta Pride Parade. Everything hurts and itches but I feel spiritually fed and I’m already thinking of ideas for 2015. My relationship with contemporary LGBTQ* activism is complicated. Marriage equality is making strides with 30 states and counting, the latest being Alaska, legalizing unions or in the process of doing so. Every day, I hear news of progression and that is nice but still, I feel ambivalence. I’ve written about this before but with us being so close to having marriage equality cover the country, I can’t help but wonder what will happen when this goal is accomplished. The media and mainstream LGBTQ* organizations position this to be the end-all as if marriage is the magic wand that will fix everything. When they’re not doing that, they promote marriage as the vehicle for trickle-down liberation that will fix everything else that affects queer people and we know how well trickle-down anything works. It worries the hell out of me.
Everyone isn’t able to jump in a car and hop a plane to go get married because some of us can’t afford a car or plane ticket. Even if I could make it to a state where it is legal, as my roomies said yesterday, my black ass would still be broke. We can say it gets better but there are kids that are getting kicked out, beaten, killed and killing themselves and will continue to do so unless we do something besides providing lip service. Representation matters but it won’t give them shelter or food to eat. Representation hasn’t protected transwomen of color from being murdered and jailed when they’re actually able to defend themselves. Janet Mock and Laverne Cox are celebrated but sometimes, I wonder if people are actually listening to them. Did people actually listen when Laverne described feeling suicidal because of bullying. How many people read Redefining Realness and realized that story mirrors those of scores of young transwomen across the country. It may seem like I’m rambling but I’m willing to sacrifice eloquence if people are willing to listen and act.
Pride is a great concept and it comes from a storied history. The first gay pride wasn’t a party or corporate sponsored parade. It was an uprising against heterosexism and transphobia. We don’t have to take the fun out of Pride but we need to bring some of that spirit back. We need to make space for people who may not palatable to heteronormativity. We also need to make sure spaces like the Dyke and Trans marches are actually for ALL dykes and ALL trans people. People of color and non-binary folks should be able to enter these spaces and feel comfortable. I’m all about people of color creating their own spaces but having to do so ALL THE TIME gets exhausting. I’m still washing 2014’s glitter off of me but I’m looking at 2015. We’ve got work to do and I’m ready to get my hands dirty. Are you?