This is originally from an entry on my Medium blog
Another round of Pride Parades took place this weekend, including one in Toronto. This one, in particular, has made some waves due to a protest that was held by the Toronto Chapter of Black Lives Matter. Their motivations behind said protest were outlined in a list of demands.
Similarly to other Pride protests — including “BlackOut Pride,” which took place here in Chicago, last year — the response to this has, predictably, been mixed and polarized. While many (myself, included) support the actions of BLMTO, many others are pulling out the predictable rhetoric of it not being the right time, or they could’ve asked more nicely, or (my favorite) it was “too divisive.”
For those who fall into the latter camp, I just wanna remind you of a few things:
- In case you’ve forgotten, Pride hasn’t always been a PR vehicle for corporations. It literally started out of protest, and in its earlier days, was a major opportunity for activism. Given Pride’s history, let’s stop pretending like protesting LGBTQ issues within a parade is even remotely out of character for the event.
- Also, in case you’ve forgotten, not all LGBTQ experiences are equal. There are various identities and experiences that intersect with being queer and/or trans…race is one of them. We can’t look at LGBTQ issues, just through the lens of a white, gay man. As Black, Queer/Trans people, we come with our own additional issues—many of which, perpetuated within the LGBTQ scene, itself — that deserve attention. And where the greater community fails to give those issues attention (which it absolutely has failed at…practically since the day after the Stonewall uprising ended), the more the marginalized among us have to force their way in to make more space for everyone.
- I don’t wanna think of where the LGBTQ community would be, today, if not for Black activism (Black Trans/Queer activism, especially)…and you don’t, either. Put some respeck on our name.
Long story short, if you have a problem with the action that Black Lives Matter: Toronto took at the Pride parade, I’d suggest that you kindly take several seats, shut the entire fuck up, and learn your history.