February 13, 2023
As a person of color and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, there is an immense amount of strength and resilience that comes with being both. Despite the challenges, black queer individuals throughout history have made major strides in pushing for acceptance, safety, and recognition. Let’s take a look at some of these influential figures and how they’ve helped shape our world today.
Bayard Rustin was an openly gay civil rights activist who organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom alongside Martin Luther King Jr. He was an advocate of nonviolence who worked to end segregation in public schools and fought for equal rights in public transportation. His activism set the stage for many of the social justice movements we see today.
Marsha P. Johnson was an advocate for transgender rights and AIDS awareness during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. As a self-identified drag queen, she pushed back against police brutality against members of the LGBTQ+ community while also caring for those living with HIV/AIDS often without any access to adequate medical care or support systems. She is most well known for being one of the main instigators behind the Stonewall Riots in 1969 which kickstarted the modern-day fight for LGBTQ+ rights around the country.
Audre Lorde was an American writer, poet, civil rights activist, and feminist who wrote extensively about her experiences as a black lesbian throughout her career. Her work focused heavily on intersectionality—the idea that overlapping identities play a role in how people experience oppression—and is still used as reference material today to understand how multiple identities can be discriminatory when taken together into account.
These are just three examples out of countless black queer individuals who have had such a profound impact on our society today—proving that together we can create change even when faced with discrimination or injustice. We must continue to celebrate their legacy by fighting against racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, fatphobia, sexism, and more within our communities so that we may honor their memory and continue their work toward real equity and liberation for all marginalized groups everywhere. Show your support in the comments below.