The following post, part of HRC's Black History Month series, comes from Kimberley McLeod:
Black History Month means nothing and everything to me all at once. I’m fortunate that because of my work as an advocate and editor-in-chief of ELIXHER, a publication dedicated to black lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, I regularly get to relish in not only our rich history as black LGBT people but also be surrounded by black brilliance that represents history in the making.
There is rarely a day that goes by where homage isn’t paid to warrior poet Audre Lorde or someone isn’t channeling masterful march organizer Bayard Rustin on their Facebook feed. I get to celebrate our legacy every day. It doesn’t take much intentionality or a mapped out strategy of how I want to commemorate the month of February.
But as I take the time to pause, honestly reflect on and even shape what I want this month to mean this year, I think about the acts of resistance and greatness that will indeed influence the course of our country’s history. Yet they go largely unnoted.
A young, black trans woman somewhere woke up today and kept living her truth.
A community wraps their arms around a man who is bullied and bashed because of his gender expression.
One Sunday afternoon, a pastor of a not-so-affirming congregation chooses to preach love for everyone.
A family of two moms proudly takes their son to school.
We may never know the names of these individuals on the grand scale we see “top 10” lists or slideshows acknowledge trailblazers like out basketball player John Amaechi and lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes, but these extraordinary women, men, girls, and boys are rewriting truths Black LGBT people have been told for too long.
“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive,” they’re silently chanting when they hold their heads high—conjuring the memory of Lorde.
“My very act of resistance confers dignity on to me,” they’re saying when they walk in their authenticity—standing on the shoulders of forefathers like Rustin.
They’re making history as well. And this Black History Month, I choose to honor them, too.
Kimberley McLeod is a media strategist and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocate. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of ELIXHER, an award-winning blog and magazine for black LGBT women. Follow her on Twitter @KimKMcLeod.