Racial Justice is the Key to LGBTQ+ Liberation

by HRC Staff

Adam Carey (they/them), HRC Senior Manager, Executive Communications

This year for Black History Month, we owe it to Black communities across the country, past and present, to focus on this moment. Right now, we must ask ourselves a few crucial questions: What can we do to make tomorrow a better day for Black people in the United States? What can we do to ensure that young Black, LGBTQ+ people thrive in the years to come?

The answer to these questions doesn't exist in our history books -- it is an answer that lives with each of us.

We've seen the visions of civil rights leaders take shape in victories across our history. We've also seen these victories overturned. But it is with unending thanks to these brave trailblazers that we can live in a present where Black queer people can imagine a future full of Black joy and thriving, not just survival and resilience. But how do we bring those imaginations into reality? How do we actually strive to create equity? How do we directly address the ways in which our world is not equitable for Black LGBTQ+ people?

At HRC, we do this by focusing on the successes of Black LGBTQ+ people at our HBCUs in the United States. We do this by uplifting our community and coalition partners in their efforts to make this world more just for Black queer people.

We do this by committing to do research showing exactly how Black LGBTQ+ people have been affected by the health crises of the 80s, the 90s and today.

We are working every day to make the world a more just and equitable place for everyone, including those Black queer people who must dig deep into history to find generations of representation. We are committed to bringing these injustices that exist in all forms across our country to the light so that we can directly address them and eradicate them for a brighter future.

This month, and every month, we must stand together in coalition with our racial justice-focused community leaders, the leaders of yester-year, of today, and of the bright and just future – and protect our Black and Brown youth. This month, and every month, we must live into the truth that achieving racial justice is not a step on our path to LGBTQ+ liberation -- it is the only way forward.

Black people have never been able to thrive while they struggle to survive. We are living in a global pandemic turning into an endemic. And Black people, including and especially Black LGBTQ+ people, continue to be disproportionately impacted across areas of life. At the same time, Black trans people, particularly Black trans women, face unprecedented levels of violence.

We know now that true equity looks like prioritizing the most marginalized in our efforts. This means Black people. This means people from communities of color. This means LGBTQ+ people. This means transgender people. This means non-binary people. This means people who live at the intersections of all of these marginalized identities.

We must lift each other up, and we must protect one another. This February, and for every month moving forward, we must prioritize equity in our work for LGBTQ+ equality.

The question that this moment demands of us is this: What can we do to ensure that young Black, LGBTQ+ people thrive in the years to come? It is a question that is on each of us -- however we identify, whatever our background -- to urgently answer, and to never lose sight of.

Young Black, LGBTQ+ people deserve to write a new page in our history books full of Black success and Black joy – a joy that shapes the narrative of our beautiful rainbow future.