How the activism of the Black LGBTQ community led to today’s LGBTQ movement
Often when we think of PRIDE, we think of celebration. The month of June is filled with parades, protests, and events held around the world, bringing together past and present advocates for equality and acceptance. While it may feel difficult or out of place to celebrate while so many are in pain across the country, it’s important to remind ourselves and honor that the LGBTQ rights movement began with protests led by Black members of the LGBTQ community.
During the 1960’s, police regularly raided gay bars, harassing and arresting patrons solely based on their sexuality. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn – a popular gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Patrons fought back against the brutality, and were led by Black LGBTQ people who put their lives on the line to stand up against prejudice, injustice, and police brutality. Riots and protesting continued for several days, becoming what is known as the Stonewall Uprising, and was the catalyst for the LGBTQ rights movement.
The current Black Lives Matter movement for equal rights, safety, and protection of Black people is a fight for all black people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Systemic racism and a long history of oppression and violence against Black people continues to result in discrimination, police brutality, and murder across the country. And the most recent inhumane murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery once again remind us that the fight for equal treatment for all is far from over.
To honor PRIDE, we encourage you to educate yourself on the history of the LGBTQ rights movement, to listen and honor the Black members of the LGBTQ community who fought for change, and to support the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations doing necessary and revolutionary work on the ground.
Below is a list of resources – from articles to films – to learn more about the history of LGBTQ rights, and the role of Black members of the community. Click here for a list of BIPOC-led organizations you can support right now.
- The Real History Behind The Stonewall Riot (Insider)
- Stonewall at 50: How the Iconic LGBTQ Institution Keeps the Spirit of ‘69 Alive Today (Vogue)
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Audre Lorde)
- We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation (Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown)
- Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems (Danez Smith)
- The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)
- L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin (Showtime)
- Paris is Burning (YouTube)
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin and Raoul Peck)
- Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community (iTunes)