How Gay Rights + Black Lives Matter Are Connected

June is here and with it typically comes rainbows, flags, and parades—an annual “loud and proud” celebration of freedom and equal rights. But this year, as it did in 1969, protests and riots are replacing normal Pride celebrations as nationwide people are standing up and saying “NO MORE” in an effort to unite against systemic racism and police brutality. As pride celebrations shift to protests that are a direct response to racial injustice and all forms of oppression, we took a look at how the LGBTQ+ community is connected and standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

The Turning Point: Stonewall Riots + Marsha P. Johnson

In the words of GLAAD “Black people are protesting to be seen, Black people are protesting to be heard, Black people are protesting to live, and above all, Black people are protesting for justice for those we lost before their time.” More than 50 years ago, the LGBTQ+ movement reached a pivotal turning point with the Stonewall Uprising. Six days of rioting, looting, and protests led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who stood up to systemic racism and bigotry and said, “No More.” These were Black LGBTQ+ protestors fighting to be heard, to be seen, and to also stand up to oppression, transphobia, police brutality, and discrimination of all kinds. Pride was, is, and will forever be, a protest and riot against police brutality led by Black members of the LGBTQ+ community.

 The Current Movement: All Black Lives Matter

Protection. Equal Rights. Safety. As the world stands up to systemic racism and discrimination, members of the Black LGBTQ+ community are standing in solidarity with the efforts of Black Lives Matter and the promise of a world free of anti-Blackness and where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive. The protection of Black people is the fight for all Black people which means members of the LGBTQ+ community are extending support to unite against oppression, police brutality, racism, and transphobia. Together they share the same right for freedom, justice, fair treatment, and the ability to live unapologetically without fear. Today, through organizations such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute whose mission is to “protect and defend the human rights of Black transgender people by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power,” it is clear that the two movements remain more connected as ever. 

How To Help: Improving the Lives of the Black LGBTQ+ Community

There are many ways you can do your part to change the current situation. From raising awareness to changing laws, here are just a few places you can go for more information, volunteer, or find other ways to promote equality and change:

Center for Black Equality

National Black Justice Coalition

LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Documentary)

GLAAD