In June many acknowledge Pride to celebrate the equity, inclusion and increased visibility of the LGBTQIA+ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual—community nationally and internationally. As a queer identified woman, I consider myself to be a part of LGBTQIA+ community. Pride has been a time for many to gather in solidarity with a community of people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities. For me personally, Pride month celebrations have included attending parades, gathering with loved ones, and finding solidarity in activism with others within the community. This year, celebrating looks different.
Since coming out about ten years ago, I have learned about many voices that are often overlooked in the story of the “Gay Rights Movement” in the 1970s. Activist, Black transgender—self-identified drag queen—Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson was one of those voices. Marsha P. Johnson’s advocacy work amplified voices and experiences of discrimination and violence of Black, POCI transgender folks that were being marginalized within the movement. Today, many of the issues that transgender and gender non-conforming folks protested against at the Stonewall Inn 51 years ago continue.
Recently, artist Maiya Lea Hartman, painted one of their first murals at the Friendship store calling for justice for Tony McDade. “Black Trans Lives Matter” is painted under the portrait of Tony McDade, which calls attention to the disproportionate number of Black trans people murdered and many of whom do not receive the justice that they deserve.
Pride to me has been a celebration of our existence and resiliency, and serves as a time to reflect on progress made and the work that has yet to be done to liberate us all. In part of this work, as a non-Black cisgender Latina, I continue to educate myself and take action to advocate on issues impacting Black transgender and gender non-conforming people, and amplify their voices. Today I reflect on the words of Marsha P. Johnson, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” Marsha P. Johnson’s ring words ring true to this day as we mark the 50th anniversary of Pride celebrations in the United States. Her words serve as a reminder to me and many others true liberation for the LGBTQIA+ community is not possible without the liberation for the liberation of Black transgender and gender non-conforming folks in our community.