It’s June 30th and this whole month has been jammed packed with the most powerful conversations and confrontations about Blackness in recent history. Trust and believe, that work is nowhere close to done. However, it did overshadow the attention Pride Month usually gets. If we talk about Blackness, then there is an utmost duty to pay homage to the LGBTQIA community. It’s time to prove to there is an awareness that being Black and queer are not separate entities: they are family.
So how do we do this you ask? Simple.
Step 1: Shhhh…..
Stop talking. Your feelings, thoughts, ideas, assumptions, beliefs, and projections can wait. It’s time to do some unfiltered listening. No different from our issues with White people when asking for respect, our job is to absorb information, not refute it.
Step 2: Ask The Man In The Mirror To Change His Ways
We all have biases of some sort. Indoctrination is real, and has come from every direction within our environments (family, school, religion, media, etc). Yet at some point, you are 100% responsible for entire perspective on the world. Many ugly truths exist within your consciousness, and only you can confront them. If you cannot simply answer a question about why your biases exist, your opinion isn’t as valuable as you think.
Step 3: Respect Boundaries
Be clear on the fact that no one owes you answers when describing their lifestyles. They are who they truly want to be; that’s all you actually need to know. There are multiple cultures within the Pride Collective, similar to the many within the Black Experience. There is no one-size-fits-all logic.
Each person has their own story to tell, and all they ask is that we respect those stories. Respect the history, the experiences, and the goals. You don’t need to understand something that was not made to accommodate your perspective. Rather acknowledge that it honestly doesn’t concern you instead.
Not sure how being trans works? Fine, but you do understand that space travel is possible, proving you acknowledge something can exist beyond your expertise AND respect that fact.
Unclear on how multiple genders can exist when you were only taught two? Cool, but you also live in a world filled with people of many races, a byproduct of evolution. All of whom adapted to the elements of life and expanded the notion of humanity.
The point here is to leave your need to compartmentalize information aside and fully accept the truth in front of you. These are human beings we speak of. They were not created to alter your reality; they are here to shape their own.
Step 4: Be Real
There’s is nothing quite as insulting as empty solidarity. Think of how many brands have all been reaching out to state they stand with Black Lives Matters since the protests, like the NFL. They spent nearly 4 years discrediting Colin Kapernick and ignoring social justice for the same reason BLM and the recent uprisings exist. Hilariously now though, there’s magical solidarity.
The same exists every June. When Pride Month rolls around, suddenly every company and government agency has a rainbow on their logo, and inclusion in their font. Yet, come July 1, crickets. Back to square one.
Let’s not do the same. The queer community are our friends, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so much more. They are trendsetters. Storytellers. Innovators. They deserve to receive our utmost sincerity and genuine care.
Take Omnom Chocolate for instance. Originally selling their limited edition Caramel bar to bring awareness to Pride Month, they ultimately decided to sell them year round in full support of the community. That’s unwavering allegiance, not conditional.
That’s the stance we as cis men need to adopt. Love and acceptance should not be on terms and conditions. Either you’re in or you’re not.
Moment of Truth
I wrote this piece because of a random FB moment with my godsister Quest that popped up today. I thought of her, my godbrother Cameron, members of my family, my wrestling fam Jo & Meredith, and the legions of friends I’ve made through the years.
This website (shout out to Eryka), the inclusive groups I’m apart of, and the personalities I encounter just by stepping outside. I sincerely believe my life would be lacking without these connections. I am not the person who knows best about this subject at all, but I will keep growing and show my gratitude. Pride Month or not, that sentiment will always stand.
Learning to live out your truth and become the person you desire to be, not what the world makes of you, is true bravery. As one reader, much is not being asked of you, other than to simply appreciate the humanity in those around you. Accept that life has so much to offer for us all. Be the support system for both those are coming into their own lane and those who own the damn thing.
You’re not going to become an expert on queer lives by watching Pose or reading the works of Sensali Bowen and Darnell Moore, but you will be enlightened. Baby steps turn into sprints in due time. Educate yourself through as many means possible. Gaining perspective is the key to happiness. There’s a rainbow for a reason.