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What Marsha P. Johnson taught me about Gay Black Privilege

As of late, I’ve been spending countless amounts of hours reblogging, sharing and reading some of the dumb white shit that’s been happening across the world, not just being an activist for the #BlackLivesMatter movement but also a Queer rights activist.

We’ve seen America rear its ugly head since the president-elect and have seen a catastrophic amount of dumb white shit come out of office. Yesterday was the first time I was able to sit down and watch new Netflix documentary “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”. A forgotten figure of the gay rights movement who was said to have committed suicide in 1992, after her body was discovered by the Hudson River, Directed by David France. (Stream here)

The real question that popped up into my mind while taking in all this information, “Am I apart of the Trans/Drag hypocrisy”?. As a black gay man we are not just faced with white privilege, colour marginalisation and sexualisation within an already targeted minority but really was I a minority within a minority not taking witness to the problem?

I wanted to say, ‘I’m respectful to everybody’, I believe in love is love and all that, but was me saying ‘That’s not me, but I respect whoever did it” just fueling the fire of separating the “socially accepted” gay male apart from our Trans and Drag counterparts. I’ve never looked at myself as a privileged and I think within such turmoil times it’s sometimes so easy to get caught up in your issue and not seeing the whole problem. As a gay man, I need to acknowledge I am a privileged.

What Marsha P. Johnson’s life did teach me is Queer is Queer whether that be a Drag, Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Transgender or where ever on the gender spectrum you sit.  Whether we want to accept it or not, whether our journey of coming out has been hard or our families and friends have accepted us with open arms, we must address the stigmas, and separations we put on ourselves within our own community. We have chosen to ignore large groups of people within our own walls and we must create our own PRIDE and let all LBTQ+ members feel apart of the family.

Yes, some of you gay black men might be reading this and go ‘you’re black and gay, there is no privilege’ and that I say you’re 50% right. Society is no way passed white privilege and breaking down systematical racism but when it comes to putting down other LGBTQ+ people’s experiences, we are sometimes the first to not relate or separate ourselves from others experiences.

‘WE MUST STAND TOGETHER.’not just to dismantle the racism our society has been built upon but realise homophobia and bigotry cannot exist within our own communities to all Trans, Queens, Bi-sexuals, and lesbians.

So to all Trans, Queens, Bi-sexuals, lesbians I apologise for my naivety and look to seek real equality. As if we don’t who will fight for us.


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