For those in the queer community or any other marginalized group that believe that their siding with white supremacy will save them: it will not.
It’s no secret that true equality for marginalized groups is still long from being accomplished in full. Intersectionality and it co-option has led to further division from its original purpose – to uplift and center the experiences of Black women and femmes. But how far do we have to go when the queer community, in particular, shows that the valuing of Black lives within the queer community is still, largely, not accepted.
Lavender Magazine is Minnesota’s most notable LGBT biweekly paper. Bringing a mix of news, culture, and nightlife writing, Lavender Magazine is one of the few spaces that allows queer culture to exist front and center. So last month, the biweekly got in hot water with readers after choosing to put two white police officers on the cover of their Pride Issue. This came shortly after the news of Philando Castile’s murderer being acquitted.
The choice to put cops on the cover of the Pride Issue is not just a choice done in bad taste, but one that firmly roots Lavender Magazine with a clear stance: Black lives, even queer ones, do not trump white supremacy within the LGBT+ community. This isn’t the first time that Lavender Magazine was called out for being problematic, last year readers launched a petition to demand an apology from the magazine for their consistent whitewashing and anti-Islam bias. For QPOC, this comes as no surprise – we have long known that queerness has always been synonymous with whiteness, and any expression to push that definition beyond that is met with racism and dismay.
Lavender Magazine’s choice in issue covers continues the long tradition of upholding white supremacy within marginalized groups. Because no matter how marginalized a person is, if they are white, their proximity to white supremacy can still position them with privilege and the ability to oppress.
So many white members of the queer community falsely believe that their queerness somehow negates their whiteness, when in fact, that’s not true. As there has been a further push for racial equality, there has been more outgoing support from members of the queer community to keep the current system of white supremacy intact. At the 2016 Pride Parade in Toronto, when the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter stopped the parade for twenty minutes, calling for a moment of silence to recognize those in the Black community that have been murdered by white supremacy or police brutality, there was an outpouring of support to reject this proposal. At this year’s Pride Parade, when Black and other activists of color were arrested, white attendees erupted in cheers for the police.
The resistance to integrating movements like Black Lives Matter into the queer community at large is also an intentional move to further divide race and sexual identity. What message does it send when QPOC are routinely forced to choose between their sexuality, gender, and race – even when all of these things are integrated into our identities in varied ways and help us to understand the world from our perspectives? The continued erasure of the significance that BIPOC have contributed to the queer movement further whitewashes the community that we are an active and vital part of.
That is white supremacy at work.
There would be no Black Lives Matter movement without queer Black women. There would be no queer rights activism without the bravery and contributions of trans BIPOC. At every important turn within queer history and activism, BIPOC have been front and center at creating change. So to not only erase us from the movements that we have created and then follow that with the siding of our oppressors, who exactly is the victor here?
When white supremacy is upheld, no one wins. For those in the queer community or any other marginalized group that believe that their siding with white supremacy will save them: it will not. Racism and anti-Blackness have no place in the queer community, and actions that say otherwise are a further move to side with white fragility and continue the tradition of keeping BIPOC oppressed and pushed to the margins of society. And that is unacceptable.
BIPOC in the queer community deserve so much better than this.