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Till all of us are free, none of us are free: Recommending ‘studying’ on Juneteenth and Delight

Many instances in my life, I have been referred to as to pledge larger allegiance to my Blackness than my queerness, and vice versa. However there isn’t a chopping me up on this manner. As Audre Lorde said, “There is no such thing as a factor as a single-issue wrestle as a result of we don’t dwell single-issue lives.”

Bayard Rustin was one of the vital sensible organizers we have ever seen. He was the architect of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He was an in depth advisor to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was key to Dr. King’s nonviolent direct motion technique. He staged a direct motion to protest bus segregation lengthy earlier than the Montgomery boycott in 1955.

Bayard Rustin fought for the complete freedom of Black folks, but many individuals do not know his title as a result of he was homosexual.

Rustin was focused by police for his sexuality. He was arrested on a “morals cost” and later sentenced to 60 days in jail. He was additionally pressured to register as a intercourse offender. Although Rustin was constructing infrastructure for the Civil Rights Motion, he needed to do it from the sidelines for concern that his queerness—and the best way it made him a goal for police harassment—would tarnish the motion. Take a look at Brother Outsider to study extra.

It is usually mentioned that the primary Delight was a riot. It was an excellent week of protest and resistance. On the Stonewall Inn in 1969, a bunch of queers, drag queens, and in any other case gender-expansive folks determined sufficient is sufficient and fought again in opposition to the police who had been raiding (once more) their bar and brutalizing patrons simply because they had been homosexual.

As a lot is product of the Stonewall riots because the “starting” of the homosexual rights motion, fewer folks discuss concerning the queers at Stonewall being a vital level in our resistance to police profiling and brutality. The patrons of Stonewall Inn fought the cops so arduous that the police needed to name for assist. The podcast You are Improper About has an excellent episode concerning the layered implications of Stonewall, and speaks to the solidarity between Stonewall patrons and Black feminine inmates at a close-by facility.

The narrative round Stonewall usually marginalizes the Black and brown trans and gender nonconforming individuals who had been integral to that resistance. Sadly, the LGBTQ rights motion continued to erase trans folks for a lot of a long time.

My metropolis council member Andrea Jenkins usually reminds us in speeches and an excellent quantity of poetry, The T is Not Silent. We can not attempt to silence transgender folks, and that’s what we do once we push again on using singular they/them or neopronouns and make pedantic (incorrect) grammatical arguments. Now we have to be all in.  

The movie Boys Don’t Cry (1999) starring Hilary Swank performed a pivotal position in starting to unravel my transphobia. It’s based mostly on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was raped and murdered when folks discovered that he had been assigned feminine at delivery.

Not solely was I sickened by the abuse Brandon suffered for merely being a unique type of man, however I used to be additionally disgusted by how legislation enforcement refused to assist him as a result of the officers couldn’t get previous their very own bigotry about his gender. To this present day, cops dehumanize transgender folks and topic them to unspeakable brutality.

After viewing this movie, it turned clear to me that it didn’t matter what I did and didn’t perceive about transgender folks. It solely mattered to me that they received to be protected and that they received to dwell. My schooling was my very own duty, but it surely was additionally my duty to make sure life for trans folks, notably younger folks like Brandon Teena who’re below vicious assault by state governments proper now.

It’s possible you’ll discover a legislation enforcement theme in these reflections. That is as a result of I consider that the establishment of policing and the state-sanctioned violence that comes together with police is a stain on our nation that should be eradicated. Practically 40% of all people being held in a correctional facility are Black (we’re 13% of the whole inhabitants). The mass incarceration of Black folks continues the work of chattel slavery, retaining in bondage people who should be free. States are shifting to criminalize parents supporting their transgender kids to transition. Our nation weaponizes the “legislation” to regulate and marginalize folks relatively than to maintain us protected.

As a lot as folks wrestle to consider it, we’re able to accountability in our communities with out counting on police or mass incarceration. Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement paperwork efforts, successes, values, failures, and how-to (or at the least how-we-did) guides to transformative justice and neighborhood accountability.

The tales are by Black and brown folks, queer folks, survivors of intimate companion violence and sexual assault, intercourse staff, and individuals who dwell at varied intersections of all these identities. Black and brown and queer folks haven’t ever been protected round police or free from the looming risk of unfair detention. That has necessitated folks getting artistic and experimental about holding accountability in numerous methods, and with out prioritizing punishment as the tip purpose. Past Survival chronicles a small slice of this journey.

Juneteenth and Delight are each celebrations of me in my fullness, affirming my Black queer physique. However they’re additionally aspirational. These celebrations permit us to rejoice how far we have come, however ought to by no means allow us to relaxation straightforward within the delusion that the work is completed.

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