AfroLez: “Reflecting Upon My Twenty-One Years Of Pride”

Trigger warning for rape, heterosexist/misogynist violence.

NewBlackMan has a moving essay by Aishah Shahidah Simmons, aka AfroLez, on how she came to terms with her sexuality and why she’s vocal about her identity as a black lesbian. The conclusion includes a powerful reminder of how much progress has yet to be made towards equality, even with the most recent gain of marriage equality in New York state. We still have work to do to make sure queer and trans people of color, low income queer and trans people, and others also achieve equality:

There’s marriage equality for all in NY, and yet for so many of us who are Queer identified, we’re still not safe and protected. I believe EVERYONE, regardless of their sexual orientation, who wants to get married, should have the right to get married. At the same time, I don’t want to have to get married to have rights and privileges, which should be made available to everyone, regardless of their marital status.I celebrate this Marriage Equality victory while not losing sight that the battle is SO far from being over that it’s not even funny.

Just ask my Black Lesbian sisters (The New York Four) who are (unjustly and inhumanely) incarcerated for protecting themselves against sexist and homophobic violence perpetuated against them in the (safe, White) queer friendly Village… You can read Imani Henry’s poignant 2007 essay.

This is one of many countless examples of the ongoing assaults on Queer people of Color throughout NY and across the country… Just ask or check in with The Audre Lorde Project or Queers for Economic Justice, to name two radical and revolutionary NY-based Queer organizations. Also the recently released Queer (In)Justice The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock is groundbreaking, sobering, and a must read (Queer Injustice).

Read the whole post at NewBlackMan. Trigger warning for rape, heterosexist/misogynist violence.
Photo credit: Julie Yarbrough, ht NewBlackMan.

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