Sunday, June 14, 2015

Boston LGBTQ Activists Of Color Protest Holds Up Pride Parade

Boston Pride Parade protestors and allies pose before the parade #WickedPissed  Photo: Boston Pride ResistanceBeen talking about the fact that far too often, the LGBTQ community in its public face and in the folks that get paychecks to be 'professionally gay' as demonstrated in the HRC internal report, are overwhelmingly white gay male  with an occasional white lesbian thrown in.

Bi and trans people?  Even rarer, and rarer still in those ranks are LGBTQ people of color.

In Boston, LGBTQ people of color got #WickedPissed about it and decided to do something to highlight and draw attention to the problem.

A dozen TBLGQ activists and our allies sat down at the corner of Boylston and Charles Streets in Downtown Boston yesterday and halted the 45th Boston Gay Pride Parade for 11 minutes.

The 11 minutes they chose to delay the parade was for the eleven trans people that have been murdered in the US in 2015.  A statement was also released prior to the sit in that noted the success of bringing same sex marriage to Massachusetts while failing to respond affirmatively to the murders of trans women of color.

Some of the early trans murders that got attention, like the Chanelle Pickett and Rita Hester cases, happened in the Boston area and involved trans women of color.  Hester's 1998 murder, which is still unsolved, was the catalyst for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"We are a group of Black, Latin@, Asian, and white people, queer and trans allies who are interrupting this annual party to declare that all our struggles are interconnected. We won’t wait for the advances of the most privileged of our community to trickle down to the rest of us. We live in a society that has declared war on Black people, women, immigrants, trans people, poor people, and—at the intersection of all that—trans women of color. It is the duty of the entire LGBTQ community to stand united and prove that all of our lives matter,” read part of the statement.

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The statement also made demands of Boston Pride to diversify its all white board (gee, that sounds familiar) adjust the parade route to include communities of color, adjust fees so smaller non-profits can march in the parade, and stop prioritizing corporations with a record of bringing harm to communities of color

Daunasia Yancey, Boston Black Lives Matter Leader, is interviewed at the protests.  Photo: TRT/Alex ManciniDemands were also made of the Boston LGBTQ community that called in the statement for more LGBTQ leaders of Color (including Transgender individuals of Color) in senior management positions at LGBTQ organizations, more resources to support LGBTQ organizations of Color, inclusion of transgender specific medical care in MassHealth and asked for an intentional efforts by the larger Boston community to acknowledge and do more to respond to racism in the city.

Will there be progress in Boston as a result of this protest?   That remains to be seen, given the historical anti-trans attitudes that arre embedded in elements of the local LGBT community.  

Some of the most notorious TERF's in Janice Raymond and Elizabeth Hungerford call Massachusetts home, and a bill to fix the unjust trans rights law that didn't include public accommodations when it passed in July 2012 is mired in the state legislature.

So it remains to be seen if the protest manifests itself into real gains for the trans community of color in Massachusetts.

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