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What it Means to be Black and LGBTQ+

Category: black history month, IOPC, Independent Office for Police Conduct, LGBTQ+, LGBTQ+ Ally, LGBTQ+ Inclusion, LGBTQ+ Champion, Black History, LGBTQ+ Community, LGBTQ+ Culture, Black Queer

LGBTQ+

Stonewall, Black History Month 2021

India Hosten-Hughes, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Stonewall said in 2021 that people in today’s society still think of black queer identities as being an oxymoron. She accepts that conversations around LGBTQ+ identities are still taboo in many black homes and communities which pressurises people to hide their identity.

India argues that the silence around LGBTQ+ identities within the Black community is a direct impact of slavery. After the abolition of slavery, formerly enslaved people faced an unemployment pandemic. In order to be accepted into a hostile society, Black people had to assimilate by being compliant, controlled and reserved. Through generations, black people have been taught not to be seen because otherwise you may become a target, as seen through the oppression of black people by law enforcement.

Black queer people face the challenge of dealing with discrimination on two fronts; racism and Homophobia/Transphobia which can make them particularly more vulnerable. India stated it’s difficult to find safe spaces because sometimes you feel like you are not black enough for black spaces and sometimes you feel like you are not queer enough for queer spaces. She has said that technology and being able to connect with different people enables her to find safe spaces and brings her joy. There is more black queer representation in the arts and media that is enabling the culture to thrive.

India stated the intersectionality of being black and queer is transcendent of normative and binary ideal and it is powerful.

D'antae Johnson, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Campus Ambassador said in 2019, “A common misconception people have about black queer people is that we must always be black first.” Perhaps that’s because colour is seen before sexuality is known. But both identities shape perspectives and experiences. It’s important to embrace your whole self.

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