As a Hispanic, bisexual man, intersectionality is something I emphasize. I’m vocal on my stances on immigration, police brutality, and healthcare. I’ve made it clear at this point that I am left-leaning, however, I don’t necessarily hate someone based on whom they chose to vote for. After years of studying human behavior, I try to refrain from getting mad at people for what they do, as I try to make an effort to understand why people do what they do. For example, if someone voted for Trump, I don’t necessarily think that they’re racist, but they may have family in the military and believe a republican cabinet would have their best interest in mind. Maybe I’m naive, maybe my weak heart won’t allow me to be bitter toward them, I don’t know. However, given the current political climate, it is important to be stay politically active and be vocal about issues that matter.
I’m an ethnic minority, therefore, I support other people of color when their communities are facing difficulty, and I celebrate their victories.
I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community, therefore I support other members and celebrate our victories.
My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, whether they did so legally or not (I try to avoid asking my parents), I will always be supportive of those who want to come to the U.S. as a means of creating a better life for themselves.
Our immigration system is in desperate need of reform. Some people wait years, only to simply be granted residency status and not even full citizenship.
With that being said, it was rather disheartening to see a large portion (not all, but a lot) of my white LGBTQ+ friends remain silent during the weekend “President” Trump called for a ban on people from seven specific countries from entering the U.S.
However, these same people were quick to express their devastation following the Orlando nightclub shooting and also put that rainbow filter on their Facebook photos when the supreme court announced their decision for same-sex marriage to be legal in all 50 states.
Between those two events and now, a lot of tragedies have struck marginalized groups in the U.S.
While white members of the LGBTQ+ aren’t necessarily the cause of these tragedies, their silence on these issues is problematic. Especially because mainstream gay culture is almost completely inspired by black culture.
Contrary to popular belief, words and phrases like “YAS” or “shook” or “throwing shade” did not originate from drag queens, or even within the LGBTQ+ community. They originated in the black community and were used in hip-hop lyrics long before white people started embroidering them on and selling them on Etsy.
I still remember the first time I heard the word “shook.” I was around 7 or 8 years old, and I heard Missy Elliot say “We got the radio shook like we got a gun” in her hit song “Get Ur Freak On.”
I also heard Lil Kim say “whisper in your ear and have you all shook up” in her 1997 song, “Crush on You,” as well as the line “I’m throw shade if I can’t get paid.”
The fact is, black people have been using these colloquialisms long before the LGBTQ+ community popularized them. So to me, it seems unfair for them to pick and choose which parts of black culture they want to incorporate into their everyday lives while being silent on the issues black people face.
For example, this past summer, they were quick to express devastation over the Orlando nightclub shooting, however, a large portion of white LGBTQ+ people were silent after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile took place weeks later.
People of color arguably face more discrimination in the U.S. than the LGBTQ+ community.
I know the above statement may not sit well with queer community, but think about this; No one ever has to put their sexual orientation on their resumes or job applications. An employee may not ever know that you’re queer unless you flat-out vocalize it.
One does, however, have to put their legal name on job applications. If someone’s name is “ethnic sounding,” their resume and application are more likely to be passed up, even if their qualifications match those of their white counterparts.
The reason I emphasize intersectionality is because while members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle, other marginalized groups struggle just as much, if not more.
For me, it doesn’t seem fair to listen to hip-hop music, enjoy shows with a primarily black cast, and be silent while the community of people who created and influenced these forms of entertainment are struggling.
It also isn’t fair to wash my face with tea tree oil, or pack hummus and naan bread for lunch and be silent while people from the countries in which those things were discovered and created are denied entry into the U.S.
With many under distress due to the current political climate, it is important to acknowledge that multiple marginalized groups exist within the nation. So yes, acknowledge the struggles your group faces and celebrate your group’s victories, but don’t overlook those of other marginalized groups.