Pride Month and the Black Lives Matter movement are not mutually exclusive.
Contrary to the ever-hateful Kaitlin Bennett’s opinion, the #BLM protests do not cancel out the calls for awareness and equality by the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, the solidarity between the two movements has been a glimmer of hope and love in otherwise harrowing times.
Bennett, otherwise known as “gun girl,” referencing her senior pictures in which she posed with an AR-10 rifle on her college campus, is known for posting right-wing opinions on her social media. Near the beginning of June, Kaitlin Bennett celebrated the ‘cancellation’ of Pride Month on Twitter.
The one good thing about these protests is that they've effectively canceled pride month 🌈
— Kaitlin Bennett (@KaitMarieox) June 5, 2020
She remarks that the only good thing about the Black Lives Matter movement is that Pride has essentially been canceled. Commenters wrote hateful remarks towards the LGBTQ+ community, fueled by Kaitlin Bennet’s words.
Kaitlin Bennett could not have been more wrong when she assumed that the Black Lives Matter movement meant that Pride Month wouldn’t be celebrated.
The first pride parade happened as an act of solidarity towards trans women who advocated for LGBTQ+ rights in the ’60s during the Stonewall uprising. One woman, Marsha P. Johnson, was prominent in the uprising after a police raid occurred at Stonewall Inn, which to this day, remains a gay bar in New York City.
Marsha P. Johnson, a black drag queen, was the face of the Stonewall movement and is known for her advocacy for gay rights. There is now a Marsha P. Johnson Institute which provides support for people who are black and trans.
Pride started because police had been violent with people of color in a gay bar. Celebrating Pride, albeit virtually, during the Black Lives Matter protests are two massive movements coming full circle. They are deeply connected at their roots and we won’t let Kaitlin Bennett tell us otherwise.
Both movements are calling for change, and it says something about the systemic issues of the country that we’re still fighting for the same rights that we were in the ’60s.
— Jason Rosenberg (@mynameisjro) June 14, 2020
There are worldwide virtual events scheduled to celebrate Pride Month in the middle of the pandemic. Using Pride to celebrate not only a month dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community but also to make sure that Black lives are being fought for, shows the love and respect that is shared between the two movements.
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Further confirming that Black Lives Matter and Pride share history and goals, both communities face high rates of police brutality and violence. Black transgender people face even higher rates of state and community violence and have been killed, misgendered, and deadnamed in media reports.
In support of black transgender people lost to such violence, on Sunday, June 14th, thousands of people gathered in front of the Brooklyn Museum in New York. The protestors all wore white shirts and mourned the loss of black trans people who have been killed in the past couple of months.
From a fire escape across the street pic.twitter.com/pTZ1ndnKZl
— Marques (@MarquesTracy) June 14, 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBTQ+ Pride month support each other. Together they fight against prejudices and hate directed at them for things that they cannot control.
Violence and inequity is something that both groups experience. The world is supposed to be full of opportunities, but instead, it is mired in systemic oppression.
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By adding awareness for trans lives into the Black Lives Matter movement, the chants and calls for justice quickly became “All Black Lives Matter.”
“Black trans lives matter,” the crowd of thousands roared.
The Black Lives Matters protests are already a historical movement, and the willingness to recognize and call for justice for trans lives too shows the humanity in those calling for justice for black people.
Having a virtual Pride Month because of the pandemic is something that is deemed necessary to keep everyone safe. But the sweeping crowds of the Black Lives Matter movement acknowledging Pride Month and the need to protect trans lives gives an in-person effort to the cause.
The benevolence for their fellow humans shows the ability of protestors to do something the police have refused to: show a touch of humanity.
The strength and beauty of protest! Together is better! This is what community looks like!! Show them what community sounds like!! #BlackLivesMatter #brooklyn #BlackTransLivesMatter #protest #love #pride #nyc #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/L7HMtEWNrv
— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) June 14, 2020
Precautions are still being taken during protests for Black Lives Matter. People in the crowds are encouraged to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and are told to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. At many protests, there are also people offering snacks and water to those taking part in the marches and demonstrations.
Pride Month marches on, as will the Black Lives Matter movement, no matter how long it takes for the powers in place to listen. While these movements are different, they bring us back to the uprising of Stonewall and how people of color and the LGBTQ+ community are brought together by their similar fights for justice.