After years of internal division, the LGTBQ+ community was faced with the ultimate decision of keeping their relationship with police departments and Corporate America or supporting Black Lives Matter (BLM) in their fight against police brutality and systemic racism. Now, the LGTBQ+ and BLM stand together, just as they did at the start of both movements.
Until 2020, Pride Parades were cheerful events with music and celebrations, but its beginnings mirrored the passion and chaos of today’s protests. The first Pride Month was actually the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where after the police raided a gay club in New York City, 1969, protestors began using violence against police. But Like today’s Black Lives Matter movement, it would be misleading to point to the raid as the main cause for the protest. Much like BLM, the LGBTQ+ community had experienced police brutality and discrimination for ages, and after being ignored by the entire nation, they resolved that it would be necessary to stand up for their community.
However, as the years passed, Pride Month underwent significant changes. They began partnering with corporations, who in exchange for profits, lobbied for legislation supporting the LGBTQ+ community and brought many of their issues into mainstream media. But while these may have been positive changes, it steered the LQBTQ+ away from controversial topics such as police brutality, leading to a kind of schism between organizers opting to support BLM and those wishing to keep their mainstream partnerships. But a series of events affecting the LGBTQ+ community directly put those partnerships into question.
First, black transwoman Keyonna Kamry was badly beaten in a Minneapolis protest. Soon after that, Florida police killed Black trans man Tony McDade. These sparked a conversation about what role the LGBTQ++ community should play right now. On top of that, major corporations pulled back funding used for Pride Month, and when organizers created the Pride Pledge, pleading that the money be redirected towards small businesses in struggling communities, they refused. The only two people who signed were trans men of color owning small businesses.
As a result of these events, the LGTBQ+ community was forced to examine their relationship with police departments and corporations, and that they did.
BLM and LGBTQ+ organizers have begun working together on Global Pride, a worldwide 24-hour virtual parade which is expected to be hosted on June 27. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ organizers in cities like Indianapolis have announced that they will begin excluding the police department from its events and that they will stand in solidarity with BLM. Other organizations that have remained working with police departments such as LA Pride have come under fire by much of the LGBTQ+ community, which grows increasingly outspoken on police brutality, discrimination, and systemic racism, among other topics.
The founders of Black Lives Matter were actually LGBTQ, and the purpose of both movements was and is to fight discrimination. That’s what they are doing today. Together.