Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's the T with the Dark Purple Pride?: Celebrating Black Queerness

Fierce, serve, house, kiki, shade, confused? I bet you are. These words only get spoken in certain spaces. Let me tell you, those spaces are very Black and very Queer. Both of which make me very happy.

During the last Queer People of Color and Allies meeting we discussed Queer language that is unique to Queer People of Color (QPOC) communities. When first asked, “What are some queer slang you use?” no one answered and everyone looks as confused as a gay man does after he accidentally hit on a pretty boi dyke. (Trust me it works in reverse, I’ve done it. You know you are in an amazing Queer space when the gays and lesbians look the same.) However, once we started looking at some examples we couldn’t stop talking. We all realized something. Our communities are unique and it has its own culture. More importantly we realized yet again race and ethnicity have a massive influence on Queer culture (and vice versa).

Unfortunately, we forget about this because QPOC communities are largely invisible towards the mainstream Queer communities. Marginalized communities tend to get pushed to the corners even though they make a large share of a larger community. Racial politics of power and privilege oftentimes come in play in the Queer community. As a result, it is up to those marginalized groups to create their own safe space so they can practice their culture without any scrutiny.

This is the reason why we need Queer spaces like the Gender and Sexuality Center; and why a straight center is unnecessary. Just like how Queer spaces are needed, spaces for racial minorities are important as well. Moreover, since Queer racial minorities are a marginalized group within the Queer community, ethnic Queer spaces are needed.

On May 12 through May 15th in Houston there is a huge Black Queer event called Splash. For a whole week all the Black Queer establishments are hosting events and at the end of the week everyone gathers at Galveston to party. This event is important to the Black Queer community. Almost anyone who is Black queer identified knows about it in Texas. It is like a Black pride (which Dallas has one).

Now some might ask “Wait. You mean to tell me there is a separate pride? Why can’t we all celebrate together? Isn’t this racist? We are all the same right?” Okay. Normally, these questions or accusations come from a privileged person. Let’s get real here. By privileged person, I mean white queer person. Let’s list what’s wrong with this argument.

1. Black pride is not a separate pride it is a DIFFERENT pride.

2. We can celebrate together. Come to Black pride and celebrate with us. QPOC people attend white Queer event all the time. Get over your privilege.

3. Black pride is a celebration of the Black queer community and culture. Something that gets ignored in mainstream Queer celebrations.

4. Celebrating a unique community with its own cultural practices and history is not racist. It becomes racist if it does so with the intent of oppressing or suppressing another racial groups.

5. “We are all the same right?” What does being the same look like? Normally, this question is comes from a white framework. Sameness means assimilation. This assimilation means the destruction of one culture and the adoption of another. This is a toxic mindset for any community to embrace. Just like how the Queer community should not assimilate into heternormativity, racial minorities should not be expected to assimilate into white culture.

6. How about we celebrate our differences. Hello DIVERSITY! Difference does not have to be divisive. In fact it makes the human experience enriching and could make us stronger.

Now while some people are busy hating on Black pride, I’m going to chilling on Galveston beach checking out all the hot stems and studs. Now that’s the T or the talk with the always fierce Black Queer Celebrations.

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