This text was originally written for the Introduction to Philosophy (PHL102) subject.
Last year’s Toronto Pride was blistered by a unique demonstration of grief and despair, a silent shout of the black community reaching for their rights. Public interpretation of the act varied from hijacking and disrespect (Levy) to praising and consonance (Petrow), followed by a series of agreements and apologetic pledges. The activists of BLM are part of a group honoured and recognized by the Pride organization, however they made a decision to protest without previous notice – a complex deadlock of interests and claims pivoting the central question of who’s the most marginalized or legitimate community.
The fragile position to which non-white people in North America are submitted cannot be put in the opinion realm, hence the vast supporting documentation and statistic reports exposing discriminatory acts as clear facts. Recent official censuses from the United States show that the share of population that can be identified as African descendent grows up significantly, whistl insecurity, harassment, hate speech, and violence against these communities is still at increasingly alarming rates (United Nations 4, 7). These social injustices take shape in brutal acts like murdering but also in more subtle ways as the disparities in access to many public services that permeate society (United Nations 12), only to cite one. The Black Lives Matter movement, a contemporary demonstration on the fight for repairing moral and social historical debts of these societies, was evidenced in the global media after a sequence or murders of unarmed black men committed by policemen (Day).
Meanwhile, the LGB (Lesbian, Gays, and Bissexuals) movement made significant progress in granting their its rights throughout the 20th Century, especially in the developed countries of the Western world. Nevertheless, the movement’s rise in visibility brought with it an exhibit of its weaknesses, with accusations of elitism and discrimination against other minorities (Andriote). The inclusion of the “T”, “Q”, and “+” characters on the movement’s initials are an attempt to bring together respectively the transgender, queer, and other non binary gender identities into the movement as a reaction to the discriminatory indictments (Goldsmith 69). While being a homosexual can result in death, harassment, or even imprisonment in some countries, the movement’s elite turned out so used to the privileges granted in a few developed environments that negligence dominates the status quo.
Neither the Black Lives Matter nor the LGBTQ+ community can be treated as centralized movements – they are part of a wider idea of equality and civil rights but both have many specific manifestations and clusters around the globe. However, the clash between them as seen in the 2016’s Toronto Pride (Petrow) emphasizes an important intersection between their interests: as minorities they are expected to unify, but they diverge instead. Most of it is owed to insufficient identification and empathy now rooted inside their movements, as the activist Denzell Faison declares: “(…)gay white people are more closely aligned with straight white people than with black LGBT people” (Petrow).
The BLM interruption triggered a wave of retaliation, mostly accusing the movement of being anti-white (Petrow) – a very controversial term for reverse racism – followed by an official apology letter of the Pride’s organizers, who admitted the marginalization of non-white groups and promised new measures towards inclusion and diversity. It is actually subversive, though, to watch a movement that grew from the outskirts and marginalized social positions apologize for doing the same to other marginalized groups.
This scenario draws some serious questions whose answers are fundamental to the future of the Marriage Equalty movement itself. Has the LGTBQ+ community gotten so lost inside its priorities that its agenda can’t be bear getting any more inclusive? The African Descendents aren’t the only ones pledging for more visibility within the movement, whereas other social minorities like immigrants and gender fluids do not feel represented or respected likewise. Nevertheless, BLM’s approach could surely have been more respectful to the LGBTQ+ movement, but would their demands be listened accordingly? Probably not. Right or wrong, their shout was so loud that even the most elitist, whitest, and richest homosexual could not avoid hearing it. Both movements walk on a tightrope when it comes to having their rights granted on an ever growing conservationist wave, however BLM’s arguments dialog with complaints from so many other marginalized groups that their strengths reside on the endeavour on trying to make the LGBTQ+ movement as empathetic and inclusive as it should always have been.
·Levy, Sue-Ann. “ Black Lives Matter hijack Pride Toronto town hall meeting”. Toronto Sun.2016. https://goo.gl/65TKCX (04 Feb. 2017).
·Petrow, Steven. “Black, queer, ignored: Why the LGBT community is divided on Black Lives Matter”. The Washington Post. 2016. https://goo.gl/wxkBgJ (05 Feb. 2017).
·United Nations. “Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to the United States of America”. UN’s Human Rights Council Report. 2016. https://goo.gl/GggwcG (03 Feb. 2017).
·Goldsmith, John W. “The Evolution of Queer Representation in the Young Adult Genre”. Western Oregon University Honors Senior Theses. 2016. https://goo.gl/Br7atv (04 Feb. 2017)
·Andriote, John-Manuel. “Marking a Civil Rights Milestone, Elitism Is Robbing LGBT Movement of Power to Make Good the Promise of America. The Huffington Post. 2016. https://goo.gl/jlTyud (05 Feb. 2017).
·Day, Elizabeth. “#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement”. The Guardian. 2015. https://goo.gl/lRuXHQ (03 Feb. 2017).