BY OLIVIA GORDON, PHOTO ASSISTANT
I often feel that there is no space for LGBT+ work or representation, but as I sit to write about this topic, I’m at a loss. Something that would usually flow so easily to me seems wrong or selfish to talk about. While I deem lack of LGBT+ representation a huge issue today, I have also never been one to turn away, especially now, from the undeniable truth that we are living in a country where Black people are disproportionately killed by the police. Not only this, but they are more likely to go “missing,” be incarcerated and earn less money in the workplace than their white counterparts. As a white person, I will never understand what that is like.
The question “Where do I fit into all of this?” quickly pervaded my mind and took over nearly every thought I had when it came to writing. How can I use my privilege and the voice I have for good, without speaking over Black voices? Is this the time to talk about LGBT+ issues? The more and more I thought about these questions, I realized that these things go hand in hand. You cannot be LGBT+ and also NOT anti-racist. Both of these issues are incredibly relevant and important. I have always been vocal about what I believe is right, and I cannot stop now. I am dedicating time to educate myself on how I fit into these conversations as a queer, white person. I encourage you, the reader, to do everything in your power to do the same.
I know one of the most valuable things I can give to other LGBT+ people around the world is a voice and a safe space. While doing this, I am adamant about reading and consuming art from the black community. There ARE stories, sounds, visuals that need to be amplified because they have been sold short time and time again. There IS a place for this community in the media. It is more than brilliant. It is heartfelt, angry, loud, vibrant, and beautiful. It is worth hearing, and we are going to make it heard.
I decided to launch PRIDEWALL, a website dedicated to LGBT+ people, their personal stories and art of all mediums. This tight-knit online community will allow connection and understanding through each other’s experiences both similar and different.
Until then, push yourself to consume LGBT+ and black media. Ask yourself not only “What can I say?” but also “What can I DO?” It is not enough to post, you MUST be urgent and active. Two simple ways you can be active right now are by reading about and donating to the Black Lives Matter movement, many of them benefiting the black LGBT+ community.
We’ll talk soon. -Olivia