Black liberation looks like liberation for all people, including those most marginalized within our own community. This means the Black queer community and especially Black trans people as we are the most vulnerable to this violence.
The current attack on the rights of trans people in the United States is being used as a recruitment tool by the Republican Party. These series of hate campaigns against the queer community, especially trans folks, are being used as a gateway to hate in order to construct a movement against all marginalized and oppressed people. The same ‘Don’t Say Gay’ policy being used to wipe out queer existence is the same anti-Black narrative used to stop Black history from being taught in schools. The aspiration of both policies is to undermine efforts made by both communities to create and ensure an anti-racist and anti-homophobic education for all. The far right is using an unauthentic concern for youth to pass violent and homophobic policies that remove what little access to autonomy and gender affirming resources queer youths have in states like Florida. Under the guise of ‘Let Kids Be Kids’, the package of bills that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law bans teachers from using preferred pronouns, criminalizes queer youths and their parents seeking gender affirming care, and prevents trans folk from using bathrooms that a line with their gender identity. These attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community will set a precedent on how fascist governments will continue to take rights away from marginalized people.
No one is exempt from the harm of white supremacy, so whether you’re a part of the LGBTQIA+ community or not, you will be impacted by these homophobic policies. Along with banning books that speak on the queer experience, allowing teachers to outright refuse using preferred pronouns is not only an infringement of individual rights, it takes away the autonomy, ability of self determination, and personhood of youth. Once it is deemed ‘legal’ to ban books on queer history, that same power will be used to ban books on Black history, a crusade that has already started. Giving states the ability to refuse gender affirming medical care follows the same sentiment that has led to the attack of abortion rights throughout the country.
The white supremacy used to maintain oppression and inflict violence on Black communities is the same white supremacy that enforces homophobia. This fact gives understanding to how the violent homophobia that exists in the Black community comes at the expense of our own liberation. Claiming that queer identities have sole origins in whiteness, is not only false, but a clear erasure of queer traditions in Indigenous African and Native American communities. The truth is, homophobia has the same roots in colonization as racism, and every time Black people engage in homophobia we are validating the tools of our own oppression. The homophobia that exists in our community is nothing more than internalized white supremacy used to divide marginalized communities that are oppressed by the same powers.
The impact of white supremacist homophobia has on Black queer people if felt globally, throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Currently in Kenya and Uganda there are strong campaigns to heighten the already ramped brutality against LGBTQIA+ communities. Just last month Uganda passed legislation to enforce an even more violent agenda that threatens capital punishment and life imprisonment against anyone ‘promoting’ homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill also aims to specifically target people with HIV/AIDS, attaching at 20 year prison sentence to anyone having gay sex while testing positive. These laws are not only rooted to white supremacist ideology, but are also repulsingly invasive to queer people’s autonomy and basic rights, and sets back the fight against HIV/AIDS and its stigmatization. Calling queer identities ‘Western/White ideology’ is a lie designed to erase our history in order to enforce a binary hegemony, a practice deeply rooted in white supremacist ideology.
Our struggles must be as unified as the attacks made against us. Black queer people have been instrumental to Black liberation while also being the most marginalized, we fight to preserve our history within the Black community while also striving for liberation for all Black people throughout the globe. By accepting homophobia within the Black community we are simultaneously accepting the white supremacy that ensures the maintenance of our own oppression. Calling queer identities western or white is contradictory, as those same corrupt governments engage in capitalist resource extraction. Using transphobia and homophobia to ground Black folks in white supremacy is a tired tool that can no longer continue to divide us. Once we begin to see our struggle for Black liberation as inseparable from queer or women’s liberation we can begin to organize an effective resistance rooted in true freedom for all.