Content Warning: this article discusses racism, privilege and improving visibility.
By Vlada Karpovich | Pexels
When we typically think of LGBTQIA+ (LGBTQ) it is understood to be welcoming, non-judgemental and liberating. Well, this is not the case, Stonewall revealed in 2018 that 51% of BAME LGBT people reported experiencing racism in the community. This is a worryingly high statistic. To help combat this issue it is vital that people spouting racist attitudes are challenged and white people who are part of or supportive of the LGBTQ community stand up to these racist homophobes.
This applies to when people of colour are around and also absent. The effects of treatment lead to many negative consequences for the Queer, Trans, and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC), such as isolation and loneliness which feeds into longer-term mental health issues. If you or someone you know holds biases and prejudices against the QTIPOC or the LGBTQ community or people of another race, please don’t be defensive it is time for you to learn and understand an overlooked community of people. It is time to stand up for our fellow women, men, and everyone who stands in the middle.
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In terms of privilege, in this case, it defines the way in which society is set up to benefit certain individuals more than others, say of race and different sexuality. Being a bisexual white woman, I know I have privilege in society because of the opportunities I get, to study, to work and still be supported by my family, and to be accepted for who and what I am. I consistently stand up to racist and homophobic views because these people need to be more widely educated on what they so clearly fear and resent. Marginalisation through any means is really unacceptable in this age whether it be through exclusion from events or unethical workplaces. People of the QTIPOC may feel unsafe addressing racist/homophobic views due to not having a safe and supportive environment; this can massively affect mental health. White fragility is where white people continue to benefit from societal dominance. When this happens people of colour will not want to discuss discrimination for fear of extreme reactions and may gaslight themselves into believing that it either did not happen or that when they encounter racism it isn’t racist.
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Actions have been taken to improve visibility in pride events, including the addition of the Philadelphia Pride flag which has added stripes of black and brown to represent those of colour that belong to the LGBTQ which can be credited to Amber Hikes. The addition of this flag was a direct response to racial discrimination QTIPOC were facing in LGBTQ bars in Philadelphia. Furthermore, there is now annually the UK Black Pride which is a space to come and heal together. These events were not created to undermine other groups, they are here to stand in solidarity and open avenues of conversation. Stonewall found that BAME LGBTQ people are more than twice as likely to attend LGBT-specific venues or events as white people, 45% of QTIPOC compared to 22% of white people. While these are steps in the right direction there needs to be a greater drive towards continuing the diversification and acceptance of people of colour within the community. More recently Hikes’ flag was officially adopted by Manchester Pride as their primary flag, which shows the diversification and acceptance of people in the QTIPOC.
By Lisett Kruusimäe | Pexels
There are three actions you as an individual and we as a supportive community can take:
Listen, support and showcase. Use this article to open up and begin a wider discussion inside the LGBTQ and outside. Listen with openness and willingness to have uncomfortable realities put to you about the power and privilege that you possess. Find ways to support QTIPOC from facilitating discussions in the workplace to donating money to charities and initiatives. And finally, don’t underestimate the importance of positive role models in any and all areas of life. Wherever possible give QTIPOC role models an appropriate platform and celebrated meaningfully.
If you would like to learn more, links to articles are below.