Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the internet exploded into a mass of overjoyed excitement. The long-fought struggle for marriage equality was, by all appearances, coming to a triumphant end.
We, in the royal sense, had won. And yet, looking at the smiling faces floating in a sea of waving rainbow flags I couldn’t see myself. To put this in simpler words: there were virtually no black or brown faces attached to the coverage of today’s ruling. Though I wanted to do a post on the impact of today's decision, it was difficult to find many photos or videos of people of color celebrating.
It wasn’t just that there seemed to be no photos of people of color physically at the Supreme Court this morning. There were barely any commentators of color tapped by any of the major news networks to speak about the significance of the ruling. As a gay black man (and a member of the media,) this struck me as wrong and irresponsible.
One of the most pervasive and problematic narratives that many queer people of color face on near daily basis is the idea that Black, Latino, Asian, and other ethnic minorities aren’t interested in the rights of queer people. The black community in particular is often erroneously characterized as being disproportionately homophobic despite the fact that black peoples’ opinions on queer rights have been consistently evolving over the past decade just like everyone else’s.
People of color have been a part of the modern queer rights movement since its very beginning. Joseph Beam or Essex Hemphill, black queer rights activists whose writings worked to shed light on the lives of black gays and lesbians whose existences were marginalized and overlooked.
José Sarria, a Spanish-Colombian, was the first openly gay (and unabashedly queer) person to run for public office. Silvia Rivera, who was politicized by the African American Civil Rights movement, became one of the earliest and most outspoken advocates for transgender rights long before most people knew what it meant to be trans.
In the same way that we tend to forget their contributions to the fight for queer rights, we tend to render invisible the very presence of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transpeople who aren’t white.
Let's change that.
We want to see all of the people who've been touched by the Supreme Court's decision to make marriage equality a reality. We know you're out there and we want to hear from you. Share your photos with us via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat (@FusionSnaps), Tumblr, and Twitter using the hashtag #WeAreEquality.