Em-URGE-ing Voices

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Celebrating Resistance and Diversity

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June 6, 2014

I kicked off my pride celebration early in Washington, DC during Memorial Day Weekend. It was DC’s annual Black Pride weekend and I had a great time being in the company of so many other people who identified as black, queer, and female. But even in the relative isolation of those parties and events, our existence was not homogeneous.

With the Defense of Marriage Act defeated last year, and states across the country challenging their same-sex marriage bans in a domino effect it’s safe to say that there is definitely a culture shift happening in the United States when it comes to same-sex couples. But many of us know that marriage is not the sole issue facing our community. While movements are carrying on across the country for racial justice, trans rights, fair wages, reproductive justice, and the rejection of sexism and gender policing, they also collectively represent the needs of LGBTQ identified individuals.

All too often the issues and identities of LGBTQ identified people are fragmented and compartmentalized. Our experiences dictated by this hashtag or that thinkpiece. But our truths are never that streamlined. We are diverse and eccentric. We spread over economic, gender, class, age, race, ability, and education borders, just to name a few. And for me, I’m just as proud of being a woman, black, polyamorous, fat, and from Chicago as I am being queer.

Which makes me think that we can’t have pride or celebrate the month without acknowledging and celebrating the complex lived experiences of the individuals who create that community. We can not celebrate without recognizing that the very act of existing in resistance of dominant heteronormativity. We can not be proud in a vacuum of sanitized ‘queerness’ but bask in the glow of intersections and diversity.

This post was written by Sesali Bowen.

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