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As the United States rolls into June and the start of 2SLGBTQ+ Pride month, hundreds of parades and events are already on the books. Among them are more than 40 events that highlight Black queer pride across the country.
According to the Center For Black Equity, these celebrations “provide an alternative” to what can often be largely White-centered pride events.
“The mainstream gay pride movement… has focused much of its energy on same-sex marriage,” the center notes. “The Black Gay Pride movement,” however, “has focused on issues such as racism, homophobia, and lack of proper health and mental care in Black communities.”
Black queer activism central to the movement for LGBTQ+ rights
Nationwide, pride seeks to elevate and honor the activism and riots of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. These protests against discrimination that targeted the LGBTQ+ community became a catalyst of social and political change in the US.
At the center of these protests was Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson, a Black, queer activist helped to rally other queer community members to action when police attacked the Stonewall Inn.
The uprising at Stonewall marked a turning point for gay rights in the United States. A few years later, it became a catalyst for the start of Pride celebrations across the country. While Johnson and others are at the center of that catalyst, the influence of Black activism on Pride has been whitewashed in the decades since.
Black LGBTQ+ Pride events elevate the Black queer and trans communities worldwide
According to the Pride Foundation, these disparities in Pride representation also leads to disparities in funding and support.
While 39% of the LGBTQ+ community identifies as a person of color, roughly 11% of funding for LGBTQ+ issues went to communities of color in 2016, the Foundation reported.
At a time when LGBTQ+ rights are under attack, efforts to hold space for, support and uplift Black queerness are expanding across the United States. In Oklahoma, the organization Black Queer Tulsa (BQT) has begun changing the landscape for the state’s queer community.
BQT hosted the first Black Queer Pride event in the city’s history in 2022. This year, the organization is continuing regular programming, including monthly Black Queer brunches to help build community.
Black LBGTQ+ Pride events are expanding beyond the United States as well. At least ten international Black Pride celebrations are planned across Europe, Africa and North and South America.