Pride and Intersectionality

June is a rather interesting month. It is most notably known as Pride Month. However, it also carries Juneteenth and often has a period of major protests like BLM. Many times, we are taught to view these events as independent occurrences that just happen to be at the same time, but that is not actually true. These events are interconnected due to their origins as subversive movements that stand up to white supremacy.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

One thing that must be recognized is the fact that many cultures have traditions that affirm and celebrate gender-expansive people and non-hetero orientations. However, these traditions were intentionally suppressed when European colonizers invaded new areas. The reason is because it challenged the supremacist worldview that Europeans had developed.

Europeans had developed so much certainty in their understanding of the Bible, the world, and the “correct” gender/orientation norms, that the acceptance of anything outside their heteronormative understanding would challenge their ideology that they were the peak of human civilization. Their power rested on their certainty that their perspective was ordained and given by God and needed to be “given” (often through violence and oppression) to the world.

Many of the ways that Europeans addressed this was through the cruelest means possible. They sold African people into slavery and forced them to forget their own traditions in favor of an oppressive version of Christianity. They created “schools” to erase the culture and traditions of native children. These are just two of the many things carried out to “save” the rest of the world. Intentional suppression of cultures was a means to control those outside of the Eurocentric ideology.

Similarly, the events that led to June being recognized as Pride Month are also connected to the same white supremacy. Although Stonewall was not the first riot for queer rights, it is the most popular and highlights the intersectionality of queerphobia and racism in the United States.

The Stonewall riots were primarily led by BIPOC trans women and drag queens (even if that distinction was not as apparent at the time as it is today). In fact, it was through intentional erasure that has caused us to think of Stonewall as a movement of predominantly white, cis, gay men to make it more palatable for white people.

Just over a month after Stonewall, there was a raid on a theater in Atlanta that targeted queer BIPOC people, which caused protests and riots during the month of August 1969.

Intersectionality, means recognizing the way that white supremacy and the forcing of heteronormative (often through state violence) are hand in hand with the way that colonization had intentionally targeted marginalized groups to uphold their supremacy. This is why subversion is not as simple as focusing on one single aspect of marginalization. It all plays into challenging the power structures that uphold our society.

They are all connected, because they all challenge white power and white control.

This is also why movements like #LGBwithoutTheT are inherently harmful to more than just trans people. It is a means to uphold the same oppressive structures that promoted slavery, native schools, and, ultimately, fascism and supremacy. It says “we are ok with white supremacy as long as it harms those we want harmed.

Systemic racism and queerphobia are two aspects of the same issue. Solidarity means recognizing the intersectionality of systemic problems and how they are part of our society’s foundation.

June is not just Pride Month or the celebration of the end of Slavery, it’s the celebration of our continued efforts to subvert and end white supremacy.

Kalie May Hargrove