Nationwide HIV Testing Day is June 27th – an annual event to encourage individuals to check for HIV at the least every year as a part of routine care. This yr, Nationwide HIV Testing Day falls squarely inside the identical week because the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots the place trans girls of coloration resisted violence enacted by the New York Police Division. Coincidentally or not, each moments function reminders of how there isn’t any “Satisfaction” for Black queer people who should all the time combat towards erasure and plight.
The Stonewall Riots, or rebellion, set the stage for what many people think about the modern-day LGBT rights motion, and by extension, “LGBT Satisfaction” in the course of the month of June. The rightful indignation that brought about Stonewall forces me to keep in mind that the rebellion in 1969 didn’t exist in a vacuum. In 1965, for instance, protesters led the Dewey Lunch Counter Sit-In to protest LGBTQ focused discrimination, and in 1966 a trans lady resisted arrest at Compton’s Cafeteria by throwing espresso at a police officer within the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
Opposite to in style mainstream depictions of Satisfaction month, June has by no means been about celebration-especially for Black queer of us. As a substitute, the origination has centered on resistance and decriminalizing LGBTQ people from firms, regulation enforcement, and violence – violence perpetuated by each law enforcement officials and heterosexual civilians who’ve brought about repeated hurt towards LGBTQ and non-binary individuals.
But, yearly, LGBTQ individuals of coloration are sometimes advised to simply sit again and revel in Satisfaction as a result of it’s “enjoyable.”
So, I ask: What, precisely, are LGBTQ individuals of coloration celebrating throughout a rainbow capitalism corporate-dominated Satisfaction? Our “progress” the place Black trans girls proceed to expertise violence from the group and the state? Our capability to marry regardless of the very fact we may be legally fired, not employed, or demoted for figuring out as LGBTQ? Our rising LGBTQ youth homelessness and loss of life by suicide charges? The “enjoyable” I wish to have is honoring a queer legacy that retains Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Main, and Sylvia Rivera front-and-center whereas decentering the cis white homosexual lens by means of which Satisfaction has been offered.
Regardless of what white-led LGBTQ organizations are simply now discovering, the Stonewall riots — like most protests within the combat for queer and trans liberation — was spearheaded by probably the most marginalized within the Black and Latinx group.
It was radical. It was transformative. It was unapologetic.
As I mirror on how monetized and corporatized and commercialized Satisfaction has change into, despite its historical past towards criminalization, capitalism, and violence, I honor the work of organizations that proceed the work began on that scorching evening in June of 1969. Orgs like BYP100, Black Lives Matter, and No Justice, No Satisfaction amongst others, who take energy out of the arms of firms and place them into the arms of individuals by investing in training, housing, restorative justice, and in addition into clinically competent clinics to combat to incessantly excessive charges of HIV incidence.
Lots of our heterosexual and white LGBTQ+ counterparts would somewhat assist push for “equality” by normalizing us as “similar to straight individuals” as an alternative of elevating consciousness to the very actual variations that separate us.
These points require quick consideration, particularly throughout Satisfaction month. Variations such because the rise of LGBTQ youth homelessness, intercourse work criminalization legal guidelines, condoms as proof of prostitution, harsh faculty disciplinary insurance policies, violence towards Black trans girls, lack of queer and trans-inclusive sexuality training, and rising utility of HIV criminalization legal guidelines.
Criminalization is a barrier that necessitates pressing motion. No group understands this greater than individuals who dwell on the intersection of Black and Latinx queer, trans, and non-binary identities. From HIV to intercourse work, LGBTQ and non-binary individuals are largely being criminalized for 2 causes.
First, for being audacious sufficient to know their very own bodily autonomy. Second, for difficult the state’s conservative view that intercourse is just for functions of replica and never pleasure. It’s the second motive that results in damning penalties.
In keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, as of 2018, 26 states had legal guidelines that criminalize HIV publicity, many the place there isn’t any likelihood of precise transmission. HIV-criminalization legal guidelines largely check with the overbroad use of prison legal guidelines to penalize perceived or potential HIV publicity; alleged nondisclosure of an individual who’s knowingly dwelling with HIV previous to sexual contact; or unintentional HIV transmission. These outdated legal guidelines disproportionately have an effect on already marginalized individuals — many who we wish to get examined on days like in the present day.
Information reveals HIV criminalization will increase discrimination and stigma, deters HIV testing, and doesn’t function an efficient technique of HIV therapy and discount. Merely put, HIV-criminalization legal guidelines are ineffective.
Why does this matter on Nationwide HIV Testing Day and through Satisfaction month? As a result of if we’re ever going to realize an AIDS-free technology (as the worldwide well being group claims is one in all our targets), we should not proceed with legal guidelines that probably deter testing and are counterproductive to prevention. And, no matter what any prosecutor says, we can’t criminalize our approach into reaching health-seeking behaviors.
To be clear, LGBTQ individuals of coloration ought to be given the area to have fun this month – a month that wouldn’t exist with out us. We should outline what self-care appears to be like like for us and we should always be capable to do what’s essential to make us really feel heard, seen and supported. And sure, even I will likely be in NYC this weekend celebrating World Satisfaction. There is no such thing as a disgrace in enjoyable.
Nonetheless, it’s vital to be conscious of at whose expense? Are we redefining historical past for the sake of getting enjoyable? Are we forgetting the actual historical past of Stonewall as a result of pretending it wasn’t about police violence makes it bearable? Are we ignoring trans girls of coloration as a result of it interrupts our eager about beaded jewellery and pleasure parades?
We are able to not write away historical past for enjoyable. We should maintain that in pressure and supply area for celebration and resistance.
The opinions expressed right here don’t essentially mirror these of BET Networks.