28 (29) Days Of Blackness- Why Marsha P. Johnson Still Matters & Making Space For Those Under The Rainbow

Note: The Ideal Firestarter is an LGBTQIA Safe-space. There will be no deadnaming, homophobia, transphobia in this space. You will be blocked, and reported. We do not entertain trolls over here. If you want someone to play with, start with yourself. Thanks. -JBHarris

Image result for marsha p johnson
The Lady herself, Marsha ‘Pay You No Mind’ Johnson (1945-1992).

I am a cis-het Black woman. There was never a time in my life where my heart, my body and my head didn’t all match. With that understood, and with the tool of empathy, I can love and try to understand those whom walk in the world whom never have had this feeling–except through the tool and route of surgery. I can also lend empathy to those whom only desire to walk through the world and not be accosted (or killed) for loving who they love.

With that said, I believe it is not possible to celebrate Black History Month without acknowleding the LGBTQIA community. It is not right, and to try and do so is a dual erasure. An NBC article dated February 2, 2020, the East River State Park in Brooklyn would be renamed for Marsha P. Johnson.

Dope, right? Peep this excerpt:

She was reported to be one of the central figures in the Stonewall Uprising, when a group of LGBTQ people fought back against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The raid was an attempt by the NYPD to enforce a law that made it illegal to serve alcohol to known homosexuals.

Therein lies the problem. It wasn’t ‘reported’. She is/was one of the central figures in the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. It is my contention is Black history is not complete–or is taught incompletely–unless you mention those figures who are a part of this community. It is not the sole defining characteristic of whom a person is, but it should not be a defining element to their erasure either!

Image result for lgbtqia flags

From Baynard Rustin to Audre Lorde, to Bessie Smith and Josephine Baker, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, Black History is a never, ever going to be a monolith! We can longer afford to whitewash or erase contributions from OUR collective history because of what people think?

The time has come, yet again, to embrace our collective history. It’s time, fam. It’s time. Beyond time. I am a fan of the brilliant Son of Baldwin (follow him on Facebook, he is amazing), and he said this which I am still mulling over:

I always think about how less everything the world would be without Black queer input. Y’all hate us with every fiber of your being, but we are the chief architects of your joy. Maybe we should stop making your lives better so you can stop making our lives worse.

-Son Of Baldwin, 2/3/2020 (Public Facebook Page)

I heard pain and frustration in this. Some things are is up for debate—but require the extension of empathy. And this should not be a fight–this is a whole fact. We are all living this Black Experience together, sometimes from different vantage points. Just because the vantage point is different, doesn’t make it less than, or less valuable, and should not breed hatred or bigotry.

The time has come to stop using erasure as a tool of the oppressor–because that’s what it is. It is a tool to control the narrative, promote all matter of phobia, and it is counterproductive to any sort or progress towards freedom–and equality.

Time has come to realize Black Queer History is a part of Black History as a whole. It’s not a secret or secreted part. It is not making you ‘less Black’ to acknowledge this. This month, this time, this year, let us remember that we are ALL in this experience together. For freedom to happen and be sustained, it will take ALL of us to see a way out–and take another with us.

[Image from out.com]

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