Creating Mosaics: Dyeing the Whitewashed Rainbow

The not quite news of Anderson Cooper’s coming out last week was met with more or less a collective yawn. Cooper himself seemed to be making the announcement more out of a desire to just stop the constant chatter about something everyone assumed was the case to begin with. In the middle of all of this, a friend of mine questioned why, when there are so many gay white male celebrities in the limelight these days, do we even make a big deal of it? She, and I, would like to see a queer woman of color, or a trans* person of color out in the public eye. When that can happen without anyone batting an eyelash, then we can say we have made real progress.

This got me thinking about the LGBTQ movement in the whole. By and large it is a movement dominated by queer, white cis men, mostly of Generation X with some Baby Boomers thrown in there for good measure. It got me thinking about my gay friends, and how they are all cis, white men. I am the only trans* woman in the bunch. I do have one or two trans* or gender-queer friends in other circles, but by and large, the boys stick together, and they are white as hell. So am I for that matter.

I have spoken in the past about the cis sexism among, not necessarily my gay male friends, but in the movement at large. I have mentioned how we, meaning trans* women, were at the front of everything at Stonewall, and how the pride movement was created by us. What I even failed to realize, to my shame, is how it was trans* women of color that kick started that fight, and are the reason we can march in the summer. There is no Pride without PoC, and it is time the white queers who have dominated that movement start to recognize that.

Don’t mistake me, please. This is not about anger, finger wagging, or trying to lay a guilt trip. This is about what is good for us. We are supposed to be about inclusivity, but how inclusive are we really? How many of us embrace our PoC brothers and sisters? I am glad that they have their own space, but I would love for them to feel welcome in ours. Only then, can we get the sort of world everyone, even the people who still revile the LGBTQ community as a whole, deserves.

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