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  • LGBT+ Blacks claim that they are seen ‘as second-class citizens’ within their own LGBT+ communities.

    LGBT+ Blacks claim that they are seen ‘as second-class citizens’ within their own LGBT+ communities. | Photo: AFP

Published 27 June 2020
Opinion

Pride events to celebrate LGBT+ rights are held globally throughout June – although most were cancelled or moved online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Several demonstrations and events were held in support of Pride globally this weekend while one of this year's slogans is racial justice and the end of racism, a reality that also hits the LGBT+ community hard.

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Pride events to celebrate LGBT+ rights are held globally throughout June – although most were cancelled or moved online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Racial inequalities around the world have come under the microscope following the death of George Floyd, 46, in police custody in the United States on May 25, and the LGBT+ community has not been indifferent to this issue.

Many LGBT+ groups released statements in support of protests after Floyd’s death, pointing out the origins of the LGBT+ rights movement at the Stonewall Inn in New York 51 years ago that emerged to fight police brutality.

“As a queer person myself, I face racism from the queer community – and it’s time we stamped it out,” the director Patrick King said as he marched along one of central London’s main thoroughfares with car horns blaring. London’s Black Trans Lives Matter march was one of several events planned this weekend to support Black Lives Matter in light also of Pride Month.

On Sunday, thousands of people are expected to attend New York’s Queer Liberation March, an event moved online due to the COVID-19 outbreak but then back to the streets after the protests against police brutality and racism after Floyd’s death.

“There needs to be the element of people in the streets and popular revolt and outrage,” said Natalie James, co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is hosting the march. 

“There’s not really a substitute for it,” she added.

Studies show that LGBT+ people of colour are more prone to violence and poverty. And a 2018 Stonewall/YouGov survey also found more than half of Black, Asian and other minority LGBT+ Britons had experienced discrimination from members of their own community.

“It’s still definitely pretty prevalent,” said Kwamina Theo Amihyia, joining a Black Trans Lives Matter march in London.

“As far as we’ve come, a lot of the strides made have been for white members of the (LGBT+) community and we’re still seen almost as second-class citizens,” he said.

“[Racism] remains an issue within the LGBT+ community,” Ted Brown, a veteran of Britain’s Gay Liberation Front (GLF) marching in London said.

“If you look around here, for example, I’m one of the few black people here … The LGBT+ community needs to look at themselves and find out how they can become more diverse,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, police estimated that around 3,500 people marched in temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted a message of support to the Global Pride event: "Be proud of yourself! No matter who you love, no matter where you live."

In Vienna, around 200 cars and motorbikes decked out in rainbow flags and inflatable unicorns paraded down the city's famous Ringstrasse on Saturday afternoon.

On the other hand,online events are also planned to close Pride month through one of the world's largest events, Global Pride, a 24-hour online event broadcast live online.

Global Pride, put together by the organisers of several of the major Gay Pride events around the world aims to attract hundreds of millions of viewers around the world. This year the slogan is "Exist, Persist, Resist."

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