Background of the heritage month
October is LGBTQIA+ History Month in the United States. Identity is never singular and that’s where intersectionality comes from. The term “intersectionality” was coined by civil-rights activist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the experience of folks who are oppressed on multiple, “intersecting” fronts. Black queer people have always been at the center of the LGBTQIA+ liberation movement, from Stormé DeLarverie and Marsha P. Johnson (a biracial butch lesbian and a Black trans woman, respectively, who were the sparks that ignited the uprising and prompted the crowd to action at the Stonewall movement of 1969), to modern-day LGBTQIA+ Black queer icons like Laverne Cox and Janelle Monaé.
Nowadays, Black queer people are regularly denied the benefits of the revolution they set in motion. While the actions of the mainstream queer community focus on marriage, access to state institutions (and “acceptance” into a neoliberal, heteronormative, colorblind society in general) Black LGBTQIA+ people are still severely affected by systemic racism, the global pandemic, as well as by homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. On top of that, white gay men are often considered the “norm” of the LGBTQIA+ community in mainstream media, which erases the stories, experiences, and representation of Black and indigenous queer people of color.
10 Black-led LGBTQIA+ organizations
Now more than ever, we need allies to step up and take action. What can you do to support Black queer people during LGBTQIA+ History Month, and beyond? Here are 10 Black-led LGBTQIA+ groups and organizations you can support right now:
The LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund helps LGBTQ+ people of color post their bond to secure release. They're also raising awareness about LGBTQ over-incarceration in the United States.
2. SNap Co. (Solutions, Not Punishment Collaborative)
SNap Co. was created in response to an attack from the Atlanta City Council and former Mayor Kasim Reed on Black Trans women who were engaging in sex work. Their mission is to eliminate the targeting, harassing, and sexual assaults of trans people of color, decriminalize sex work and provide employment and social service opportunities for trans people.
3. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)
The NBJC is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBTQ+ people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.
The BAI has worked for over two decades to end the Black HIV epidemic by providing high-quality direct HIV services and linkage to care to Black people.
The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People.
Black Trans Women are being murdered and assaulted while traveling at an alarming rate. The Black Trans Travel Fund is a grassroots, mutual aid based organization developed to provide Black transgender women with the financial resources necessary to self-determine and access their safest travel options.
The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area. The donations they receive go towards sustaining the movement and prioritizing their resources for the people most impacted by their work.
8. House of GG
Founded and led by Trans and gender-nonconforming people, House of GG aims to create safe and transformative spaces where members of the U.S. South LGBTQ+ community can heal—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—from the trauma arising from generations of transphobia, racism, sexism, poverty, ableism, and violence, and nurture them into tomorrow’s leaders.
9. Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI)
Created in honor of Marsha P. Johnson, the MPJI protects and defends Black transgender people’s human rights by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting collective power. By donating, you are helping them employ Black trans people, build more strategic campaigns, and launch winning initiatives.
10. Voix Noire
Voix Noire is a safe space for Black women, marginalized genders, and children to seek and receive assistance via reparations from non-Black individuals.