Summer 2020: COVID-19 dictates the law, fascism is on the rise within our federal government and we are full blown in the beginning of global revolution against anti-Black racism in this country.
So here's my unofficial announcement: This year Pride™ is canceled, along with the rest of our regularly scheduled programming and daily life as we once knew it. This is a new era in which the wind has blown up the American skirt and shown all of our poverty and dysfunction, how we devalue our communities of color; and rampant police forces feed a lucrative private prison system which steals funding and resources from our communities, leaving us with skeletal social service infrastructure. This is a new time, and the movement is on fire—COVID-19 risk or not. We are on the precipice of change, and if you haven't started to do something worth carrying into the new world, it's time to get started.
As of June 15, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch catapulted our nation into a new chapter wherein we, citizens of the LGBTQIAP+ community, are officially declared "protected" by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Gorsuch's dissent from Liar-in-Chief Donald Trump's white supremacist plan to decimate any future for us is just the dose of medicine we needed amid yet another disgusting display of our country's brutality and willingness to destroy its own citizens.
Gorsuch wrote: "An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex."
This ruling extends civil rights protections in all 50 states to the 7 million-plus citizens who fall beyond the confines of the gender binary. This is one small victory within a long list of needs and demands from those most vulnerable. It must be understood that a declaration of safety is not, in fact, safety—a declaration of civility and equal treatment under law is, in fact, not a guarantee of civility or equal treatment under law.
At last, the citizenry's willingness to dismantle systems and institutions of oppression and violence is no longer dormant. We again owe the fight for liberation, equity and respect to Black and Brown and Indigenous people for their leadership and the inescapable reality of doing this work every moment of every day, whether they want to or not. They do not get a choice—neither do you or I.
If you're white-skinned and white-passing, like me, you have an undeniable amount of privilege, and it's time you begin to excavate it, acknowledge it and talk about it with other white and light-skinned people. It's time each of us learn to leverage that privilege and power for the greater good. It begins by taking a long, hard look in the mirror and finding your starting point, then doing continuous anti-racism work.
My anger is a luxury I can express without being killed. If I'm given a platform and the expectations and freedoms of a white man, then I intend to change this platform by participating within it. I don't get to be tired. I don't get to be scared. I don't get to take a break or stay quiet right now. The revolution is here, and we need to turn to leadership of color.
If you have a Black- or Indigenous- or transgender-run organization in your city or state, find out how you can get involved or donate some money. In New Mexico, we're blessed with several.
Tewa Women United (tewawomenunited.org).
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (tgrcnm.org).
Santa Fe Dreamers Project (santafedreamersproject.org).
The Red Nation (therednation.org)
And these are just a few places you can research before deepening your support for the liberation of all people. It will take people from all classes, all genders, all sexualities and all backgrounds working towards change, and we must get started in every small way we can. No matter how small your action is, it matters.
White-skinned and caucasian people who are just waking up and getting involved the first time? Welcome. If you have excess income, consider setting up recurring donations to people and organizations of color. Speak out against racism in your community—at the post office, the grocery store or wherever you encounter it. Tell your friends when you find a business that is run by queer, trans, Black, Indigenous and other people of color and support them generously.
This fight is going to require a lot from you. It is not something you can pick and choose to interact with, you must embody it and bestow it to those in your life. Call out. Don't delete racists in your life—teach them. There is an array of ways for you to plug in if you cannot physically be on the front lines, and you have an obligation to perform behind-the-scenes tasks that must continue for the movement to flourish.
Hundreds of years, millions of atrocities, systemic racism, sexism, state and federal funded violence, Indigenous erasure, the exploitation of Black and Brown bodies built our country into what it is today and now we are seeing an active decry against that brutality.
As we navigate an uncertain present and wait for an unknown future, you can get on the right side of history and speak out against injustice. It's what we have to do at this time, in any and every way that we can.