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LGBTQ/SGL History Month and Inviting In

October marks the observance of LGBTQ/SGL History Month . During this month we celebrate the lives and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people. Too often LGBTQ/SGL people are erased, our contributions are rendered invisible in public schools, in the media, and in our homes. LGBTQ/SGL History Month, first celebrated in 1994, is designed to move us closer to recognizing that as long as there have been people there have been LGBTQ/SGL people and we are all better when we acknowledge and celebrate this truth.

For more than a decade, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ/SGL people, including people living with HIV/AIDS, has made celebrating Black LGBTQ/SGL people and our families the foundation of our efforts. As the world recognizes LGBTQ/SGL History Month, NBJC is motivated to continue celebrating Black LGBTQ/SGL people. We do this work because it is important to center the lived experiences and contributions that Black LGBTQ/SGL people continue to make.

October 11th is National Coming OUT Day and it is important to remember that not all LGBTQ/SGL people experience life in the same way. For Black people in particular, it is not the case that many of us experience “coming out” in the way that is traditionally celebrated in movies. Most Black LGBTQ/SGL people live with other Black people in the South. We do not come out and move to Chelsea, New York; Boystown, Chicago; or West Hollywood, California. Most Black LGBTQ/SGL people live in states where it is still legal to discriminate against a person based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In these spaces rather than “coming out” Black LGBTQ/SGL people may “invite in” those we know and love to understand more about who we are and how we show up in the world.

Acclaimed writer, thought leader, activist and my brother Darnell Moore described this experience of “inviting in” versus “coming out” in the Feminist Wire in 2012. I share this concept and highlight a critical distinction in the lived experience of many Black LGBTQ/SGL people with the hope of helping to color our stories more vividly. As we celebrate National Coming Out Day it is important to highlight the diversity that exists within the Black LGBTQ/SGL community. I am thankful for the contributions of Black LGBTQ/SGL leaders who are speaking truth to power, and challenging efforts to render our diverse experiences invisible. This month consider learning more about the contributions of leaders like Darnell Moore who also authored “ No Ashes in the Fire ”, Michael Arceneaux, who wrote “ I Can’t Date Jesus ”, Michell Taylor (Feminsta Jones) who wrote “ Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets ” and NBJC’s #100toWatch Leader Charlene Carruthers who wrote “ Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements .” Each of these books and the work of the leaders who produced them contribute to painting more complete pictures of the beautifully diverse Black community.

In addition to highlighting the beautiful diversity within our community the October eblast highlights a recently released Federal Report Card designed to assist you as you #OwnYourPower and advocate for necessary political and social change. Join us on Wednesday October 24, 2018 for a Twitter chat on the Complexities of “Coming Out & Inviting In” as LGBTQ/SGL people of color. Also, consider sharing you “inviting in” story with us. Send an email to NBJC at communications@nbjc.org with “Inviting In” in the subject line.

Happy LGBTQ/SGL History Month!

Source: National Black Justice Coalition

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