On Pride as QTPOC

By ena ganguly

For the month of Pride, it is important for us to document the narratives, hardships, and joys of the vast queer and transgender people of color communities. Indeed, our struggles meet at the intersections of colonialism and slavery, heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and racism. As in almost all communities, a racial, class and gender hierarchy exists within the LGBTQ+ community that makes invisible the precious labor of the most marginalized. Not just in Austin, but around the world. We are always met with these ‘isms’, and we continue to thrive, to build community, and to celebrate our brilliance. In honor of the existence of queer and transgender people of color, we are happy to see the queer world rightfully recognizing our vital roles within the community and our right to be visible.

The redesigned Pride flag is to center the lives of Black trans folks, Indigenous trans folks, and other trans people of color,

Though the month of June is dedicated to Pride, for people of color, pride is celebrated  year round. We celebrate ourselves and each other every day. From when we get up in the morning to when we go to sleep at night, there is gratitude and resistance in our very existence, as we navigate and shape the world before us. Many of us channel this energy into our creative work, as painters, dancers, photographers, actors, singers, poets, chefs and writers. Others focus their energy into community organizing by investing in the collective moments, the moments that build on and extend the history of our Elders, those who paved the way, but may have not been able to tread it. Then there are those who sculpt their presence into professional and hierarchical spaces where queer people of color are silenced, harassed and abused by those in power. They are working to shift legislation, societal attitudes, and tangible policy so that we can continue to live and to live without pain, struggle, and strife, to live so that our future kin can live and not face the same obstacles.

In this very community, in Austin, we celebrate ourselves and one another by hosting dinners, game nights and get togethers like the QTPoC Supper Clubs hosted by Shireen Emami and friends, where folks came to share a meal, meet other people in the community, play games and have fun. Or to commemorate each other’s accomplishments like Cindy Elizabeth and Will Mosley do through their event, BlaQ Awards, where they craft witty and innovative titles to bestow upon Black queer folks in the city. In the past, allgo hosted dance nights and movie nights for folks to decompress and sway to the music or to watch a movie about folks who looked like them and loved like them, and ended it with a riveting community conversation.

In these small but impactful ways, the community builds, expands, and nurtures its members. This is not to say that June isn’t a special month for our community. We enjoy the opportunities where we get to show up and show out! It’s also just as important to remember that we need community every day, and every day, we must tend to that need.

An honorable mention to Rodgerick Bradley who organized Austin Black Pride from 1997 to 2012. He used to invite everybody in his home until folks started showing up in the triple digits, so he shifted to organizing gatherings at hotels and other public venues. Without elders like Rodgerick, who did so much of the ground work, our work would look a lot different.

How are the ways you engage with your community? If you appreciate the sense of community that allgo curates, please come out and support us as we raise funds for the organization at Treasure City Thrift, June 21st, from 6:30 to 9 pm. RSVP at the link here.