On Pride month, TGEU joins the global call for racial justice and demands an end to racial violence and police brutality.
Today, as many Black trans people lose their lives to police brutality and structural violence, silence is a luxury we cannot afford. We can no longer remain spectators; the struggles for racial justice and trans liberation are interconnected. May we be reminded that if any amongst us are affected, we are all impacted.
TGEU wishes to centre the voices of Black trans people and go back to the origins of Pride. The Stonewall riots in 1969, mainly led by LGBTQ+ people of colour such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were about resisting police brutality and oppression. Fifty-one years later, many Black trans lives continue to be cut short by institutional and police violence.
Trans people living at the intersections of other marginalised identities, particularly Black trans women, experience unique barriers to safety. The everyday realities of Black trans people are dominated by violence perpetrated by law enforcement agents and reproduced by discriminatory policing and racial profiling. This situation is even worse for Black trans women sex workers and Black trans people working in informal economies. Furthermore, Black trans refugees and asylum seekers also face structural violence in heavily policed and militarised areas such as border controls and migration offices.
Globally, police brutality remains a significant threat to the safety and lives of many Black trans people. TGEU demands robust commitment and immediate actions by states to end racist, discriminatory, and violent structures that fortify the oppression of Black trans people.
We call upon our non-Black communities and allies to move beyond embracing intersectionality as a principle and to join efforts in fighting to end and condemn white supremacy. There is a need to do self-analysis and commit to concrete actions against racism, prejudice, and violence in our homes, societies, and communities.
We also strongly urge non-Black activists and organisations to advocate for racial justice and for an end to the culture of racist hate and structural violence. We encourage the support of wellness and safety of Black trans people, including clear action plans and support structures for the most vulnerable communities such as Black trans women and trans youth who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
As we celebrate Pride, we also celebrate the resilience of Black people everywhere. TGEU expresses solidarity and support to all Black trans lives.
Let this Pride month be a reminder of the sacrifices and resilience of Black trans communities. May we continue to draw inspiration from their acts of defiance against police impunity and repression. There is no justice unless and until we are all free.
My name is Carter Honorée. I am a Rwandese Black trans activist and have been involved in the LGBTIQ community since 2008. In 2019, after facing violence and persecution in Rwanda, I sought asylum in Belgium, where I currently live.
I have been brutalised by the police back in Rwanda for being a trans person, ran away to find refuge in Belgium, and realised that the colour of my skin poses a huge additional threat. It terrifies me to have to survive as a Black trans man, soon perceived as a Black cis man, in an anti-Black-trans system. The racism and disrespect, even in queer spaces, deeply affect Black trans minds and bodies. We start losing a sense of belonging and finally believe to be good for nothing. It is extremely exhausting to have to constantly look over my shoulder, to live on the defensive, because of the colour of my skin.
For me, Pride is a time to scream my anger against all the discrimination faced by black LGBTQ+ people and all the dissatisfaction with a system that is anti-black. It is also a time to remind the world that I am here: so black, so trans, so staying. It is a time to mourn, remember, and celebrate the ones who left us and the lives of the ones that are still fighting. It goes beyond police brutality and racism. The discrimination Black trans people face for seeking healthcare, jobs, homes; the murders that happen every day: those don’t get media attention and justice is never done. I hope we can use this year’s Pride to give light to issues that have been shoved aside and that are killing trans people all over the world. You can run away from a violent environment, but you can’t run away from what it did to you.
Pride would have never been possible without Black trans women who gave voice to the voiceless. Pride needs to go further than white queer people dressing up, dancing, and taking pictures. White queer people who despise Black queer people and do not allow them in their circles of leadership. White people with a performative allyship, who scream about Black lives matter, but don’t promote our work, don’t hire us, and use our experiences and then appear like saviours. We don’t need white saviours.
I would love to see a world where being a Black trans man does not equate threat, theft, and tyranny. I would love to see a world where Black and brown trans women are not savagely killed every day. I would love to see a world where true allyship does not only mean rioting with me but changing your own systematic racism in your offices, your homes, and your communities. I would love to see a world where Black trans people are not forced to sex work to survive and see Black trans sex workers live with dignity and not brutalised by the same people who cannot go without their services. I would love to see a world where Black trans people are respected and accepted for who we are. Black trans lives not only matter but are essential.