Allyship is like friendship. There are many ways to show #BlackLove and this is one of the most powerful, a demonstration of solidarity! Being an ally goes beyond words by leveraging our resources to take action on behalf of the community. Just as we support our families, watching them soar to incredible heights, we include and embolden the Black LGBTQ+ community as they rise. The world has come to recognize that love is love… love feels the same regardless of the form it takes.
Throughout history LGBTQ+ community leaders have been on the forefront of civil rights.
- Lorraine Hansberry, a Black lesbian playwright and writer, wrote on Black liberation and our impact on the world, as well as the silencing of homosexuality. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gift, and Black”, a phrase we are all feel as we live out our #BlackExcellence.
- Bayard Rustin fought for the end in racial discrimination in employment during the March on Washington Movement in 1941, he was instrumental in teaching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about nonviolence, and he urged the unionization of African Americans. Though his sexual orientation limited his publicity in the Civil Rights Movement, his massive influence has earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom decades later.
- James Baldwin, American winter and social critic, a friend of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., explored the themes of masculinity, race, class and sexuality. His life and his international acclaim were just as complex as his mission to address the human experience. He inspired such creatives as the filmmaker, Raoul Peck, and the American novelist, Toni Morrison. In his last interview, James Baldwin expressed of Toni Morrison: “Toni’s my ally and it’s really probably too complex to get into”… and at his eulogy Toni remarked: “‘Our crown,’ you said, ‘has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.'”
- Lastly, Angela Davis, educator and activist, is a major figure in the prison abolition movement and champion of women’s rights, co-chairing the January 21, 2017, Women’s March on Washington.
Gladys Bentley, Bayard Rustin, Stormé DeLarverie, Alvin Ailey, Audre Lorde, Ernestine Eckstein, Marsha P. Johnson, and Willi Ninja are just a few social justice leaders who identified with the LGBTQ+ community. What a crew of #BlackRoyalty!
These champions of #BlackExcellence during the civil rights movement have inspired such leaders today as Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, Alphonso David, the first Black President of the Human Rights Campaign, Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder at Black Lives Matter, and Janet Mock, producer and transgender rights activist.
From civil rights to the groundbreaking visibility and empowerment of Pose, the iconic show placing trans women is leading roles, there is no denying the impact of Black LGBTQ+ leaders for our community. These leaders, young and old, took to the streets in the summer of 2020 to remind us that Black Trans rights are essential in our fight for #BlackLivesMatter.
We all need allies in life because they allow us to materialize and shape the world into a vision of equality. Let’s use our power to shop with and economically support Black LGBTQ+ identifying businesses. Our collective financial support for the community is one of the most powerful ways we can show allyship and spread #BlackLove. #BuyBlack to #BuildBlack! k!