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‘When we say all black lives matter, we mean black trans folks, we mean black queer folks. There’s a significant amount of queerness and transness happening on the front line, and we are it. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.’
This statement by Patrisse Cullors, one of the three founders of the #BlackLiveMatter hashtag, opens up a powerful seven minute documentary released last Friday by MSNBC. The documentary titled Queerness on the Front Lines of #BlackLivesMatter profiles the pivotal role black LGBT individuals have played in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The main subject is Patrisse Cullors who talks about the 2013 origins of the hashtag, the historical significance of queer and trans people being present in the movement, her struggles after coming out, and her objective to make sure all black lives matter and not just the lives of straight and cisgender black boys and men.
‘It started to become clear as the hashtag and the movement started to grow that a historical narrative was playing out. The historic narrative of black people has been the fighting for black, cis-hetero, Christian men. Both their lives, but them being at the forefront of the conversation.
‘I think there was a sort of thing for black folks where it was like: “being black is already hard enough. Why do – it’s too much to try to be black and gay [or] black and trans [or] black, trans, and poor. That’s like too much. So let’s focus on this one issue that’s called ‘blackness’ as if blackness [encompasses] all of everything. As if blackness is only one thing. And then once we get that down, then we can focus on the other things. But that’s actually a very harmful narrative.”‘
Cullors then talks about the movement’s reclaiming of February as ‘Black Future Month’ as we listen to a trans black woman talk about how she will be getting her Masters in Criminal Justice.
The last words and images of the doc show Cullors leading her group in this bold proclamation: ‘It is our duty to fight for freedom! It is our duty to win! We must love and support one another! We have nothing to lose but our chains!’
View the film below: