By Viktor T. Kerney, Guest Columnist
On June 26, the Supreme Court delivered a historic ruling for Marriage Equality. Same-sex couples now have the freedom to marry in all 50 states. All of the hard work and dedication finally paid off.
But not everyone felt joyous and liberated. Many queer people of color saw the marriage win as a hollow victory. Placing marriage at the forefront belittled issues pertaining to queer communities of color.
Of course we are grateful we can marry the ones we love, but how can we truly celebrate when our lives, our experiences are disregarded and disparaged? For many queer people of color, this wasn’t the victory that would change things forever. In fact, many didn’t feel that the fight for marriage equality really included us.
When you looked at the articles, magazine covers or TV interviews, all you would see is white male faces. You would hear their point of view, their experiences and their struggles. All through the marriage battle, it was clear that white gay males were the brand of the movement. Suddenly, other matters like the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, transgender issues and LGBT youth, got pushed aside. We heard that once the fight for marriage equality was done, the focus would shift on these matters. However, the question is, will the same amount of energy and vigor be there for these battles?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure. I’m not sure the overall LGBTQ movement understands that this victory was only round one and that the struggle doesn’t end with the freedom to marry. This is just the beginning of an ongoing fight. The overall LGBTQ community has to open its eyes and see what’s going on within. I need for them to see that in 32 states we can still be fired for being gay. Or, how our transgender sisters are being killed in horrific ways and then, misgendered by the media. How more and more LGBTQ youth are rapidly becoming homeless and forced into a life of crime or prostitution just to stay alive. How racism is destroying the very foundation of our community, the deportation of undocumented LGBTQ people, the record numbers of deaths from the police and how black lives are completely disdained in America.
As a black gay man, it is hard to celebrate our marriage victory, knowing these problems are haunting us every single day. The same streets my gay brothers and sisters are cheering on, are the same streets filled with the blood of my black brothers and my black transgender sisters. As people plan to marry their partners, there are undocumented people being torn apart from their love ones and families. We stood together during this fight for marriage equality, now we need to stand, side by side, to continue the battle.
As I stated earlier, the marriage victory was just the first round. The fight for job projections, transgender rights and basic human rights is on the docket. If we are going to call this the new civil rights movement, then we all have to be involved. It’s not just a transgender battle, or a people-of-color battle… It’s our battle. So please, don’t think it’s over. We’re just getting started.
All hands on deck.
Kerney enjoys writing and discussing LGBTQ issues, pop culture, and social justice. His work has been featured in Bilerico Project, Buzzfeed and Moviepilot.