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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 25
Why we need a Queer and Transgender people of color contingent at Pride
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Why we need a Queer and Transgender people of color contingent at Pride

by Bish Paul - Courtesy of Trikone Northwest

Pride can be the one day of the year when the public expression of sexuality and difference becomes fun and educational at the same time! We need a Queer and Transgender people of color (QTPOC) contingent to increase our visibility as a group and to work towards achieving unity and solidarity within the beautiful mosaic that is the Queer people of color community.

Fabulous comes in several forms! It isn't just the popular media's representation of Gays as lighter-skinned, male, cis-gendered, liberated, and middle-class to affluent folk. While some of us fit snugly into that stereotype, some of us are questioning, Transgender, immigrants, refugees, undocumented, or low-income. It's imperative to continue breaking stereotypes and demonstrating that we come from all walks of life. Historically, communities of color do not have as many 'out and proud' members, which makes it tough for a child to not feel isolated growing up. It also makes it that much harder for our families to accept us since they lack understanding of what they perceive to be a 'lifestyle' that is alien to their community. Even within the Queer community, the images and stories of the non-normative get overshadowed. It's easy enough to conjure up images of Harvey Milk, but trying to name a nationally recognizable QTPOC activist leaves one stymied!

QTPOC is an umbrella encompassing so many different identities, political commitments, concerns, struggles, and dreams that there is no one agenda. Different issues are a priority depending on the breadth of our identities. Marching as a contingent helps us build solidarity across all these different issues and pieces of our identities.

Effective activism requires alliances between peoples and organizations, even across countries and cultures. Living in a politically liberal city with a lot of LGBT rights and protections available has empowered us. Cognizant of this privilege, we also march for all those who cannot due to hatred and persecution in our countries of origin.

It does get better, but not without building alliances and education. Our contingent includes diverse groups, from Voices Rising and the Ladies First Collective, which are primarily arts organizations, to political organizations like the Asian and Pacific Islander Safety Center and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, to groundbreaking organizations like the country's first Asian and Pacific Islander Freedom School. The Bollywood Project will be celebrating cultures and colors by blending traditional dances with contemporary pieces - a metaphor for the blending of the cultures of our countries of origin with American culture. Sahngnoksoo, an organization of Koreans and Korean-Americans creating social change, will be providing the heady drumbeats to whose rhythm we will surge forward.

So bring your family, friends, allies, dogs, signs, and your activism! March for human rights! March for dignity! March with Pride! Join our Meet and Greet (and eat) at the Pre-Parade Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. on June 26 at the Cherry Street Coffeehouse at 1st Avenue and Seneca Street.

This event is being organized by Trikone Northwest, an LGBT organization serving South Asians.

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