June 28, 2015
Why I’m Black, Queer, and I’m Unafraid and Unapologetic to Celebrate Gay Marriage Today
I am Black, Salvadoran, and Gender fluid all at once. I don’t get to chose to be something different on a different day. I am me and all of me at every moment, every single second of the day .
Often people want me to choose though. Am I Black? Am I Salvadoran? Or am I gay today? They want me to compartmentalize my identity. Pick the piece they like out of me and leave the rest behind – like trail mix. Today this victory doesn’t stretch across all of my identities. Today we are celebrating gay marriage while my Black brothers and sisters are still dying, so now you ask me, today, am I Black or Gay? As if I don’t hold both my identities in my heart, so fragile, but still together. As if I wasn’t shouting “Black lives matter” at every march with my Black people while my Black fist was in the air. As if I don’t know the names well: Mike Brown, Kayla Moore, Oscar Grant, Blake Brockington, Mya Hall. As if I didn’t lead chants, marches, and lost broken people. As if I don’t fight for Black liberation. As if i don’t weep for my people. As if I don’t fight every day just as much as the next Black person. As if I didn’t know it was Cash money record takin over from the ‘99 to the 2000’s and also I will survive and YMCA! But who am I today, you ask? I am both Black, Queer and here, with the right to hold both my identities in this celebration, don’t worry I will never get complacent. Black and Queer folx will never be complacent, how when we can’t even celebrate freely without our straight counterparts reminding us “Black is still illegal”. As if this victory isn’t a victory for all of us. Why are you reminding me, do you think I need to be reminded? I should be reminding you to fight for me too. Because when you say Black Lives Matter are you including me? Black and Queer me? The founders of Black Lives Matter were! But are YOU including me? Queer Black people fight for Black lives Matter every single damn day just like you, so do us all a favor and uplift us on this one day, during this one small victory, JUST ONCE! Please, because the day before yesterday my marriage would not have been recognized, and today it is..a right straight people been having for a cool minute now.. So please excuse me if I’m excited!
And please find a different place to direct your anger, because directing it towards another marginalized group is called divide and conquer. We should all stick together and be happy that now that racist, homophobic, and conservative people are so sad about the week that SCOTUS is having that they will cry us a river all the way to California and end this drought.
But on a serious note: Tomorrow I will continue to fight this battle of Black Live Matter and Trans Lives Matter and all the other fucked up shit in the world but today I will take time to celebrate, because Love has won. Love will always win. It hasn’t failed me yet.
Peace, Love and Light,
Alana Banks is a member of the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley. They are also the newly elected Black and Queer Senator.