• Gus Bussmann

Pride Month + Black Lives Matter

We are now in June, Pride month and the opportunity to reflect on what we share as a community, to celebrate our language, group identification and protest against oppression. It is the time when we are all gather to acknowledge the fight of our predecessors and demand that Law is more than violence and control, but an instrument for protection that brings effectivity to democracy standards.

This year, more than ever, we are urged to remember that our fight only exists because of our black siblings: from the Stonewall uprising to the judicial battles that made our current rights a reality. For me, Pride Month 2020 should also remember the pioneer Dr. Franklyn Kameny, a victim of the Lavender Scare in 1957 where he was deemed as a homosexual and lost his job due to his ‘shameful and perverse practices’.

Dr. Kameny was the first American national to bring his case to the Supreme Court, where he pleaded for his civil rights and his right to ‘perform homosexual acts’. For the first time there was a case mentioning equality, human dignity and the existence of a ‘homosexual identity’, the existence of a social group. He argued that his fight was akin to the racial movements who also had liberties attacked by the government, the judicial system and the American society.

Although he lost his judicial battle, he kept fighting. When he joined the Mattachine Society, he wrote: ‘We feel that, for the 15,000,000 American homosexuals, we are in much the same position as the NAACP is in for the Negro, except for the minor difference that the Negro is fighting official prejudice and discrimination at the state and local level, whereas we are fighting official prejudice and discriminatory policy and practice, as ill-founded, as unreasonable, as unrealistic, and as harmful to society and to the nation, at the Federal level [as well]. Both are fighting personal prejudice at all levels. For these reasons, and because we are trying to improve the position of a large group of citizens presently relegated to second-class citizenship in many respects, we should have, if anything, the assistance of the Federal government, and not its opposition’. When LGBT+ rights were finally acknowledged by the Supreme Court, Dr. Kameny’s arguments were present and the decisions included similarities between LGBT+rights and racial equality.

Dr. Kameny was the founding father of the judicial fight for LGBT+ rights as a group, a community that shares different forms of identity - which was only possible, even if years later, by the acknowledgement of the struggles of the black community. The LGBT+ community and the black community must be united to deny any form of exploitation, must pursue judicial protection and life in a society that embraces difference and celebrate different forms of identity.

Judicial, political and social nuances of one’s identity in the LGBT+ community have the influence of the constructions and victories of the black movement - so their fight is our fight, where we should constantly learn, support and follow. This group conscience includes outrage against power relations and oppression, the permanent understanding that peace can only be achieved through justice.

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