(June 18, 2020- 5:30pm)
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, Death, and Abuse
A message for the Black men who think they’re exempt from criticism because they aren’t directly hurting others in their community- Do you hold other Black men accountable? Do you associate with abusers? Do you intervene when you see a Black woman being assaulted or harassed? Do you check your associates who bully Black LGBT individuals? If you aren’t doing anything to solve the problem. You are a part of it.
Oluwatoyin Salau, a nineteen -year old girl, was found dead on Monday in Tallahassee, Florida. She had been missing for weeks and was last seen speaking at a Black Lives Matter Protest. Before she went missing, she tweeted about being sexually assaulted by a man who offered her shelter. A man named Aaron Glee has now been charged with her murder and kidnapping.
Oluwatoyin’s story broke my heart and it made me angry. She was hurt by the same men that we continuously protest for. Why should we continue fighting for the same men who hurt us? Black LGBT people and Black women are often at the forefront of Black Lives Matter protests. The creators of Black Lives Matter are queer Black women. I am tired of the support being one-sided.
There are more issues in the Black community than racism but Black people in general do not want to discuss that. The goal isn’t to get rid of homophobia, transphobia, or misogynoir.
If these issues are addressed, we would all have to admit the part we play in it. We would have to admit the ways that those who are unaffected by those issues benefit from it. Let’s be honest, straight, cisgender, Black men are not focused on the plight of others in their community. If they were, those issues would be centered in their organizing. But they’re not because Black men are not trying to dismantle an oppressive system. They want the privileges of being the oppressor.
There is always talk about Black revolution. But the work doesn’t add up from these “revolutionaries.” Why is that when we talk about racism and it’s many issues revolving around it, we only focus on Black men? Why do we focus more on Black men who are victims of police brutality than the Black women and LGBT people who are victims as well? We talk about how mass incarceration affects Black men but not the way it affects Black women and LGBT people. Why is asking that we be included in this conversation seen as being divisive? I thought we were taking about Black liberation?
The Black community has a high rate of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Unfortunately, finding a Black woman or girl who is a survivor of abuse is common. It is also common to read stories of Black women whose abusers killed them. Issues like these are often pushed to the side for the “bigger focus” in our community.
During the Mute R Kelly movement, there was a lot of backlash. Not against R. Kelly, but the women protesting against him and his victims who came forward. Those who spoke out were accused by abuse sympathizers of trying to tear down Black men. The underage girls that he abused were slut shamed. Black women learn that keeping silent about their abuse is beneficial for the Black community. “You don’t want them to send another Black man to jail right?” No one thinks about the psychological damage that abuse has on the victims. Black women must protect their abusers and no one is here to protect them.
Black women play a part in upholding the misogynoir in our community. They uphold transphobia and homophobia too. I see the Black women who side with the abusers of other Black women and girls, sometimes even their own daughters. I see the Black women who laugh about how they would beat their son if they were gay. I see the Black women who talk about how transgender women will never be real women. Black women help contribute to these issues. We are our own worst enemies sometimes. When we uphold these oppressive ideologies, we aid in the ongoing abuse and murders of Black women and Black LGBT people.
Black Transgender women are murdered at high rates every year. They have a life expectancy of thirty-five years old. Riah Milton was twenty-five years old and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells was twenty-seven years old. They were both found murdered within the same twenty-four hour period last week. The suspects of both murders are Black men. A Black transgender woman named Iyanna Dior was recently beaten by a group of Black men in Minneapolis during the Black Lives Matter protests.
People say Black Lives Matter with no meaning behind it. How can it mean anything when anyone who isn’t a straight, cisgender, Black man are treated as disposable? How can it mean anything when straight, cisgender, Black men have always been centered in the movement? Our issues keep being swept under the rug. We are constantly gaslighted into staying silent. To hold Black men accountable means that we hate Black men. We are dividing the community and giving white people what they want. There’s is a problem when a part of the community believes that they are above accountability. Our love for them must be unconditional while their “love” for us is conditional. How can one be about liberating the community when they’re unwilling to listen or change?
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