A Study about Racism in the LGBTQ Community Strikes Out on the Reality of Race

Recently  Editor of TMPlanet Micah J. Fleck, examined the effects of adding two additional colors to the rainbow flag. The additions were created to better represent all the diversity within the LGBTQ community. Outrage has poured out in white, LGB elite circles since the June 13th revealing of the new design in Philadelphia . In The Curious Case of the Philadelphia Pride Flag, Fleck called out the hypocrisy of LGBT pride leaders across the country, who have expressed outrage of an inclusive symbol, actually becoming all inclusive.

Several South Carolina gay white activist, were quick to deny  that racism is even a problem. Maybe they themselves have not experienced this – privilege often blinds people to the struggles of others. Just because they haven’t had these experiences, that doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist. Their obsessive need for a particular color arrangement is not more important than the message of inclusion.

Now those elite men behind the “Gay Agenda”, have dug even deeper in the sand. On July 7, the Washington Post published, “Yes, there’s racism in the LGBT community. But there’s more outside of it.” Andrew Flores, assistant professor at Mills College, examined the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey (CCES), which included questions addressing the respondent’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The CCES is a large survey comprised of 64,600 interviews. The 2016 survey included 4,946 individuals who self-identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and/or transgender—making up 8.8 percent of the weighted sample.

Flores compared LGBT people of color and white LGBT people to cisgender heterosexual people, both of color and white. He concluded, “on the whole, LGBT people—both those who are white and people of color—are more progressive in their racial attitudes than their cisgender heterosexual counterparts.”
However, there are many problems with the resulting analysis, the biggest being that it isn’t rooted in the real world framework of how LGBT people of color experience racism. Instead, the survey, and thus the author’s extrapolation of its results, are based on three overly simplistic statements: “I am angry that racism exists,” “white people have certain advantages based solely on the color of their skin,” and “racial problems in the U.S. are rare, isolated situations.”

Flores notes that the greatest differences in racial attitudes can be seen in the acknowledgment of white privilege. About 70 percent of cisgender heterosexual people of color, 70 percent of LGBT white people, and 77 percent of LGBT people of color agree that “White people have certain advantages because of the color of their skin,” compared with about 41 percent of cisgender heterosexual white people. In the survey, Flores notes, “white gay, bisexual, and transgender men are just as racially aware as those of color, and similar patterns exist between LGBT white women and women of color.”

But while white privilege is easy enough to acknowledge, that doesn’t necessarily mean white folks are doing much to counter it. We know people of color and white people within the LGBT community have varied reactions to racism, and they are rarely the same or similar.

Now, more than ever, we need more actionable, not attitudinal, responses. We need analyses that center the voices of LGBT people of color rather than white people who have never experienced the nuanced ways that racism expresses itself, often in the form of everyday micro-aggressions.

As a community, we can do so much more. For example; on any given major social media page,  or group for transgender people, not to even mention the greater LGBT forums, there’s limited representation of trans people of color. There are several reasons as to why. One, and the biggest reason is the media. The media still sees our stories as less important, less attractive; unless there’s an horrific tragedy. Second, and still related to the media’s decisions, is our own as a community. Why does the media choose not to represent more people of color? It has a lot to do with what we do as  community, with that information given. More often than not, it is ignored and over looked. If we can only say occasionally, that we are concerned about trans people of color, but  unable to actually show that interest and concern, we contribute to the media’s under representation of trans people of color. We can and we must do more to unite our shared struggles as trans people, to lift up our entire demographic.

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