In his 1985 essay exploring the meaning of being Black and queer, “Here Be Dragons,” James Baldwin wrote that “the American ideal of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American idea of masculinity.” Good guys and bad guys, tough guys and softies, cowboys and Indians, black and white — all are viewed through a lens of what it means to be male.
Baldwin’s observation explains to me, in part, how the majority of well-funded Pride celebrations can be near the half-century mark and remain, at least on the surface, so white and male. Pride month is purported each June to be a global assertion of the most inclusive celebration of love possible, symbolized by that beacon of hope that says it all, the rainbow flag. But beyond all the flag-waving, parades, and parties, one of the most deserving symbols of inclusivity — Black LGBTQ women — are still largely hidden figures.
Most media continue to cover Pride Month as they always have, focusing on parades, gay men (typically white), rainbows, and rainbow-themed products (like the Facebook stickers and augmented-reality filters that will now be available year-round, because inclusion), and the shocking fact that Trump will not recognize Pride Month for the second year in a row. A scroll through the Twitter moments curated by the company from June 1, for example, gives no indication that women of color were at the forefront of the infamous Stonewall uprising.