Last night, I attended Equality Utah’s Allies Dinner, themed “Queer New World”, on behalf of our organization, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.
While this organization is fairly new to Utah, the need for it’s existence IS NOT. Marginalization within queer movements is not a new thing, and white savourism ABOUNDS in Utah.
I am typing this, because I can no longer, WILL no longer be silent.
Last night, I arrived to this event, and was not surprised, yet saddened by the incredible lack of people of color in the building. At 150 dollars a ticket, I knew I would not see many familiar faces. The people that I did see, seemed to be enjoying the celebration. After all, it’s taken years for people to build up to the momentum that we now have, 2015 has been our year.
And, yet, for me 2015 was the year in which we saw MORE trans deaths, more than ever. This is the year that we saw race make it onto the papers, this was the year that our hermana Jennicet Gutierrez challenged Obama AND ALL GAY MOVEMENTS to look beyond the binary, and to address the ongoing history of white supremacy in the so-called-USA.
White liberals are often at home at these events, because THESE EVENTS ARE MADE FOR THEM, and yet, I tried, and sat eating quinoa, a sacred grain from my homeland, Peru. A grain, that my mother hasn’t been able to afford in years, due to it’s high rise in demand.
Even while trying to make the best of the evening, I couldn’t help but notice the little things; the amount of white award recipients, and the people of color PRESENTING the awards, the gendered bathrooms, and the firm line between the classes.
While this event was marketed to me, by friends, as an opportunity to network, when stuck away from “the powers that be”, networking is harder. Not only that, it becomes absurd. The people on the “poor side”, already knew me, the people in the VIP lounge, liked me, but only enough to have small talk with me. In between them all, were the people who had heard from me before, had seen my work, and yet were still firm in their belief that change would come “eventually”.
So called activists have already hailed this event, but as someone who rejects the “A” word, I for one, do not.
Like Columbus, YOU HAVE NOT DISCOVERED THIS QUEER NEW WORLD. This world is occupied, has been occupied, by beautiful people, people of color, people that transcend gender, and politics. We DO NOT have a political agenda, because the change that we need, goes beyond what politicians decide.
We do not recognize the borders of your queer new world, your flag is not our flag.
Instead, we see our traditions, and our people, and we wonder, when will your movement realize that without us, it’s NOT inclusive at all? You often talk of stonewall, yet forget that it was us who stood first. You talk about the movement, yet forget to mourn and to honor the fallen.
We see you. I see you. But, do you see me?