I think that a powerful element that boost the morale of an oppressed people is the history of the pioneers that came before the current generation. No matter how gruesome, knowing that your ancestors prevailed against dire adversity, keep the hope of a bright future alive. That is why the image of Martin Luther King Jr and his legacy prevailing is so important. Hold on though. This Diamond Stylz writing this. I am apart of a few cultures of oppressed people not just the African American one. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality was wonderful for the Black Civil Right movement and consequently the Sexual Revolution that start during that same time. The difference is that the stigma (based on religion of course) that surround the sexual revolution hindered much of the documentation of the history of pioneers in the sexual movement. Whereas race did not have that harsh of a stigma anymore so people documented the Civil Rights movement freely in literature and arts. One incident that proves my point is Toni Morrison‘s role in bringing the Black Feminist Movement in literature to the American mainstream. If Morrison did not work for Random House as an editor in 1966 some of the great writers of the era, like Angela Davis Gayl Jones, Toni Cade Bambara , would not have been published. Therefore these writers legacy and triumphs would not have been heard today by this generation. There stories empower the next generation. Were there people in that time promoting the LGBT cause like Toni? Im sure there were but very few
People suppressed our(LGBT) stories and triumphs which made our empowerment stagnant. Did you know that there was Black GAY Civil Right pioneer? Bayard Rustin was one. Bayard Rustin was one of the chief organizer of the March on Washington and one of the people that counseled Martin Luther King Jr in techniques on the non-violent approach in the movement. Only reason why Rustin was not one of the figurehead was because he was gay. Back then homosexuality was criminalized so people felt his sexual orientation would compromise the movement over all so he stayed behind the scenes allowing King and other to be in the forefront because they fit the less controversial image. So as a result gay teens today do not know that a gay-equivalent to King existed, so that boost of morale that could be there when getting bullied in the hall of a highschool is not there. I point this out not to undermine Martin Luther King Jr role as a martyr or powerful speaker for our progression but to point out that it was not just his dream. That dream was the dream of many, a tapestry of individual fighting for equality from all walks of life and struggle. As the LGBT community, we have to remember and find strength in the fact that a lot of our pioneers songs were unsung. We have to know that they were there in the trenches fight for the right that we have now sing the same Free At Last lyrics as the others. Even trans specifically have a pioneer to be proud of. Click to check out the story of Lady Java
The beauty of the internet and the current state of the world is not only that we can connect to people we would never had connected to around the world but that even the most minuscule occurrence can be record and documented. So our stories can be told and our pioneers in this generation do not have to be lost and unsung like the generation before us.
- HIV-positive black gay men to get the Bayard Rustin Project, a District campaign against AIDS – Amanda Hess | TBD.com (tbd.com)