Marriage Equality and the LGBTQ Movement

June 26, 2015

We applaud the verdict from the United States Supreme Court that legalizes same-sex marriage in every state of our nation. This is a big win for LGBTQ equality, and we celebrate the many people who fought to make it happen.

This historic moment is the result of decades of people working for change: of taking stands when it wasn’t comfortable to do so, of coming out of the closet, of shifting the conversation and educating people, of organizing critical mass engagement.

In the same respect, we need to continue these strategies as we work to bring equity and justice to the many LGBTQ people of color in our community and beyond.

Marriage equality is not the central issue in the lives of most LGBTQ people of color. The challenges they face are the ones that impact their lives every day: discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and other systems; poverty and economic insecurity; harassment, sexual assault, and violence, to name just a few.

For the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ movement, activism is a matter of survival.

  • African American and Latina women in same-sex couples are three and two times more likely, respectively, to be poor than their white counterparts.
  • 40 percent of homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and those of color are more likely to become homeless and stay homeless for longer periods of time
  • Transgender women of color were murdered at a rate of almost one per week in the United States during the first two months of this year.
  • The average life expectancy of a black transgender woman is 35 years.

To achieve justice, we cannot leave anyone behind, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Let us use this historic moment as an opportunity to prioritize the issues that matter to LGBTQ people of color, and center the work of queer and trans women of color.

Today, we have much to celebrate. And tomorrow, we shall continue to fight for dignity, justice, and equity in the LGBTQ movement.


Readings and Resources:

No Matter What the Supreme Court Decides, the Fight for LGBT Equality Isn’t Over
It’s Incredibly Scary to be a Transgender Woman of Color Right Now
Why LGBT Women Face a Uniquely High Risk of Poverty