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House Democrats vow to ‘uplift’ and celebrate ‘fearless’ Black LGBT+ heroes past and present

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

House Democrats have vowed to “uplift” the contributions of queer Black people, recognising them as “fearless trailblazers in American culture and society”.

House Resolution 170 was introduced by congresswoman Barbara Lee, a vice-chair and founding member of the Equality Caucus, and co-sponsored by 29 other congress members.

It specifically names 26 Black LGBT+ people deserving of celebration, including civil rights activists Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Marsha P Johnson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza.

Other notable figures are Stormé DeLarverie, a Stonewall veteran and drag performer known as “the Rosa Parks of the gay community”, Carter Brown, founder and National Director of Black TransMen Inc., Phill Wilson, HIV activist and founder of the Black AIDS Institute, alongside the many “whose names we will never know”.

“The accomplishments of Black LGBTQ+ citizens have often been downplayed or ignored while they face the compounding impacts of racism and anti-LGBTQ+ bias. However, these harsh realities have not diminished the impact of notable Black LGBTQ+ leaders,” Lee said in a statement.

“This resolution is an important step in ensuring that their contributions are remembered and properly commemorated.”

If the legislation is approved the House of Representatives will formally recognise and celebrate Black queer Americans alongside the wider African American community during Black History Month.

The move is endorsed by the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, Equality CA, and National Black Justice Coalition.

“We are beyond proud to partner with congresswoman Lee to introduce this important resolution highlighting the accomplishments of so many inspiring Black LGBTQ+ leaders,” said Equality California executive director Rick Chavez Zbur.

“The struggles for racial justice and LGBTQ+ equality are not the same, but they have always been intertwined … We’re grateful for the opportunity to celebrate their work and their transformative impacts on our nation.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing a rival to the Equality Act that will allow Christians to discriminate against LGBT+ people on the basis of religious freedom.