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Black queer people are still regularly harassed and threatened

Nick Duffy July 7, 2019
Men wave rainbow and 'black lives matter' flags while marching in the annual LGBTQI Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25, 2017 in San Francisco, California.

Men wave rainbow and 'black lives matter' flags while marching in the annual LGBTQI Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty)

Black lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel harassed or threatened multiple times a year, according to a new Black Census report.

62 percent of gay and lesbian Black Census respondents report having felt threatened or harassed at least a few times a year, while a quarter say they feel threatened or harassed once a week or more.

The data comes from the US-based Black Futures Lab, which gathered responses from 5,400 black LGB people to its self-selecting Black Census survey.

Black queer people: Violence is a major problem

According to the group’s report, “more than 78 percent of LGB Black Census respondents report that violence against gays, lesbians, and transgender people is a problem in the community, and 62 percent or more say it is a major problem.”

The data also shows that black LGB people’s biggest concerns include “bread-and-butter economic issues like low pay, unaffordable health care, and access to housing.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, who set up the project, explained: “Too often, Black LGB+ people are perceived as distinct and separate from the larger Black community and defined more by their sexual orientation than their race.

“Attending a gay wedding and changing your Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag is great, but it’s simply not enough.”

“In fact, LGB+ respondents prioritise the same concerns as the rest of the Black community and face triple consciousness: violence and discrimination based not only on race but gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”

“Black LGB+ people often lose employment opportunities, access to housing and quality affordable health care because of how we identify.

A woman holds a pro-LGBT placard on a Martin Luther King Day march. File photo.
A woman holds a pro-LGBT placard on a Martin Luther King Day march. File photo. (Reza/Getty Images)

“It is important for policymakers, activists and community groups to remember this and create an agenda that reflects that understanding when representing and serving Black LGB+ people.

“Attending a gay wedding and changing your Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag is great, but it’s simply not enough.”

Separate Black Census report will focus on trans experiences

The group is planning to release a separate report looking at the experience of trans and non-binary people.

It explained: “While transgender and gender non-conforming people are frequently combined with LGB+ people into a
single group (often described as LGBTQ+), Black Futures Lab has chosen to consider gender identification separately from
sexual orientation in order to highlight in a separate report the distinct viewpoints of Black Census respondents who identify
as transgender, gender non-conforming, or identify with a gender different than male or female.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, UK Black Pride is taking place on Sunday (June 7).

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