Editorials

Boxers PHL, a local LGBTQ sports bar, recently closed its doors awaiting further notice due to a liquor license challenge by David Singer, who filed a petition to intervene. While many of the bar’s customers are upset that they can’t grab a drink at this staple queer spot, those who stand to lose the most from the bar’s closing are employees who weren’t given notice of the bar’s closing. The same bar that now has a For Sale sign in front of it, which is described on social media as a “last resort” for owners if the liquor license isn’t transferred in a timely manner. The transfer relies on a hearing, not yet scheduled, in front of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Until a definite decision is made or the bar is sold, employees are in limbo, wondering about income that was, only a few weeks ago, stable. 

February is Black History Month and this issue of PGN is senior- and elder- focused. Considering we’ve arrived in the year 2020, many of our Black seniors were born in the 1930s-50s, coming of age before and during the civil rights movement. While battling the violence of Jim Crow laws and backlash from the civil rights movement, many of these folks were concurrently dealing with homophobia and transphobia, during a time when homosexuality and sodomy were against the law and offered another reason for violence. Some LGBTQ members of the Black community were ostracized from civil rights groups in various locales. Even out gay activist Bayard Rustin, one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand men, faced criticism from within the movement. This, of course, was not always the case. In a 1970 speech, Huey Newton, Black Panthers founder, said, “The women’s liberation front and the gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.”

Last week’s PGN editorial mentioned Bayard Rustin as part of an acknowledgment of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for equality.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is important to LGBTQ folks for a variety of reasons. During the civil rights movement, he used civil disobedience tactics and organizational methods that the LGBTQ community benefits from today. After gay marriage was voted down in New York in 2009, couples showed up outside of City Hall dressed in apparel they hoped to wear to their weddings. Sit-ins in county offices in states that didn’t allow gay marriage were organized across the country, ACT-UP went to the streets to protest in the early 1980s during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Today, LGBTQ folks hold many events to further their own rights and stand in solidarity with immigrants and Black Lives Matter groups at rallies and protests that often feature activist speakers. Many of these strategies are those King deployed and developed. 

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