Community gathers, violence continues

Community gathers, violence continues

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This weekend held two events crucial to the local and regional LGBTQ community: OutFest and Philly Trans March. With different missions and intentions, both events bring together folks of our community and allow LGBTQ individuals to be the majority, rather than the minority, if only for a few hours.

But this weekend also showed that queer folks are still facing discrimination and hate, that we are still internalizing this rhetoric and must continue to march and gather. A trans man was allegedly attacked in an Old City store for wearing a shirt that read “Trans Lives Matter” directly following OutFest. A trans woman comedian from Philadelphia died by suicide last weekend after saying goodbye to her friends Oct. 11 on Facebook.

Tragedy after tragedy after tragedy, week after week after week.

On Oct. 13, a gay man in Queens, New York was beaten and robbed after refusing to have sexual relations with a stranger. Last week, a  gay student in Texas was nominated for homecoming king, and then other students began bullying him, using slurs and insults. Nineteen trans people have been killed this year, one of them Philadelphia’s own Tameka “Michelle” Washington.

At PGN, we cover this kind of news locally every week. It is hard for our reporters to write, difficult to edit and certainly tough for our readers to digest. While we offer many positive stories about community organizing and nonprofit leadership, economic gains and mobility, it is challenging to ignore the violence and discrimination that takes up a large portion of our pages, whether physical, emotional or legislative.

Politicians spoke last week about issues impacting the LGBTQ community at CNN’s LGBTQ Democratic debate. While revolutionary and heart-warming at times, it’s hard to believe that many of the candidates are intimately familiar with how much pain and trauma this community suffers daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and generationally.

The LGBTQ community’s commitment to fighting for equality and equity is admirable. That youth are coming out in larger numbers and earlier in their lives is hopeful. That we are beginning to focus on intersectionality and understand the increased systemic oppression experienced by QTPOC is progress, even if it took far too long. And while this community will never tire of activism and PGN will never tire of accurate, in-depth LGBTQ reporting, I think we would all like to see at least one week free of violence toward our community. Perhaps too, we dream about the privilege to rest.  

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