Both racism and LGBT discrimination need to be addressed
In this month’s issue of Lesbian News, Beth Shipp, Executive Director of LPAC said that the LGBT community should “– as a whole– to stand tall as champions for social justice and specifically for racial justice.”
Shipp’s article comes in the wake of last month’s friction between #BlackLivesMatter and the LGBT community during the Toronto Pride Parade.
A study on racism and LGBT discrimination
While racism targets people of color, it also affects the LGBT community by targeting its members who are people of color.
A recent report noted that LGBT people of color are particularly vulnerable when being treated during police interactions, court proceedings, and confinement in the US criminal justice system.
The report– “Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People of Color”– was conducted by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) together with the Center for American Progress.
“Whether they are interacting with law enforcement, going to court, confined in prisons or jails, or preparing for reentry into society, the story is the same: LGBT people of color face an extraordinarily high risk of discriminatory treatment and abuse in our criminal justice system,” said Ineke Mushovic, MAP executive director.
According to the report, LGBT people of color are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, i.e. 1 in 5 young people in US juvenile justice facilities identifies as LGBTQ, while 85 percent of these individuals are youth of color.
“Statistically, it is quite clear that the criminal justice system has prospered from the disproportionate impact it has had on black and brown people. As LGBT people of color, this impact is twofold, as our multiple identities too often represent threats and garner disrespect,” said Isaiah Wilson, external affairs manager of the National Black Justice Coalition.
Pres. Obama on racism and LGBT discrimination
American President Barack Obama has also spoken on how the mindset for homophobia is rooted in the same mindset as racism.
“The same, by the way, is true for sexual orientation. I spoke about this in Africa, and everybody is like, oh, oh, we don’t want to hear that. But the truth of the matter is, is that if you’re treating people differently just because of who they love and who they are, then there’s a connection between that mindset and the mindset that led to racism, and the mindset that leads to ethnic conflict. It means that you’re not able to see somebody else as a human being,” Pres. Obama said.
The US President made the statement during at a three-day summit for the Young African Leaders Initiative in Washington, DC.
“As part of the LGBT community, we continue to battle for legal and social equality, including workplace and housing non-discrimination protections. But, many in our community (and allies beyond) face yet another layer of
struggle: racial discrimination and animus that literally can kill,” Shipp said.
For more on Shipp’s article, check out the August issue of Lesbian News.