By TJ Mitchell
Black History Month celebrates the legacy of black lives, but we somehow don’t celebrate the legacy of black queer
lives — often forgotten, as if we have not been part of a larger struggle and story that has shaped the queer black community we all experience today. The histories and struggles of queer black communities and our contributions are frequently erased and missing from the mainstream narratives. Deemed unworthy of saving or even being recognized by society, they often remain buried in files and boxes in the homes of the individuals who participated in those activities.
This loss of information threatens to erase us from the history of the queer black community, and it is vitally important that this space is reclaimed and held. Black people have always been at the center of the LGBTQIA+ liberation movement, from Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie, who were major figures in the Stonewall uprisings of 1969, to modern day leaders like Lori Lightfoot (pictured above, left), the first openly LGBTQIA+ black female Mayor for the city of Chicago, and Mondaire Jones, one of the first openly black LGBTQIA+ member of Congress.
When we think of black history, everyone thinks of the original leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, but as a LGBTQIA+, I like to think of the African Americans that made a difference in my life as a LGBTQIA+ person.
As an African American, I take pride in my history and take time to learn more about my roots and past. Black History Month is the way our nation honors its greatest moments and greatest people, giving it a special meaning for all Americans.
As a gay African American who is a social media influencer and content creator, I use my platform to teach and highlight the amazing and beautiful roots of my history. I love to show that my history is not just a month, but that we are proud of who we are 365 days a year. I use my platform to shine a light so bright that other LGBTQIA+ of color can find the path and know that they are never alone in this world, that our history, movements, fights, victories and successes will be told and remembered.
As a LGBTQIA+ of color we have so much to be proud of; we are the products of the strong leaders that fought for us to have the freedom to live our lives in the light today. They would be so proud that we get to shine by living our lives in our truth.
Never let anyone take your history away from you. History is there for anyone willing to do the research. So, when people say the LGBTQIA+ community was not part of the radical changes in our history, just dig deep. Trust me you will learn something that will blow your mind! Our community is strong, amazing, and beautiful. Black History Month is just another place to show our strengths.
– TJ Mitchell a local LGBTQIA+ African American social media Influencer in San Antonio, Texas. He is a self published author on Amazon with the novel “I Am Me.” TJ truly enjoys being creative and learning new ways to showcase what can be done.