Moving Beyond Performative Ally Behaviors During Pride

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For Pride this year, challenge yourself to move beyond simple performative ally behaviors. Learn ways you can use your efforts to dismantle white supremacy and create change that impacts us all!

Moving Beyond Performative Ally Behaviors During Pride

It is time for Pride Month! I look forward to this time of the year, every year, to remind myself of how far I have come and to remind myself of where we all need to go. It’s a time of celebration, normally. But the experience isn’t shared similarly across all identities. Looking through my Facebook memories, the following image popped up from 2020. I felt inclined to share it here. 

The image from June 8, 2020, a Twitter post from user @aliciatcrosby, says:

Dear White People

We don’t need y’all to performatively wash our feet, cut your hair, wear kente cloth, or do the wobble.

We need you to address your personal complicity in white supremacy & work in solidarity to confront white supremacy in your communities & in the world.

Twitter user @aliciatcrosby, June 8, 2020.

I think about this sentiment often.

Especially when Pride rolls around.


De-Centering White Supremacy during Pride

A wonderful example of the centering of white identity that is ahistorical is the 2015 movie, Stonewall. A re-telling of the riots that occurred outside the Stonewall Inn during the summer of 1969, the movie has a cis, white male protagonist who in the movie is shown throwing the first brick through the bar windows. 

Many historical accounts share that the Black and Latino trans patrons riled up the crowd to throw found items into the bar, where the police found themselves trapped during the start of the riot. 

A major motion picture, even in 2015, would have struggled to tell this story that did not center on a white person’s experience during this pivotal moment in modern-day LGBTQ+ history. Yet, its story is shared as if it was true.

Pride march outside of the Stonewall Inn, 2019. Photo by Nour Chamoun for Scop.io

For so long, Pride events have focused on the well-earned victories as experienced by cis, white people: marriage equality, media representation, corporate recognition.

Digging Deeper

But when we dig deeper, we see that this isn’t the reality for many people within the LGBTQ+ community. For instance, some disabled queer people are not able to take advantage of marriage equality lest they forgo their disability benefits. Or they aren’t able to attend events, because event planners didn’t take their physical or mental needs into consideration. 

Regarding media representation, in 2014 GLAAD’s shared in its annual “Where We Are on TV” report, “that out of the 813 broadcast network’s series regular characters, only 13% are black, 8% Latino/Latina, 4% Asian, and 2% multi-racial. Out of the 74 LGBT-identified characters on mainstream broadcast networks, only 11% are black, 11% Latina/Latino, and 5% Asian. People of color, therefore, make up 27% of characters and 34% of LGBT characters. What people see on television are white stories and experiences.”

And while corporations may temporarily change their logos to rainbows and the pride flag, they may continue to donate to anti-gay and anti-trans legislation and politicians. Also, Black, Native, Latinx, and all trans people make less money than their White gay, bisexual and lesbian peers regardless of industry.

We can and must do something that re-centers Pride in a way that tackles white supremacy and the white identity experience. 


Recognizing the Economic Impact on Black Trans Women

In order to re-center the conversation about Pride, we need to know some more data. One way is to learn more information about the people who are impacted by white supremacy, such as through their ways to earn comparable pay to their workplace peers. 

According to the Human Rights Committee (HRC), “LGBTQ+ workers earn about 90 cents for every dollar that the typical worker earns. LGBTQ+ people of color, transgender women and men, and non-binary individuals earn even less when compared to the typical [White] worker.” However, it is important to look at what cisgender and transgender women within the LGBTQ+ community make.

Photo by Nour Chamoun in Scop.io.

2021 Data on Wage Gaps

The HRC published data that highlights the wage gap for a variety of identities:

  • API LGBTQ+ women: $1.00
  • LGBTQ+ White workers: 97 cents
  • White LGBTQ+ women: 96 cents
  • Cisgender men in the LGBTQ+ community: 96 cents
  • LGBTQ+ Latinx workers: 90 cents
  • Cisgender women in the LGBTQ+ community: 87 cents
  • Black LGBTQ+ women: 85 cents
  • LGBTQ+ Black workers: 80 cents
  • Native American LGBTQ+ women: 75 cents
  • Latinx LGBTQ+ women: 72 cents
  • Non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, and two-spirit workers: 70 cents
  • Trans men: 70 cents
  • Trans women: 60 cents

From the data presented above, White cisgender women and men in the LGBTQ+ community make nearly $1 compared to their straight men and women counterparts, while transgender women only make 60 cents to the same dollars earned. HRC recognizes that the pay disparity shared above may not tell the entire store, sharing, “Of note, the wage gap between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ people is potentially even larger than what is reported here, as the present analysis only includes full-time workers.”

To learn more about disparities in poverty and other aspects of economic well-being experienced by the LGBTQ+ community, see the HRC Foundation’s resource Understanding Poverty in the LGBTQ+ Community.


More than Lip Service

During Pride, make it a point to:

  • Talk to your HR staff about wage discrepancies for these underrepresented populations in your workplace. 
  • Do your homework about the companies where you spend your money.
  • Consume and recognize media that has a broad approach to the inclusion of different identities and stories. 
  • Use your privilege to speak up for people who are not at the table. 

As the tweet above shares, it is the complicity of White people to let white supremacy to remain that allows it to continue. In the ways that white supremacy touches the LGBTQ+ community, many of us have a role to play to call out these behaviors…and then creating the change we want to see. 

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
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