Protests erupted around the country over the summer of 2020. While many focused on police brutality, the month of June drew attention to Black trans lives and spurred events from coast to coast.
At Salt Lake Community College, the focus on Black transgender rights created a reminder of the importance of the intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community, according to Peter Moosman, coordinator at the Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center.
“Queer liberation is bound to Black liberation,” Moosman said.
After COVID-19 caused the cancellation of Pride celebrations, protests for the Black Lives Matter movement spread across the country, and the LGBTQ+ community was forced to reflect inward, toward its own need for inclusivity.
According to Moosman, Pride Month originated around the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations by the gay community in New York City in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn bar. Moosman said the parallels between the 2020 protests and the original Stonewall uprising are notable; queer and Black liberation are connected because the Stonewall riots were sparked by queer people of color — members of two communities.
As the LGBTQ+ community participated in last year’s protests, Moosman said a call to “elevate voices that have been left out” was heard by both the LGBTQ+ community and institutions like SLCC.
Patricia Salgado, a student leader at the GSSRC, also noted that last year’s events led to a big push within the GSSRC to include underrepresented voices. Salgado noted that the GSSRC understood the importance of including voices from transgender people and people of color.
Salgado added that they hope the push for diversity and inclusivity continues and stated that it is important “to allow people of color to live in the same space” that other LGBTQ+ members already do without fear.
Salgado noted that the inclusion and celebration of transgender people and people of color should remain a part of Pride and emphasized the importance of remembering LGBTQ+ history for both white and BIPOC members.
Carling Mars echoed this sentiment. Mars, an English major, recalled hearing “Stonewall was a riot” throughout the protests of last year. Mars said this served as a reminder for white, cis members of the LGBTQ+ community; they didn’t have to fight for their rights the way queer people of color and transgender people had to, and continue to.
Mars said LGBTQ+ history impacts everyone and should be remembered as the community “continues our fights for liberation and joins others in their fights for liberation.”
The GSSRC, located in the South City Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.