Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood
PHILADELPHIA – Recent instances of anti-blackness and overall racism in Philadelphia’s gayborhood, have made the news on both citywide and national platforms. As any Queer person of color can tell you, this is not a new phenomenon. Anti-blackness, anti-immigrant rhetoric and discriminatory practices against our communities are a commonplace occurrence in Philadelphia’s gayborhood.
As Queer Latinos, surviving and thriving in the face of such a landscape, is part of the resilient history of our people. GALAEI’s foundational work has always been to create access to the resources of holistic health, safe space and community for Queer Latinos. Juntos’ long standing mission has been to fight for the human rights of our city’s immigrant communities which includes ensuring that our undocumented LGBTQ familia is able to live and thrive in a system that refuses to acknowledge their existence. Our work collectively has helped build our community’s power, raised the voices of those most affected by these oppressive practices and reimagined our communities free from oppression.
Yet our communities are still faced with what sometimes feels like insurmountable odds. Year after year our community has proclaimed that racism runs rampant in the Gayborhood to what feels like deaf ears.
We exist in a landscape of hiv/aids prevention work in which front line black and brown queer workers are STILL disproportionately and grossly underpaid, not in positions of power, overlooked for promotions at major nonprofits and organizations, in and outside of the city. Black and brown queer people face racism in the very establishments meant to serve queer people. We have seen instances where our immigrant LGBTQ community have been denied admittance into some of the city’s most prominent gay nightclubs due to club policies that refuse to accept valid forms of identification, such as non-American passports or Consular ID Cards. Access to comprehensive healthcare for undocumented LGBTQ people is yet another huge barrier, compounded by limited bi-lingual staff and the reality that none of the resources needed by our communities are offered directly in our neighborhoods, placing the burden of access squarely on their shoulders.
All the while, community and government entities that are supposed to protect and serve ALL it’s community members such as the city’ most prominent LGBTQ rights orgs and even the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs respond to acts of anti-blackness, racism and discrimination against Queer people of color with silence, delay, and inaction.
When Queer Latinos dare to speak up against these injustices, we are verbally, and physically assaulted, criticized, and targeted by tactics that demonstrate that anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment is not just the occupation of singular hateful individuals, but rather, embedded within the institutions that say they stand with us; but do not.
Juntos & GALAEI are organizations rooted in the self-determination and liberation of our people, striving to hold ourselves accountable to the intersectional needs and demands of our community. As such, we stand with our community and the efforts of The Black & Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) to dismantle any institution that serves to perpetuate racism in our lives, including city officials who stand in the way of our freedom.