In the midst of Philadelphia’s Pride Day festivities, a few dozen LGBTQ locals gathered at City Hall to recognize transgender people of color’s contributions to the LGBTQ history.
LGBTQ and allied activists from the Equality Coalition, who organized the event, held colorful signs proclaiming “Take Pride Back,” “Black Trans Lives Matter,” “QT is Beau-T,” and more. Speakers took the mic beside Philly’s new Pride flag, which features a black and brown stripe to highlight racial diversity within the movement.
Japheth Grimm, who runs the Facebook page Blind in Philadelphia, spoke about the discrimination he has faced as a trans person of color who lost his eyesight because of a hate crime.
“They wanted me to bring my perspective to the table especially because it’s one that’s not honored within the community — especially within the white, gay community,” he said. “I would say as a transgender person of color, even before becoming blind, the people who are most blatantly discriminatory against me are white cis-gender, gay men.” Cis-gender is a term to describe people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Like Grimm, Ila Kumar has also felt isolated from Pride. She’s currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and she showed up to support the “Take Pride Back” rally with her girlfriend.
“Pride is a very white, cis event, and so I know that I’ve always felt kind of isolated from it,” she said. “Adding two stripes to the flag is a first step, but it’s still really messed up, and there’s a lot of things that make it uncomfortable for trans people and people of color.”
Speakers at the rally argued they were diverging from the Philly Pride Parade and Festival because it is not inclusive for folks who cannot afford to pay the 15 dollar admission fee, and does not put the most marginalized voices within the community at the center.
In its “Take Pride Back” event statement, the Equality Coalition wrote, “Pride itself is not just about LGB(t). Pride is about celebrating diversity where multiple voices are brought to the stage, centered, and amplified.”