The ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign has drawn attention to the extent of racism in the USA. It’s certainly nothing new and, sadly, it’s just as common in queer communities as it is in the wider population.
In 1982 my fellow blogger David Hunt interviewed activist Barbara Smith about being a black lesbian in the USA. Queer black people face double discrimination: homophobia within the black community and racism within queer communities.
In this interview (which you can listen to here), Smith talks about her own experiences in coming to terms with her sexuality as a black woman. She then goes on to talk about broader issues such as the links between racism and homophobia, lesbian invisibility and tackling racism within the larger queer community.
Racism is still very much a problem in the USA, Australia and Europe so much of what Smith has to say is still very relevant today. One thing I found particularly interesting was her view that queer people need to work in coalition with other oppressed groups. This was very much the philosophy of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the UK and it led to the British Labour Party finally committing to lesbian and gay rights in 1985.