At the end of the day, you are white

I understand your struggles as a queer person, but you do not understand mine as a queer person of colour.

Art by Bipasha Chakraborty

You are white.

Then you are queer.

Your queerness does not hide your whiteness. 

Your queerness does not mask your white privilege.

Colonialism washed onto our shores and planted seeds of fear and prejudice within our political and cultural systems, and now I struggle to find peace in a community that once would have embraced me. A community that is now riddled with violence and anger towards their own queer members, from ideologies imported from elsewhere. BIPOC communities are heavily centered around pleasing your elders; now those elders look down at us with shame. 

Black and Brown trans women, such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, have brought the queer movement where it is today, yet it is your face I see plastered across media. Your face taking credit for queer liberation, your face representing queer joy, your presence filling up queer spaces. White privilege paints queerness as normatively white, leaving us invisible to both queer and racial communities. Where does that leave us to go?

You are not excluded from housing, healthcare or education, at the rate that we are. Health care systems neglect queer men of colour from accessing proper reproductive care, and queer youth of colour are consistently excluded from accessing shelter and adequate education. Petty offenses would result in your receiving of warnings, yet these same acts will incarcerate my peers. Left neglected for years behind bars and suppressed by a system that was made to only benefit you.

We stand together in the face of queer oppression, yet this does not erase your white identity. You still benefit from the system that was built around your skin, whilst we are at the feet of it. Your false pseudo-ethnicity of queerness does not eradicate your privilege, nor make you an expert in marginalisation. You cannot escape criticism of the systemic uplifting of white power with your claim to queerness. Foremost you are white, then you are queer. Your skin allows you to conceal yourself in moments of intensity, we are not fortunate to that privilege. 

For our queerness to be validated, we must conform to certain ideas that are shaped by whiteness. Our ethnic customs, practices and physical features are deemed as heteronormative in the lens of eurocentric ideals. Our ethnocultural backgrounds must be disregarded in order to complement your ideals. Our identity is not queer enough for you. We are not queer enough for you.

I understand your struggles as a queer person, but you do not understand mine as a queer person of colour. Fallen on us is the burden of erasing aspects of queer discrimination in our communities, whilst grappling with racism across all spaces. Whilst we fight for survival, you fight for marriage equality. Whilst we are both mistreated by the same facet of oppression, in another angle you play an active role in our subjugation.

At the end of the day, you are white.

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