When it comes to acceptance, being a sexual minority is already difficult. Being a sexual minority and a racial minority doubles the difficulty. Queer people of color have faced discrimination in the spaces that are supposed to be safe. Ideally, the Gayborhood should be an area where LGBTQ people can feel embraced by their community, but people often feel and experience racism while out and about in the area. Through the experiences and thoughts of QPOC in Philadelphia, we hope to understand the kind of oppression placed on those who are freely expressing who they are, as well as how we can embrace queer people of color in our community.
This map was created by one of our classmates to show the concentrations of Black people in Philadelphia. As you can see from the map legend, the lightest blue shows the least concentration of Black people while the darkest blue shows the greatest concentrations of Black people in Philadelphia. In total, Philadelphia 44.1% Black, the majority race population in the city. It was important that we did this because we wanted to show the extensive population of Black folks and how some neighborhoods are greatly concentrated than others. We also wanted to highlight how despite the large population of African Americans in Philadelphia, there aren’t much public spaces that are inclusive of QPOC. In the following quotes, you will find that some individuals discussed not feeling included in the Queer spaces that they occupied. Despite that, we also hope to show that isn’t the same experience for all QPOC in Philadelphia.
“Most of the time you have to worry about a lot more things, being aware of your surroundings and how people look at you because being black and queer is like having this constant thing to be worried about.”Jason, 22, born and raised in Philadelphia
“I think the people that you are with says a lot about how you will be judged. I have been to Woody’s with both groups of all black people and white people. I feel I have gotten more looks and been judged when I’m with my black friends. No one ever confronted us, but I can feel it.”Anonymous, 20
Jason talks about a feeling of concern and awareness constantly because of his intersectional identities. He only has to worry about being black when navigating public spaces and the streets but also having to worry about being queer. He worries about being queer and how people from his own race would react to it. Anonymous talks about how they felt excluded from spaces that they were entitled to, such as the popular Gay bar in Gayborhood.
Philly Pride Flag
The modified Philadelphia Pride Flag features two new colors- Black and Brown to highlight racial inclusivity.
After several reported incidents of racism in the Gayborhood in 2017, the Office of LGBT Affairs unveiled a redesigned pride flag, now adorned with new brown and black stripes.
“The new design is a symbolic representation of Philadelphia’s commitment to centering the experiences, contributions, activism and dedication of black and brown members of our community,” Amber Hikes, executive director of of the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs, said at the unveiling, according to a New York Post article.
While this was intended to be a symbol of inclusion, some viewed it as yet another act of racism, while some claimed the original flag already stood for diversity and inclusion.
“Just because you’re gay does not mean, as a white person… that does not absolve you of racism, sexism, islamophobia, anything else. You have to be actively working to address and combat those things within yourself.”Ernest Owens