February 22, 2021
In celebration of Black History Month, we talked to Tres Brown, Senior MPowerment Coordinator, about his insights about the Black LGBTQIA+ community.
Tres, tell us what Black History Month means to you as someone who is Black and identifies as LGBTQIA+?
“It’s bittersweet, to be honest. Inside the Black community, there is an undeniable pride of comradery that comes from our shared experiences navigating this society. It brings me joy when I get to see Black people unapologetically happy and free, and it gives us a moment to laugh, because the country finally stops, just for a moment, to look at the lives of the most marginalized racial group in this country.
But it also gives us a platform to focus conversations for those willing to listen on lessons learned the previous year, or new/forgotten information or perspectives unearthed from past and present that supports the push for civil rights; a battle that many outside of our community believe is over.
This month also serves as a reminder that our past is mired in pain and suffering, most of which is not acknowledged nor has it been remedied. We are reminded that in a nation that proclaims the downtrodden should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, we were forced to make the boots of our masters, pull them up for them, and weren’t allowed to make boots for ourselves. We couldn’t own the boots and when we could, they were taken away from us. This month reminds us we are able to do it all because we have done it for others, we’re just not allowed to do it for ourselves.”
Who are some local Black LGBTQIA+ people who have influenced or inspired you?
“Honestly, my peers Black queer people ages 18-40. Young Black LGBTQIA+ people are out doing the work to make their communities a better place. And even if they don’t have the power to change the world yet, they are willing to learn.”
How did they influence you or what was their impact on you?
“Since moving to Dallas, I have seen young Black queer people answer calls to action by giving of their time, talents, and treasures to support the arts, activism, education, social services, and business. All fighting to change the misguided perceptions people place on Black people while supporting themselves and their communities with dignity and integrity.”
How would you encourage others to celebrate Black History Month?
“Educate yourself and take action. Education is not enough. Take action, and be radical in your work. Whatever it is. The time for change is now.”