Police Brutality has been a source of violence, grief, and fear in both the LGBTQ community and communities of color. The Black Lives Matter movement has made many Americans rethink their relationships with the police. Considering the context of the Stonewall Riots, queer history adds to the discourse on police brutality, exposing the patriarchal nature of law enforcement that is a major component to these violent encounters.
Current-day queer people are still facing these issues. In the 2015 US Transgender study, it was revealed that 58 percent of respondents who interacted with police who were aware they were transgender experienced verbal harassment, misgendering, physical or sexual assault, and being forced to perform sexual acts to avoid arrest. Is it the feeling of power, the patriarchy, brutal transphobia or something else that leads to these encounters?
The scariest part of this all: who do we call for help? When those who are supposed to make you feel safe are the ones threatening you, where do you turn? This abuse of power is something that affects us as a queer community. Historical violence from the police as well as current day fear of law enforcement reflects on the nature of the police force.
I personally do not have a solution but I’m hoping we could shed light on the issue and expose the relationship between cops and queer people. It’s also important to consider that police violence primarily affects people of color. We must remember that we, as a community, hold grief together. When one group suffers, it is our responsibility to include them in the queer narrative. It’s important for us as gay people, specifically those who are non-trans identifying and white, to be aware of these issues and the context that we live in. It’s vital that intersectionality is a central part of our activism and that we include these experiences in the public eye.
Queer people hold a lot of grief in their collective consciousness. The violence they face current day as well as the historical mistreatment of queer people in our country has manifested into a source of pain and fear. I believe we are on a path towards liberation and are stepping forwards towards healing. Police brutality is very much an LGBTQ issue and it’s essential to treat it as such on our path towards liberation.