Add to Cart: Activism, Solidarity, Love and Fashion
Portrait 7. August 2019
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, fighting for the liberation and rights of LGBTQ+ People. Through misrepresentation in the media and bigoted, one-sided history-telling many forget that these riots were led by activists like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, Trans Womxn of Colour; as well as Butch Lesbians, Sex Workers, Homeless People. When I go to mainstream pride events like, for example, the CSD in Berlin or Canal Pride in Amsterdam I see that the people who faced the most violence outside and inside the community, still do.
»Whilst pride is a celebration, it is also an opportunity to recognise that the battle is not yet won. Until we are ALL free and equal, none of us are truly free and equal. (…) Racism, sexism and transphobia within the LGBTQ community needs to stop. If we hope to move forward as a community we cannot repeat similar cycles of abuse on each other that most of us have experienced ourselves.« – MB
But of course there is hope! A new generation is continuing the work our mothers started around the stonewall riots (because let us also not forget that while Stonewall was extremely important for the Queer Rights movement, there was activism before and after the riots that is also crucial!) – among them (or I would even say, on the forefront of them) is UK activist Munroe Bergdorf!
Munroe is a fierce fashion model, an inspiring social media influencer, a vocal and powerful activist, editor for Dazed Digital and just a general role model and inspiration! She is doing the goddesses’ work by sitting down on television and talking to old white men about racism, queer issues, transphobia – making herself extremely vulnerable to internet trolls and hate from mainstream media. But she is sitting there, calm, reflected, powerful; bringing her arguments without flinching, educating people again and again about issues that should not even need more explaining. Through all of the hate, she keeps spreading her message of love and acceptance, and also keeps reminding us of the issues our society has (and omg, there are so many issues!), that we need to keep working on every fucking day. Munroe advocates for resources for LGBTQ+ youth to be educated and informed, outside of the current education that is heteronormative and focused on the gender binary. In May of this year Munroe launched the platform »GODDESS« that provides information and support for Transgender-, Non Binary and Intersex individuals and is funding medical support for transitioning. Munroe Bergdorf informs about the colonial history of the UK (and many other western countries including the US and Germany) and how that history is still affecting People of Colour, that there is white privilege and that white people need to recognize that privilege and the fact that they profit of institutionalized racism every day. She is also using her platform to call attention to the violence that especially Black Trans Womxn face, an issue that is often ignored by a lot of the mainstream media.
»You don’t need to give everyone an answer. People aren’t entitled to a debate. If it’s your identity or your rights, you don’t need to debate it. Your priority has to be your mental health because if your mental health isn’t on point then you can’t be there for your community.« – MB
We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. I believe in a future that is Queer. Gen Z kids inspire me every day and give me so much hope for a better future. The rage of Womxn People of Colour and Queer people is not taken seriously (as opposed to the rage of white men, which is taken way too seriously – even dangerously so – see Trump, Men’s Rights Activists and angry white men in general). Queer activism poses a real threat to the patriarchy, to the people who currently have power. That is why they try to silence our voices.
The thing about a Queer Revolution is, that it fights for a world where the most important things are community, solidarity, love and acceptance. These are radically different priorities from the cold, capitalist world we currently live in, where we are forced more and more into individualism and gender binaries. Munroe Bergdorf advocates for embracing our differences, without prejudice, listening to each other, accepting each other, being empathetic for the individual struggles of other people, that we cannot understand because we don’t share their experiences, but that we can still be respectful of. The point is not, that we should all be the same, it does matter what gender we are, what race, what culture, because that is what defines us. Minorities are pushed to assimilate themselves with the majority – but that is not the point, that is not liberation, that is not equal rights for every human being.
»The first ever pride was the product of a riot begun by transgender women of colour. It has never and should never be about assimilation or dilution.« – MB
Look at how far we have come! Look at the children that are already growing up in a world, where they can explore their identity outside of gender norms! But also, let us not forget where we came from, who fought for us, and who is currently out there fighting for us, giving uncomfortable interviews, fighting the bigots every fucking day.
I am really looking forward to meeting Munroe at Fuchsbau Festival this year, but if I don’t, I will write down what I would want to say to her (also it is good to have something written out, because I will probably be nervous AF):
»Hey Munroe, it is truly an honour to meet you! Wow, I am so nervous!!! Thank you so much for being so strong, and at the same time so soft, vulnerable and beautiful. Thank you of reminding me to work even harder for a better future, to not grow cold and cynical. Thank you so much for teaching me how to go into an argument, eloquently, well prepared, strong – knowing who I am, what I stand for, what my views are – not let myself be brought down by the bigoted people in front of me. I want to be an ally, I want to educate myself on issues I am not affected by. Check my privilege as a white person again and again, know, that I don’t ever know ›everything‹, that I need to keep learning, keep growing, keep listening to people, who have less privileges in our society. Lastly… Thank you for inspiring KIDS! They are the FUTURE! It is so amazing that they can grow up with amazing role models like you!«