This is a slightly edited version of a talk given during the “What Road To Socialism?” webinar held by Workers World Party on May 16.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like my gay, bisexual, and trans comrades who usually would be gearing up for our collective celebration of Pride Month and the 51st annniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like all the people involved in those rebellions against police brutality: the butch lesbians, gay men and trans women of color.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like my fellow gay and nonbinary barista coworkers here in Buffalo who are making more money on unemployment than they ever have while working.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like the LGBTQ2+ AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) folks here in the U.S., who are facing even more harassment during this time. The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center received over 1,700 reports of incidents of discrimination and harassment since it was established on March 19, up through May 13.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like all the students who have been forced out of their safe spaces at school and back to homes with sometimes unsupportive or downright hostile family members.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like all the imprisoned lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who deserve to be released, especially in the midst of this viral pandemic and are dying as a result of it.
The LGBTQ2+ working class looks like all the homeless LGBTQ2+ youth who can’t possibly shelter in place because they don’t have homes in the first place. A study done by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago states LGBTQ2+ youth have a 120 percent higher risk of becoming homeless than their cisgender/ heterosexual counterparts.
It’s impossible to list in three minutes all the people who are part of the LGBTQ2+ working class, but our struggle was born out of the oppression of the working class, as all special oppressions are. We cannot and should not be separated from that struggle. We need to have solidarity now more than ever with all our LGBTQ2+ comrades.
Echo (they/them) is a new member of WWP in Buffalo, N.Y., a nonbinary lesbian, an artist and a writer.