Comrade Jackson Hollingsworth at the 2017 Uhuru Solidarity Movement Convention.
Comrade Jackson is the Chair of the LGBTQIA Working Group of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and offered this speech during our Web Conference entitled: White LGBT Solidarity with Black Power: No Pride in Genocide!
Thank you KC for that powerful overview and introduction. Like she said, my name is Jackson Hollingsworth and I am a member of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement.
I think for LGBT people, especially young people, who experience a lot of discrimination or bullying from family or school, it’s really easy to get caught up in it and overwhelmed by it because it’s there right in front of you being done to you. But we have the ability to get caught up in it so much that it becomes all of who we are and what we do and we surround ourselves with people like us where it’s all they are and all they do, rainbow and blue white and pink flag waving pin wearing, talking about love and acceptance and bathroom bills.
But the reason why we face discrimination and marginalization from the government or doctors or teachers or our families is because this entire system we live in is white power, is capitalist imperialism, which was built off of slavery and genocide of African and Indigenous people and is maintained by the oppression of African people, which includes the black community here in the U.S., and Indigenous and other colonized people today. The gender roles and the different boxes we’ve been pushed into exist because of this white power system.
These gender roles and expectations of us come from Europe. As Penny Hess, the Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, states about what became Europe in the book “Overturning the Culture of Violence,” which I encourage everyone to read: “Cold climate, barren land, nomadic lifestyle and geographic isolation from world culture produced poverty, ignorance, violence, disrespect for other peoples, oppression of women, [and] patriarchy.”
So early Europeans created a very selfish environment of people wanting to survive and out for themselves and who became hoarders. So unlike most peoples in the rest of the world where the idea didn’t even exist, private property and land ownership came into being. Private property and the hoarding of land by the strongest, most powerful, and most wealthy required the passing down of that land through direct descendants, and by wanting to know who was descended from whom, we created the oppression and regulation of women, marriage, sexuality, and gender roles. When Europeans assaulted Africa and enslaved African people, we used that stolen wealth, land, and labor to build the European nation. To quote Chairwoman Penny further, “This uniquely European idea of private land ownership has been the basis of countless campaigns of genocide against African and Indigenous peoples, many of whom had no linguistic concepts for owning a piece of the Earth.”
By enslaving Africans and committing genocide of African and Indigenous peoples, we took ourselves out of feudalism and into capitalism, building the economic institutions of private property and marriage, highly regulating sexuality and gender identity and enforcing oppressive gender roles throughout white culture for our own economic gains and enforcing them all over the world as we further colonized. Capitalism and colonialism are the reasons that LGBTQ people are even designated as a subgroup of humanity within white culture and why we are marginalized within white society.
So even the different labels we have and that we call ourselves are a response to discrimination from white power. We wouldn’t need these different words and to group people into different subgroups if the discrimination against us didn’t exist. We wouldn’t need words like gay or bi or asexual or transgender or agender etc if people really were just people and no one was attacked or marginalized for being who they are. By attacking Africa and then seeking to justify that attack and theft and violence, white people created the whole notion of race. As Chairman Omali Yeshitela has stated, racism is the ideological underpinning of colonialism. Colonialism and the thieving of resources and knowledge and labor and science came first and then we white people justified this attack on other human beings by designating themselves as different and better and Africans and other people we colonized as inferior.
So to battle racism is just to battle the ideas in people’s heads while to fight colonialism is to fight against material, real and tangible conditions. This goes for any other kind of -ism or phobia or aggression that people are supposedly against. If you want to fight sexism or homophobia or transphobia, you have to address the material conditions that make that marginalization possible, and to do that you need to address our colonization of African people and other people around the world. It was the attack on Africa and its wealth that made possible the formation of Europe and its stolen wealth and our ability to attack other peoples and steal from other peoples around the world, whether in Mexico or East India or Syria or Palestine. And the vast majority of African and Indigenous societies not only accepted LGBT people but celebrated them, from Ancient Egypt to Ancient India to the so-called Americas. It was white colonization that changed that and is responsible for the terror against African and Indigenous LGBT people today.
Africa is the wealthiest continent in terms of natural resources in the world, so white capitalist imperialist power will not be able to survive a liberated Africa. So we need to overturn this parasitic and violent system and the only way for that to happen is through the liberation of Africa and African people. So how as white people we can be in solidarity with African liberation is returning the stolen resources, by reversing the flow of stolen wealth through reparationsAnd with their own resources, African people then build their own economic and political power.
So this system that we’re fighting to get into, this parasitic white nationalist system that we’re fighting for acceptance and love from, that we’re pleading to respect our pronouns and relationships and bathroom usage, is a violent and bloody system that doesn’t even care about its own white people including white LGBT people that just wants to use us one way or another. It’s wants us to become cops and shoot African people in the street, it wants us to be cannon fodder in its imperialist wars, it wants us to abuse African children in supposed schools that function more like prisons. Also as for quote “how far we’ve come,” when the Gay Liberation movement first really began in the 1960’s, it came out of the Black Power Movement. The African liberation movement paved the way and made possible the LGBT movement.
The vocabulary used, getting a flag, gay pride and all these things were possible and are possible for us because of the resistance of African people. The Stonewall rebellion was led by African and Indigenous peoples against their oppression. Marsha P. Johnson, an African transgender woman, led the Stonewall rebellion and was later found dead in a river after many threats had been made against her and her death was ruled a suicide and only just recently changed to undetermined. The resistance of African people has made possible the freedom we have in this parasitic capitalist world economy and we opportunistically used it to our own advantage and are now gentrifying African communities and becoming cops and marines who notoriously kill and oppress colonized peoples. That is white opportunism.
And African people and oppressed peoples all over the world are fighting back against this system we’re joining. This system that is responsible for the brutal torture and murders of Matthew Shephard and Brandon Tina. The system that is responsible for every act of discrimination we have faced.
So white power is having to consolidate as many white people as possible into it to defend itself against justified resistance, whether in Ferguson, Missouri or Palestine or Syria. And white power will chew us white LGBT up and spit us out. And of course it’s a violent system, of course it’s a harsh and cruel society in which we live, because the basis of it is slavery and genocide and rape and so that’s going to be reflected in all the rest of it. So when a white mother puts her white son into “conversion therapy,” or rather torture, that’s white power. When an asexual woman is raped by her boyfriend supposedly to “correct” her, that is white power. When a transgender woman is physically assaulted by people who said they were friends, that’s white power. So we need to get to the root of the problem in order to solve and overturn it for good. Because fighting for love and acceptance and more access to jobs and rights within this system by this system and to join this system and to have more representation in this system is supporting and joining a system that is not only pro-genocide but is genocide. The marginalization of LGBT people takes place on a pedestal of oppression and we are marginalized to the edges of that pedestal that rests on the murders of African people to this day. On the murders of Mike Brown and Korryn Gaines and Dominique Battle and Trayvon Martin. So the solution to our marginalization is not to fight our way to the center on the pedestal, but to join with African and colonized people in overturning the pedestal. So to solve our problems, we need to unite with African people, we need to be in solidarity with African and other oppressed people.
We hear a lot of talk about intersectionality and all just coming together and supporting each other. But hugging someone doesn’t stop a cop from shooting them. Being supposed friends or even supposed lovers with someone doesn’t fix that they are colonized. Africa is colonized and the reason that African people are dispersed around the world and oppressed around the world, including African LGBT or rather Same Gender Loving and Trans people is because they are colonized. And like it or not, and I would hope not, we are the colonizer. As white people, we inherit the role of the colonizer, even the poorest and most marginalized of us. So hanging out with someone doesn’t fix that unequal relationship.
It doesn’t change that the material and social wealth we have as white people comes at their expense. It doesn’t change that the U.S. and the white world is built off of the stolen wealth, labor, land, and lives of African people. What does change that, what we can do to do our part in African people reclaiming their resources and achieving power over their own lives for their own self-determination and liberation is reparations, joining a revolutionary movement under the leadership of the vangaurd African working class, and organizing white people like ourselves in the white community to bring more people like us onto the right side of history. That’s how we take responsibility, that’s how we show true solidarity, and that’s how we can address at the root of our own contradictions. And it’s a hopeful, powerful, moving, exciting thing. This is how we can really have a future. This is how we can help build a better world for ourselves and for everyone. This is how we can create a world without homophobia and transphobia where someone’s sexuality or gender doesn’t matter. And this is how we can create a new and better culture where no one lives at the expense of anyone else. So I encourage everyone to join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and contribute reparations to African people for liberation and self-determination.
Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement’s LGBT working group, whether an LGBT person or a supporter, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jackson on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/devon.