Tyrell Rae knows that it’s difficult being black and queer in Denver, but on Sunday, he saw a reason for joy.
The intersection of Pride Month and the demonstrations against racism and police brutality was inspiring to the lifelong Denverite.
“To see so many people energized and on fire to make real change happen is infectious and I just hope it doesn’t stop,” Rae, 34, said.
For more than two weeks, hundreds of people have gathered in downtown Denver to protest against racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in May. On Sunday, the queer community joined in solidarity with the demonstrations in the Pride Liberation March with Black Lives Matter 5280. The event drew hundreds to Cheesman Park, and the crowd marched down Colfax to the Capitol.
Rae said what made him the happiest about the march was that there were so many people there allowing black queer people to have the center stage.
“The most important part is [giving] people the opportunity to see and hear what’s going on so it encourages them to go out and educate themselves so we can get to a better place,” he said.
The rally featured black and queer speakers and included a vigil and moment of silence for the lives that have been lost.
Reia Cheille Lucious, 36, is a black trans woman and she says the march is to let queer voices be heard.
“I feel like in the world, people don’t really hear the black gay voice,” she said. “We don’t get the big blow ups when our people get killed. If a black gay man or a black trans woman got murdered, you wouldn’t hear about it.”
Lucious grew up in Denver, she came out while living here, and learned to be comfortable with her identity.
“I feel like the day when I came out to my parents at 15 and they didn’t accept me, I decided that day that I don’t care what [other people] thought of me,” she said. “I’m still here.”
There was a particular focus on black trans women. In the last week, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells in Philadelphia and Riah Milton in Cincinnati were murdered. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 14 transgender or gender non-comforming people were murdered in 2020 so far. The LGBTQ civil rights organization expects the actual figure to be higher because these stories are often unreported or misreported.
And just Friday, the Trump Adminstration rolled back transgender health nondiscrimation protections.
Cara Lipford, 30, identifies as a lesbian. She is originally from Boulder and the march is the first in-person protest she’s been to. She’s been careful to not be out as much during the COVID-19 pandemic because she said she has family members who are immunocompromised. She said this was too important for her to miss.
“There’s a lot of homophobia in the black community,” she said. “There’s a lot of racism in the queer community so to have everybody come together in this style … I really appreciate that.”