Audrey Lorde (1934-1992)

“Harvey Milk was not alone in seeing ‘coming out’ as being key to queer liberation. Throughout the 60s and 70s, and up until her death in 1992, Audrea Lorde was using her voice to urge queer people, particularly women, to speak up and make themselves heard…

Lorde understood that people’s identities were complex and multifaceted, and challenged society’s tendency to categorize people into separate groups. She described herself as ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ and strove to have all the different aspects of her identity recognized…

Lorde saw that the only way that she, and people like her, could be truly represented would be if activist groups started to come together and build alliances between themselves… She thought these alliances were key to universal liberation, because they would allow all oppressed people to come together and fight for their freedom in a world where most of the power was held by straight, white men.

At a feminist conference in 1979, Lorde explained that this idea of community and celebration of diversity was central to her vision for the future: ‘Without community there is no liberation… But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.’

Above all, she understood that staying silent in the face of bigotry was not going to change anything. She wrote about how speaking out could only make things better, because silence would, at best, merely keep things as they were.”

May we be the kind of community Aubrey Lorde envisioned – lovers of justice and peace, building alliances to fight for freedom, noticing and honoring and celebrating our differences, speaking up for change. May it be.

[Excerpt from Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride, and Protest in the Fight for Queer Rights by Jamie Lawson and Eve Lloyd Knight | @evelloydknight]