A year after the Stonewall Riots, self-described “Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet, warrior” Audre Lorde published Cables to Rage and revealed her homosexuality for the first time in writing.
"[W]e shall love each other here if ever at all."
Her voice was intimate but fierce, her ideas unwavering and prolific. She wrote of her conflicted self-hood-- she was the daughter of immigrants, the first Black student to attend her high school and grew up in depression era Harlem. Identifying as a lesbian and bisexual, she married a gay white man, had two children and then divorced to spend her last 20 years with her female life partner.
Each label denoted a community in which she felt an outsider. And so while her prose publicly addressed struggles of intersectionality, they also gave voice to masses of people who felt entirely outcast the same.
She radically opened the conversation about sexuality, dispelled historic constructions of black identity and criticized the popularity of second wave feminism. She resisted all through poetry, film and teaching.
This month we celebrate Pride. We reject the proposal to rescind protections for LGBTQ people under the Affordable Care Act and emphatically denounce legislation that would allow homeless shelters to turn away transgender individuals. We stand alongside the ACLU in the continued fight for equality in marriage, employment, housing and education.
Call your senators, write your congress people, join Pride Fest nationwide.
- Maureen Post
Photo Credit : Robert Alexander/Getty-Images