Black History Month is near and I’d love for you to fully embrace the influence that Black LGBTQ+ individuals have had on our country’s history and culture. As such, I’ve created a guide for LGBTQ+ (and allies) travelers that features activities, events, and initiatives promoting inclusivity and honoring both your Black and LGBTQ+ identities all around the United States.
- Attend Black LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Festivals
You can support Black artists in the LGBTQ+ community by attending art and culture festivals. Immerse yourself in vibrant performances, literature, and artwork that echo the voices of LGBTQ+ Black artists. Some examples include:
- The Black Film Festival in San Francisco features a range of films by and about Black people, including documentaries, narratives, and shorts. While it is not exclusively focused on LGBTQ+ themes, it may include films that explore these intersections.
- The Cascade Festival of African Films in Portland, Oregon celebrates African films and filmmakers, with a particular aim to represent as many African nations as possible. In previous years, the festival has screened and discussed films exploring LGBTQ+ experiences in Africa.
- Visit Historical LGBTQ+ Black Landmarks
Traveling and learning can be the best of both worlds! Plan a trip to historic Black LGBTQ landmarks like the home of James Baldwin in New York, or the Audre Lorde’s home in Staten Island. This journey will not only be educational but emotionally impactful too. A visit to James Baldwin’s Home (New York City, New York) gives you the chance to explore the neighborhood and former home of trailblazing Black queer writer in Harlem. You can add a visit to Billie Holiday’s Home (Baltimore, Maryland) to your last as well. You can learn all about the childhood home of the legendary jazz musician Billie Holiday, who was open about her relationships with both men and women. Additionally, visiting San Francisco can increase your awareness of Transgender history. There are honored memorials to Black transgender pioneers in the Castro like the murals for Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.
- Support Black Transgender Nonprofits
You should give back all year long, but why not support Black LGBTQ+ initiatives by giving back during the month of February? There are numerous organizations such as The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Okra Project, or Black Trans Advocacy Coalition that greatly appreciate voluntary support and donations. The Marsha P. Johnson Institute advocates for Black Transgender people across the US. Celebrate by helping them in pursuit of their mission.
The Okra Project provides meals to Black Transgender people in need. The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition promotes social equality, freedom, and justice for Black Transgender individuals.
- Engage in Virtual Events
If you’re more comfortable staying in, there’s a wealth of online events and webinars celebrating Black LGBTQ+ experiences. Check out “Black, Queer, and Proud” series run by many national LGBTQ+ focused organizations.
It’s worth checking each event’s official site or contacting hosts to confirm dates, formats (online or offline), and specific LGBTQ+ inclusive activities. Enjoy this month of love and celebration, and remember, to be Proud and Love out Loud!