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Detective Pikachu Actor Justice Smith Urges People To Stand Up For Black Queer And Trans Lives Too

by : Emily Brown on : 08 Jun 2020 14:10
Detective Pikachu Actor Urges People To Stand Up For Black Queer And Trans Lives TooPA Images/@standup4justice/Instagram

Detective Pikachu actor Justice Smith has urged people to stand up for black queer and transgender people as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Smith, who also stars alongside Cara Delevingne in Paper Towns, called for more widespread support for the entire black community in an Instagram post shared on Saturday, June 6, after he took part in a protest in New Orleans.

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In the post, Smith came out as queer, and revealed he’d attended the protest with his boyfriend Nicholas L. Ashe, known for starring in Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar.

Smith and Ashe stood up for black members of the LGBTQ+ community as they chanted ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’, ‘Black Queer Lives Matter’ and ‘All Black Lives Matter’, but Smith noticed that while protesters were quick to chant ‘Black Lives Matter’, they ‘[held] their tongue when Trans/Queer was added.’

The actor stressed that people must be willing to support all black people in order for the protests to be worth it, commenting:

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I want to reiterate this sentiment: if your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black.

View this post on Instagram

@nckash and I protested today in New Orleans. We chanted ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ ‘Black Queer Lives Matter’ ‘All Black Lives Matter’. As a black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added. I want to reiterate this sentiment: if your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black. If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black. You are trying to push yourself through the door of a system designed against you, and then shut the door behind you. It is in our conditioning to get as close to whiteness, straightness, maleness as we can because that’s where the power is. And if we appeal to it, maybe it’ll give us a slice. But the revolution is not about appeal. It is about demanding what should have been given to us from the beginning. What should have been given to black, queer, and trans individuals from the beginning. Which is the right to exist. To live and prosper in public. Without fear of persecution or threat of violence. There is so much tragedy on the timeline these last couple of days so I added some photos of me and Nic to show some #blackboyjoy #blacklove #blackqueerlove ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 You’ve been my rock and guiding light through all of this and I love you so much. I know that on the other side of this Is change, though the fight is far from over. #justicefortonymcdade #justiceforninapop #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaud #justiceforbreonna #sayhername #defundthepolice #endwhitesupremacy

A post shared by Justice Smith (@standup4justice) on

Smith made reference to Tony McDade, a black transgender man who was fatally shot in Tallahasse, Florida, in May, and argued: ‘If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black.’

The post went on:

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You are trying to push yourself through the door of a system designed against you, and then shut the door behind you.

It is in our conditioning to get as close to whiteness, straightness, maleness as we can because that’s where the power is. And if we appeal to it, maybe it’ll give us a slice.

But the revolution is not about appeal. It is about demanding what should have been given to us from the beginning. What should have been given to black, queer, and trans individuals from the beginning. Which is the right to exist. To live and prosper in public. Without fear of persecution or threat of violence.

Justice Smith and Nicholas AsheJustice Smith/Instagram

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Tony McDade is at least the 12th American trans person to be killed in 2020. Last year, the organisation found at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people in the US lost their lives to fatal violence, the majority of who were black transgender women.

Smith stressed that while he knows change is ‘on the other side of this’, ‘the fight is far from over’. Black trans and queer people are at risk of oppression not only because of their skin colour, but also because of how they identify.

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Standing up for the black LGBTQ+ community should go hand in hand with the Black Lives Matter movement, because the need for change will not be over until every single black person, no matter how they identify, is free of oppression.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, Black Lives Matter, Detective Pikachu, LGBTQ+, New Orleans, Now, Protest, trans

Credits

Justice Smith/Instagram and 1 other
  1. Justice Smith/Instagram

    @standup4justice

  2. Human Rights Campaign

    Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020