#BlackLivesMatter activist on the complexity of being black and gay


By Jorge Rivas for

Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson took the stage at a San Francisco gala on Saturday and opened up about the complexities of being black and gay.

“I stand here as a proud black gay man,” said Mckesson, who has become one of the leading faces in the Black Lives Matter movement by keeping his 245,000 followers on Twitter informed about cases involving police using excessive force.

Mckesson went on to speak about the dangers of living with an “either/or” mentality that doesn’t acknowledge being both black and gay.

“When loving myself only looks one way, when protests are in the street or not at all, this puts constraints on the way that we express ourselves and the way that we can get free,” Mckesson said in his five-minute speech on stage at the gala hosted by GLAAD, the national organization that works to ensure LGBT people are presented fairly in the media. The GLAAD event honored innovators who advanced LGBT acceptance through tech and media.

Mckesson was invited to the stage by actor Jussie Smollett from the Fox television Empire. “He is a black man, he is a gay man, and his voice is changing the world,” Smollett said in his introduction.

Mckesson also noted activists on Twitter have helped elevate news about the record 21 transgender women who have been brutally murdered this year.

The Black Lives Matter movement was founded by three black queer woman; Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. The founders have been explicit about including black LGBT people in their campaigns.

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