Sep 30, 2022
Honoring Brittney Griner: LGBTQ History Month
From all of us at Equality NC, Happy LGBTQ History Month! Over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you the compelling stories of our Out Electeds – openly LGBTQ elected officials – whose messages we believe are central to building a more equitable North Carolina for us all.
Today, we’re kicking off this series by raising the story of Brittney Griner, a queer, Black world-renonwned athlete experiencing horrific detainment in Russia – and whose story feels all too familiar to our communities.
In February, Russian authorities detained Brittney for carrying medically-prescribed cannabis vape cartridges through the Moscow airport. In the months since, Brittney has faced a highly public trial resulting in a $1 million ruble fine and nine-year prison sentence in Russia, where she remains to this day.
As one of the most famous Black lesbians in the world, perhaps the most painful aspect of Brittney’s story is that queer people of color know it all too well. LGBTQ people and Black and Brown people are all too often devalued, not protected, and seen as disposable in society. And during eras of extremism, our communities are often the first to become political targets of authoritarianism.
What is happening to Brittney Griner in Russia is what happens to vulnerable communities like ours under an authoritarian state. And after the past six years in the United States, it’s difficult to argue that our country is not heading down the road of authoritarianism ourselves.
This November, the fight against authoritarianism is what’s at stake. With anti-equality political figures in races all up and down the ballot, it’s on all of us to make sure our friends, our family members, and everyone in our communities have a plan to vote in the Midterm election.
We all have a role to play in combating the rising tide of authoritarianism in this country and ensuring that queer people and BIPOC communities are safe and protected. Can we count on you this election cycle?
We’re sending all of our love to Brittney Griner this LGBTQ History Month. Thank you for all that you’ve done.