Interracial Couples Reflect on BLM
The Black Lives Matter movement has rightfully demanded an awareness of self and an accountability of others. As taught by our Black Brothers and Sisters who have led by example, our pursuit in ending systemic injustice and inequality has only just begun. Liberation is only achieved through solidarity with a recognition that change must occur.
In what has become a global and historic civil rights movement, many have done their part to take on difficult conversations with those inevitably opposed to change: conservative family members, microaggressive colleagues, and yes, Karen herself. For some however, these conversations about the journey to reformation have started at home with those most intimate to them, their partner.
Curious to know how these conversations have been held between queer interracial/BIPOC couples, I asked some of them to highlight the ways in which the Black Lives Matter movement has (or has not) impacted their love language. Is there an awareness to love and respect each other in ways not thought of before? An accountability to communicate in a different, more progressive light? A recognition that, as queer folx, there are ways in which we, too, are responsible for growing?
Dillon Dyer & Stephen Thomas
Age: 29 & 34
My Southern manners taught me to treat and love everyone the same. I noticed then, and even now, that many people there don’t always practice what they preach. This awareness pushed me to treat all people from a place of love, and Stephen and I both stand on [this] principle… The BLM movement has driven some meaningful conversations between the two of us. As we’ve talked, I’ve come to better understand the challenges the Black community continues to face. I will continue to stand by Stephen and listen to how I can continue to push this movement forward.
Jason Dick & David Herrera
Age: 28 & 25
This movement has made me more aware of the fact that we are in an interracial relationship. However, while we are in an interracial relationship, neither of us are Black. We are allies to the BLM, and this movement has made us have more conversations. More so David sharing and processing his own experiences with me listening and learning. It’s made me even more determined to improve my own allyship as a person with so much privilege. And my love for David definitely fuels that fire.
I would say that BLM has greatly increased our need to support one another due to the current climate. Being Hispanic, I feel that I fall in a weird space during this movement. The issue isn’t directly about my skin color, but I don’t benefit from certain privileges Jason does. The BLM movement has allowed us to have conversations about our experiences regarding our skin color that we never really talked about before. As far as love, these past few months have presented great challenges and circumstances that have ultimately made our love for one another stronger.
Marvin Webb & George Ziegler
The BLM movement has not caused a significant shift in our love language because, as an interracial couple, we chose to always speak about race and other isms upfront since the beginning of our relationship… Because of that foundation, our conversations around current events have been able to be deeper than most white folks who don't have that ability to have a deeper conversation with a person of color. I do think this time period specifically has allowed George to have a deeper understanding of the issues that I face. He has a more visceral reaction to and response for other white friends and family members who question BLM.
After we married in 2015, Marvin moved from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania. In taking our walks around the neighborhood, Marvin would avoid strolling down an alley. At first, I dismissed this as an overreaction; however, as we have come to see, Black men are killed for merely walking down a street. This makes me sad, angry, frustrated and even depressed at times. To know that the man you love is not looked at by some through the same eyes hurts deeply. As our nation strives to overcome these all-important race issues, I know that Marvin and I will keep our conversations going, with more listening on my end.
Tyler Martin & Enrique Cavazos
Age: 28 & 27
Being an interracial gay couple that grew up in the South, the subject of race and discrimination has often come up. However, the BLM movement has empowered us to be bolder and to push each other to be louder. Even though we are college sweethearts who have been together for over eight years now, we are still growing with each other daily, finding new ways to empower each other’s voices, and holding each other accountable. As we hold hands, supporting one another, we use our voices, art, and love to fight.
Jacob & Eli
Age: 35 & 31
The BLM movement and protests have made both of us more aware and vocal about the injustices the Black community faces. If anything, it has drawn us closer together as we have discussed issues, mourned unjust deaths, spoken out against racism, and conducted self-evaluations. At such a volatile time, it is a great comfort to have a loving partner with whom you can grow and fight for what is right.
Jay Wooden & Nate Stolldorf
Age: 38 & 32
My perspective of the world is different than most, including my white fiance. Our love language includes honesty and open communication without fear of judgement. Therefore, the BLM movement has presented an opportunity for us to dive deeper to fully understand our different world views and how that affects our relationship. The BLM movement itself has encouraged us to face hard truths of our realities head on, and we are grateful to be in a loving and committed interracial relationship where we can deepen our understanding of each other. More importantly, we can stand up and fight, together, for the change that is so desperately needed in this country!
There are societal and familial pressures we need to contend with… We have to deal with people who don’t know our relationship but think they do. I can only hope that [those people] follow our lead, support us, and lift us up. I agree with Jay that I think the BLM movement has created more conversations and has strengthened our already strong relationship. Being white, I have work I need to do to be the best future husband and ally I can be. I will do anything, say anything, and walk in front of whatever barrier I need to to protect Jason.
Charlie & Wyatt
Age: 25 & 25
With COVID, we've been hunkered down South and have experienced these social and cultural upheavals amidst folks who don't feel the way we do. Such opposition has tightened the bond between Wyatt and myself - two white queer men - with me also being an immigrant. It's galvanized us to confront our white privilege and take a stand for our BIPOC brothers and sisters, and we've been further emboldened to stand up for ourselves with homophobic microaggressions. Days where we both feel overwhelmed over the injustices, we've had to increasingly rely on each other for support, to express, to rage, to cry, to connect.
Mark-Eugene Garcia & Rodrigo E. Bolaños
Age: 40 & 42
Aside from being married, we are artistic collaborators in theatre. BLM made us look back at our own work and make sure that we are correctly representing the Black community. There have been some misses. Never intentional, but often unnoticed. For example, a show we created took place in Jackson Heights, Queens and ended up with a predominately white cast. In casting we felt we were being all inclusive, but never did we make sure we were portraying the community our show took place in… As we continue, we will make sure that the stories of our Black friends are told truthfully and with respect.
Benny Or & Cristian Shoemaker
Age: 29 & 34
While each of us individually have always valued diversity and inclusion, BLM has connected us deeply on that value and has aligned us with a common goal to contribute to the movement. In response, we’ve been working on “Black Art Matters,” a collaborative content series for social media that amplifies the voices of Black artists. The fight for equality has showed us the power that we own in being an interracial couple and we’re excited to bring upon real change in the world together.