By Annalise Peterson
Local singer and rapper Mick Beth has taken a position of leadership within the Black trans community in Boston through their activism.
Beth recently organized a Black Trans Pride March in the city to celebrate Black trans identity and life. Beth organized the event with Dev Blair and the Black Lotus, a local Black trans collective.
The march gathered more than 100 people in Boston on Juneteenth, the holiday on June 19 that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Beth was prompted to organize the march to do more for their community.
“There is so much division in the Black community, because, you know, there are still people who are not clearly processing that when we say Black Lives Matter, we do mean all Black lives and that means Black trans people and all Black queer people,” said Beth.
The decision for the Juneteenth march, Beth said, was inspired by “the idea that there were a bunch of people who are like, ‘This is my chance to reclaim my power; this is my chance to reclaim myself.’ ”
The poster advertising the march through the Black Lotus organization
Beth isn’t an organizer by career, but rather a musician who took on the responsibility of advocating for queer Black voices. Beth described their singing and rapping as a form of activism. They strive to remind queer Black people that they are valid and deserving, while also challenging excessive idolization of Black trans people, which can be common among allies.
Beth says this year’s June Pride Month provided an opportunity for introspection within the LGBTQ+ community, especially regarding racial injustice.
“There is transphobia and anti-Blackness in the queer community that people are unwilling to admit exists because everybody makes their Marsha P. Johnson Instagram posts,” said Beth, referring to a queer activist who threw the first brick at the Stonewall Riot of 1969. “That is true, and that is great, and that is wonderful, but what are you doing for Black trans women who are still alive?”
Mick Beth, a local singer and rapper in Boston
Putting Black trans people in leadership positions within queer organizations is key to improving their recognition, Beth said. They also stressed that Black trans people should be acknowledged as multifaceted people.
“It’s important to listen to each and every single one of us, not because we are always right, but because we are all coming from different places,” Beth said.
Beth encourages people to listen to the voices of trans people whenever possible, such as following them online.
Despite increasing awareness of racial injustice and transphobia, there is more to achieve, Beth said.
“You can build a whole new world for yourself and your friends, and your kids and their kids and their kids,” Beth said, “and that is what we want, because Black Lives Matter.”
The podcast version of the conversation is available here.