We are thirty-plus days removed from Pride month. In a Coney Island, Brooklyn, neighborhood gas station, on July 29t, 28-year-old professional dancer and proudful gay Black man, O’Shae Sibley, was killed with a single knife blow to his chest by a 17-year-old man. The young man is in law enforcement custody and is facing a charge of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon; the killing is charged as a hate crime.
The video footage at the gas station exhibited the youth hurling anti-gay and racial slurs at O’Shae and his friends who were voguing to Beyoncé’s song, “Renaissance,” a tribute to her LGBTQ fans and the wider community.
Emboldening Hate And Violence
O’Shae’s brutal killing is a cold reminder of the political and social climate we are living through. Right-wing organizations, extreme religious zealots, toxic manosphere pundits, and conservative corporate politicians – like Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis – are using the most oppressed and marginalized layers of society to push a reactionary and conservative agenda that forces the LGBTQ working class and youth back into the “closet” never to be seen or heard from in mainstream society.
At the same time, the capitalist machine continues to grind down the working class and the most oppressed in its naked pursuit of profit, power, and prestige. This vicious and vile hate campaign also aims to divide and conquer the working class, poor, and youth, preventing them from uniting to challenge our true enemies – the billionaire class, big business, and their agenda.
The numerous anti-trans bills, banning drag reading times in libraries, and open violence against LGBTQ workers and youth across the country and globally have placed the urgency of now to organize to confront and defeat the forces of reaction and hate.
Silence Is Death: We Won’t Go Back
In the city where O’Shae died, there is a rich and uncompromising history of militant organizing and relentless social struggle of the LGBTQ working class and youth. From the Stonewall uprising of 1969 to the inception of ACT UP in the 80s, the Democratic Party has shown it will only pay lip service to our struggle to live our lives and have the material conditions to live a dignified life with jobs, affordable and gender-affirming healthcare, housing, and education.
A new radical movement of LGBTQ workers and youth is needed to organize in-between Pride marches that link up to the broader working class and labor movement who stand in solidarity for LGBTQ rights, and that will advance anti-capitalist ideas. A movement that will organize around demands that center the needs of LGBTQ workers, youth, and the working class generally. Our movement could also develop democratically run community defense committees that provide roving public safety training and organizing to protect our lives and communities.
O’Shae’s life was rooted in love for friends, dance, and being proud and out. We are not going back!