QTPOC — what does that mean?

QTPOC — what does that mean?

This acronym is used to mark the groups of the LGBTQ+ community. It is often used in English, and less so in other languages. Here is Pure’s memo for the abbreviation and our little “how to” if you are going to use it correctly.

What does QTPOC mean?

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It is simply the abbreviation of Queer and Trans People of Color. Sometimes the shorter version is being used — QPOC — Queer People of Color. That means all the Afro-American, Asian, and Native American members of the LGBTQ+ are united within the queer culture and are fighting together for the right of the whole community. Historically it works out this way: the acronym QTPOC is used to refer to those who represent the group, and QPOC is mainly used when talking about the special format of events, that are significant for queer- and trans- culture.

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Why is it important to name this group separately? 

Sad but true fact: the modern world is still racist, homophobic and transphobic. There is still a lot of harassment. The QTPOC movement started with the conversation about activists’ actions toward finding solutions on how to protect and guarantee safety for trans and queer people of color. This group is facing all kinds of discrimination at once. Such activists as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson started talking about protection for trans-people of color as long ago as in 1969, during the Stonewall riots in New York. Later on, they founded the first QTPOC organization called STAR — Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.

What are the Stonewall Riots? 

It wasn’t legal in the 1960s to run a gay bar. There were, though, a few secret places that were sort of gay speakeasies, but still police raids in these gay bars were routine. It was a deeply humiliating and unfair procedure when police could have entered the bar and started some sort of a “biological gender” check-up. That kind of raid is what exactly happened on 28th June 1969 in a place called Stonewall Inn. But it was unlike any other time before that the gay and lesbian community stood up for their right and fought back. Police officers quickly lost control of the situation and got locked in a bar. The police van was overthrown. A series of demonstrations and riots against homophobiс outrage marked the next few days. And the outcome was that things started to change. A year passed. Human rights organizations have begun working with lesbian and gay people, the laws were reconsidered, and then the very first Pride in the USA happened. The gay parade took place in Greenwich Village.

What symbols do QTPOC use?

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QTPOC’s flag has an image of a raised fist against the rainbow background. It symbolizes not only the resistance but also the cross-over in two communities — the mutuality of problems for LGBTQ+ people and people of color. The palette used for the QTPOC flag is a variety of colors from white to dark brown — and it refers to the vast diversity in the community and the importance of that for QTPOC.

More facts on the subject 

  • In 2017 Philadelphia added black and brown stripes to the rainbow flag as an act to support the QTPOC. 
  • Representatives of the QTPOC community use all the different pronouns to identify themselves: he, she and the gender-neutral they.  
  • RuPaul has admitted in one of the episodes of RuPaul’s Drag race that Marsha P. Johnson is the most inspiring person in the history of drag for him personally. 
  • Since 2018 citizens of New York State can put X in their documents when asked to mark out the gender box. 

Few more important terms for you: AFAB/AMAB, enbies, bigender

Katya Shaposhnikova


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