In the early days of quarantine, there was the flip assertion that Pride Month was “cancelled this year.” And while it’s certainly true that Pride parades, concerts, and other traditional events were scrapped in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the notion of “pride” itself has undergone something of a reckoning in 2020 in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality and growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As we’ve been thankfully reminded, Pride started as a protest—not a parade filled with corporate sponsors—and it was members of the Black trans and Black queer communities on the frontlines, leading the march toward queer liberation for all.
So, no, Pride Month wasn’t cancelled this year at all—it’s just finally starting to reflect its original purpose again. And that’s a sentiment underscored by writer and actor Brandon Kyle Goodman, who has garnered a lot of attention for his frank, thoughtful Instagram videos about what it’s like to be a Black gay man in America. Goodman’s posts are nothing short of a public service, especially as they often directly address his “white friends,” illuminating the privileges of whiteness and offering up suggestions for how to practice true allyship. He began Pride Month with a video titled, “To The White Gay Community,” in which he confessed that, “some of the most racist experiences” of his life were “at the hands of white gay men,” and called for viewers to educate themselves on the “enormous amount of contributions made by Black and Brown queer artists, leaders, and activists that literally shaped the fabric of our community.” Now, with June having come to an end, we took the opportunity to speak with Goodman over Zoom to reflect on Pride Month 2020, discuss where queer liberation and Black Lives Matter intersect, and look to the future of Pride.
We also had the chance to talk to Brandon Kyle Goodman about his video that asks, “What shows are you binging?,” which addresses how we can “absorb racism” through the shows we watch and media we consume. An accomplished actor who’s appeared in a number of film and TV projects (including Plus One, Amazon’s Modern Love, and the recent Netflix original Feel The Beat), Goodman has an acute awareness of the subtle ways pop culture can shape our worldview. Notably, Goodman has also been in the writers’ room for the upcoming fourth and fifth seasons of Big Mouth, so he shared his feelings on what it means for a show to “do the work” by diversifying its voices and actually including them in the conversation. Our interview was conducted prior to the news that Jenny Slate would be stepping down as the voice of biracial teen Missy, but the decision speaks to Goodman’s point about how television shows should be more open to voices and perspectives from outside the white experience.
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.
Photo credit: Leslie Alejandro