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Munroe Bergdorf Reflects on the 'Toxic' LGBTQ Hierarchy

Munroe Bergdorf is speaking out about the selective activism she sees when it comes to supporting Black trans people, particularly when it comes to white gay men.

Yesterday, the model and activist took to her Instagram to post a news story about Reese, a cis man who was initially believed to have died by suicide after a video of him being harassed about his relationship with a trans woman named Faith Palmer went viral. In a subsequent update, Out reports Palmer clarified that Reese actually died of an overdose after she left him — an incident that caused him to threaten both of their lives. Palmer reportedly "ran away to safety, and it was then that he committed suicide," per the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.

Following the news, many prominent trans activists and celebrities shared their condolences, including Janet Mock, Indya Moore, and Ashlee Marie Preston. Bergdorf also shared her thoughts on the sad situation, writing that she was "heartbroken for the Black community, the trans community and ultimately humanity."

Lamenting the fact that the violence committed by cis men against Black trans women continues to be ignored and how that is a symptom of "whiteness [reigning] supreme" and being "held with greater esteem," Bergdorf went on to talk about how the onus of explanation for "why our lives matter" always seems to be the burden of Black trans women.

"Honestly, I'm tired of it. It feels like a large portion of the queer community got their rights and jumped ship and the rest of us are clambering for the life rafts," she concluded.

Later, Bergdorf also edited her post to talk about how toxic masculinity helps perpetuate the "pattern of trans women being killed by their partners." However, she was quick to also mention that while this new information "doesn't take away from the fact that the bullying could have been the tipping point for a man clearly struggling," but it also showcases the "reality of many trans amorous men who struggle to navigate their identity within the perimeters of toxic masculinity."

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Needed to take a minute and gather myself before speaking about this story at length. Firstly I'm heartbroken, for Faith, Reese and their loved ones. I'm heartbroken for the black community, the trans community and ultimately humanity. Almost consistently since this year began, stories of black transgender women being attacked and murdered by cisgender men have been reported with such little urgency or concern for the fact that this situation is critical. Imagine if it were cisgender white women being hunted down and shot to death in parking lots, fished out of lakes, or found stabbed in hotel rooms, purely for the fact that they were cisgender and white. IMAGINE THE UPROAR, the public outcry. But a white woman's life will always be held with greater esteem in a society where whiteness reigns supreme. Black transgender lives are held with such little regard by wider society that our deaths are expected, our deaths are a statistic, our deaths seemingly do not matter. And that weighs so heavily on me and my sisters every single day. Now, Reese, a black cisgender male has taken his own life after being bullied by other black cisgender men for coming out as in a relationship with Faith, a black transgender woman on social media... But before you state your disgust at those men who pushed Reese to take his own life. Ask yourself, what would YOU feel if you found out your father, your brother, your ex, your lover or your son brought home a black transgender woman. Are you still down for black trans lives then when we're stitting opposite you at the dining room table next him? Every single day just seems to get darker and darker and every single time it gets worse for trans folk and queer folk in general, it falls on the shoulders of black trans women, the most the most marginalized members of the LGBT community to not only lift ourselves up, but also to educate others as to why our lives matter. Honestly, I'm tired of it. It feels like a large portion of the queer community got their rights and jumped ship and the rest of us are clambering for the life rafts. RIP Reese. Thinking of you Faith.

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Bergdorf subsequently followed up her post with another one talking about feeling "majorly burned out and honestly a little sad about the state of the world."

"Being expected to respond to every single bad thing that happens within the black, LGBT and feminist communities is exhausting and isn't sustainable," Bergdorf wrote, before asking where the white men fighting for Black trans lives were. "It's frustrating how it seems to always be trans women expected to speak about trans issues."

She then talked about how white gay men, in particular, don't pay attention to the issues facing Black trans people.

"If you're only enthusiastic about gay marriage and prep because it affects YOU and expect others to fight for your very valid right to both, then make sure you're also voicing your support for other communities and the injustice that they are facing. Cis white gay men. WE NEED YOU. We need your allyship, your access, your influence and the fact that other white people are expediently more likely to listen to you," she continued. "Start showing up for us like we consistently show up for you. We are a fragmented community and it's time to start closing the gaps rather than relying on the girls to fend for ourselves."

Bergdorf then went on to talk about the fact the murder of Black trans women doesn't register with the public in the same way the murder of a white woman does before asking them to "step up for all our sakes."

"To the black folk that perpetutate this homophobic colonised mindset, you are acting as a mule for white supremacy to eat our community from the inside out. ALL black lives matter. How can you say 'stop killing us' or 'I can't breathe' yet condemn the very people who started the BLM movement FOR YOU," she concluded. "Queer people deserve your respect, we deserve life, love, safety, joy, all the things you do. But we won't get there as a people unless you cut the shit."

Read Bergdorf's post in its entirety, below.

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Just got back to the UK from a week away. Was feeling majorly burned out and honestly a little sad about the state of the world. Being expected to respond to every single bad thing that happens within the black, LGBT and feminist communities is exhausting and isn't sustainable. It's frustrating how it seems to always be trans women expected to speak about trans issues. Where are the white men fighting for black trans lives. Yes there's handful @adameli @mattmcgorry off the top of my head but honestly where are white gay men? I just feel like the LGBT community hierarchy is so toxic and starting to weigh heavily to the point where I feel like they're not even listening. I try to post a balance of who I am, what I feel, what I'm doing and to draw attention to what's going on in the world. But I just want to say that it can't always fall on queer people of colour to talk the tea. If you're only enthusiastic about gay marriage and prep because it affects YOU and expect others to fight for your very valid right to both, then make sure you're also voicing your support for other communities and the injustice that they are facing. Cis white gay men. WE NEED YOU. We need your allyship, your access, your influence and the fact that other white people are expediently more likely to listen to you. Start showing up for us like we consistently show up for you. We are a fragmented community and it's time to start closing the gaps rather than relying on the girls to fend for ourselves. Until mainstream culture begins to care about the fact that we are consistently murdered by men, in the same capacity as if a white woman was murdered by a man, it's going to keep happening. To the black folk that perpetutate this homophobic colonised mindset, you are acting as a mule for white supremacy to eat our community from the inside out. ALL black lives matter. How can you say "stop killing us" or "I can't breathe" yet condemn the very people who started the BLM movement FOR YOU. Queer people deserve your respect, we deserve life, love, safety, joy, all the things you do. But we won't get there as a people unless you cut the shit. It's time to step up for all our sakes.

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