Kim Petras pushes for more diversity in Pride: ‘It all started with a Black trans woman’

Kim Petras recognizes that the LGBTQIA+ community owes a lot to queer people of color and, as Pride Month converges with the amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement, the singer hopes that there can “be a bigger focus on black LGBTQ members this year.”

During a recent interview with In The Know’s Gibson Johns, Petras, who is trans, specifically called attention to the fact that, if it hadn’t been for Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman largely credited with throwing the first brick during the Stonewall riots in 1969, the gay liberation movement and, later, Pride, wouldn’t be what it is today.

“I think in general, Pride is actually pretty similar, started pretty similar[ly]. It started with kind of a revolutionary standing up to [the] police force and stuff like that, so I think it kind of goes well with Pride, you know?” Petras said. “Considering Stonewall and Marsha P. Johnson and the Black trans community, I just think that there has to be a bigger focus on Black LGBTQ members this year, and there should always be, and I think we just owe them a lot.”

“I think it’s just great that I see more, that there’s more attention on that,” she added. “It’s really good for anybody in the LGBTQ community to know that it all started with a Black trans woman in New York.”

In addition to encouraging fellow members of the LGBTQIA+ community to know their history and honor those who blazed the trail for us, Petras also wants people to recognize that Pride is about more than parties and parades: It’s an opportunity to celebrate and support one another, which can certainly be done virtually.

“It’s more than physically parading,” Petras said of Pride. “It’s a celebration of individuality and a celebration of our community, so anybody can do that in their own way without breaking social distancing or anything like that.”

Petras, who partnered with Skyy Vodka and NYC Pride to spread these messages while also giving back to members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have been affected by COVID-19, is hoping to use this very different Pride month as an opportunity to celebrate her “largely LGBTQ” fanbase.

“SKYY Vodka has been super active and super amazing in fighting for equality, and that’s something that I stand behind and that I want to be a part of, so I was just really excited and am really excited to be part of that,” Petras said.

“I’m trying to stay really close with my fanbase who is largely LGBTQ, and so I’m throwing Zooms and like fundraisers and stuff like that. And just, you know, to keep my fans involved, because it’s a very hard time right now,” she said. “I think I have such a unique opportunity myself to lift some people up even by just doing something like that, you know?”

“I’m just kind of trying to celebrate online with my fans in whatever way or another, and you know, to just remember how far we’ve come with Pride and at the same time being a part of this revolution and drawing more attention to that,” Petras went on. “I think that’s super important for Pride.”

One way that Petras has been able to engage her fans is through her quarantine-produced music video for “Malibu,” for which she asked fans to submit videos of themselves lip-syncing to her latest song for a chance to be featured in the star-studded compilation.

“I gave my fans something fun to do during this time that they were all super excited about,” she gushed. “It was just like a really happy thing for everybody involved. I’m so, so thankful to all my friends who sent submissions to this video and all my fans.”

Listen to our full interview with Kim Petras below:

If you enjoyed this article, check out In The Know’s recent interview with influencer Rickey Thompson here.

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