1 year after Pulse, the vulnerability (and strength) of queer people of color is more apparent than ever

One year ago yesterday, a gunman snatched away the lives of 49 dancing souls at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. This tragedy became known as the Pulse Massacre, the largest mass shooting (that was not a military operation) in American history.

As a few queer people of color pointed out amidst the predictable rush to deracialize the incident, the shooting took place during the club’s Latino night, with Black and Latina transgender women as the headliners.

Keep your white friends and partners away from Black Pride events

This June marks the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of violent acts of resistance in New York City credited with sparking the modern Gay Rights Movement. The uprisings, led mostly by trans people of color and drag queens, are commemorated each year with celebrations across the globe during what is known as Pride Month. For many LGBTQQIA+ people, this is a time to reaffirm their right to life and liberty against the backdrop of anti-queer stigma and violence they experience at the hands, knife- and gun-points of society-at-large.

Reading came first: how I journeyed from hotep to Black queer feminist

By Myles E. Johnson

“Solitude can be a must-be-desired condition. In silence, we listen to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.” – Maya Angelou

The search, as it were, began in wanting to deep-dive into something that was about me, and it began early. I wanted a nappy-headed God. I wanted a history dipped in tar, baby, and I wanted to know about political leaders with Jackson 5 nostrils. This history was not being served to me anywhere, so I reimagined my middle-school classes as spaces for me to find this new world where I was the sun, where I was centered. While my teacher taught the day’s arithmetic, I was slowly, quietly being radicalized by the contents of books. With each page turn, a bomb exploded, and a window was being opened, and nobody was any the wiser.

The authors that I discovered–including Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass, and WEB Dubois–are part of what guided my 13 year-old brain into the place it is currently, and where it is developing into. However, I had a desire for something that made sense of the world I was occupying the way religion does for a new initiate.

“I’m not gay no more”: on Andrew Caldwell, static sexuality & gender expression

In 2014, Andrew Caldwell was introduced to the world via a viral video in which he proclaimed his deliverance from homosexuality at an annual COGIC convention in St. Louis.

“I was already fighting for deliverance,” he told me in an interview two years later. “That night I said, ‘God, if you’re real, I want you to show me.’”

It was truly a spectacle. In a loud, purple top with a giant mustard bowtie and matching handkerchief hanging out the pocket of his patterned suit jacket, he screamed what seemed an impossibly even louder, “I’m deliver’t! I don’t like mens no more!”

How femmephobia and the gender binary caused me to hate myself

By Latonya Pennington

Until recently, gender identity and expression made me feel like a mannequin that has to be dressed up and put into poses. It started when my mother would make me wear this pink, puffy dress when visiting my dad while he worked and lived overseas. The dress just didn’t feel like me. Even after only wearing it for a few hours, it felt confining and uncomfortable–like a costume.

Trans and Queer Latinx Folks Respond to the #PulseShooting in This Moving Video

There is no question that the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub last Saturday left many people around the country and the world speechless. With 49 people dead and another 50 injured, the reverberations of the tragic event were innumerable. But, those people who were directly targeted in the tragedy – queer and trans* Latinx folks – likely feel the brunt of those massacre more than any others.

No Place For ‘Solidarity’: A Reflection on Black Femmes in Social Movement

I remember a young woman in undergrad once announcing to a large group of students,”We have to stand in solidarity with one another even when we don’t necessarily understand or agree totally with the method of engagement.” In that moment I asked myself, “Who does she mean by ‘we’?”

The young Latina was attempting to bring together students of different race and gender backgrounds to rally around a cause specific to Latinx students on campus. At the time, I took her claim wholesale. Taking the word “solidarity” to simply mean unity, I assumed her assertion of group action related to all issues affecting any students in the group, not just those affected by the issue for which she was advocating that day. However, I later found that there was a great deal of anti-Blackness in that group. And, while I can’t generalize that experience to broader communities, it was a harsh lesson in understanding what solidarity really means.