MY BLACK IS QUEER
June 30, 2019
To be Black and Queer is to exist in the world as an ever-evolving dream and not America’s proverbial nightmare. I vow to never forget that truth.
In the past I felt compelled to split myself into fragments at times.
I would shapeshift, and code switch, depending on my environment because that is what I thought I needed to do in order to survive the onslaught of anti-Blackness, queer antagonism, poverty shaming, theological violence and spirit murder that awaited me as I navigated the world as Black queer person in the U.S.
But today there are no parts of me that I am willing to camouflage just so that those who imagine themselves as possessing power can be comforted by my self-annihilation.
Whether they be white folks, straight people, those who put their faith in dogmatic cis-hetero norms, or institutions who have preached (or legislated) violence that has tried to slaughter my personhood, I refuse to nail any part of myself to a cross.
There will be no disintegration of my Black queerness in the service of a type of “pride” that is empty; bereft of radical potential; commoditized; and amplified by the presence of white, cis, able-bodied, homonormative people only.
This is a truth that I am choosing to remember as this year’s historic World Pride events, which commemorate the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall riots, are taken place around the country. My Black is queer. In fact, as I’ve written elsewhere: Blackness was queer before queer was cool.
Blackness is polyphony. It is multi-textured and free from one dominant voice and way of being.
It’s jazz: always moving in one or many directions with and without intent. It is resistant to structure and, yet, it creates form that morphs at ease.
Blackness is…It moves, redefines itself, and travels along the ellipses because it cannot be fixed. Blackness bends, shapeshifts, and resists normativity.
To be Black, therefore, is to be among those whose self-expressions and ways of being and ways of loving and resisting and living has always gestured toward revolutionary freedom—even if the freedoms we might move toward have yet to be fully actualized. That is what it means to be queer—to lean into, as the late theorist Jose Munoz describes as, the not yet here.
So as we embrace (or refuse to embrace) this year’s pride events, let’s us do so with a nod towards Blackness.
Black trans women are being murdered without mass protest. Black queer and trans people from other countries who may desire, or have attempted, to seek refuge in the U.S. might do so at the risk of criminalization or death. HIV is still a storm that rages in the lives of many Black people. The wealth gap that exists between Black and White Americans is vast. We are living under the regime of a presidential administration that has rode the wave of white nationalism, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, queer and trans antagonism, sexism and misogyny.
But we are here, some of us, and we are continuing the fight so that we might create a Black liberative world out of ruins.
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