Micky Brad­ford

GA Voice - - Blackgaypride -

“As a small I child I re­call be­ing very awk­ward - not feel­ing pretty. Later in life I was mis­treated for be­ing an out black les­bian. So I had to learn there were other ways to de­fine ‘me’ that were pos­i­tive. I be­gan to think about those things that made me feel good—such as church, mu­sic, and help­ing oth­ers—and em­brace them to shape who I am. Learn­ing to see a ‘new beauty’ and em­brace it ul­ti­mately led me to a won­der­ful life of ser­vice to peo­ple and my com­mu­nity.

There were times I did not feel good about my­self be­cause of what some­one else may have said about me - I didn’t let it stop me. I would just prac­tice play­ing my sax­o­phone a lit­tle longer and as a re­sult ex­celled in mu­sic and even­tu­ally would go to col­lege on a mu­sic schol­ar­ship.

My be­lief that God called me to a world of

“For­tu­nately, I’ve done the self-work to ac­cept that my black­ness, queer­ness, my var­i­ous tal­ents as a poet, lyri­cist, or as an ed­u­ca­tor and youth ad­vo­cate, are part of the unique tapestry that marks my hu­man­ity.

Do I give voice or rea­son to those who’d dis­af­firm the things about me that make me spe­cial, be­ing HIV-pos­i­tive in­cluded? Should I be a slave to any­one’s dic­tates about how I live my best life in ser­vice to oth­ers? My an­ces­tors knew a lot about be­ing de­nied free­dom; about oth­ers telling us how to live or be.

So I coura­geously flaunt ev­ery ounce of lib­erty I have for those who couldn’t. I dis­miss iden­tity pol­i­tics that would ask if I’m more black than queer or other such ridicu­lous­ness. To ac­cept that ‘I’m all that and then some’ is to ac­cept the call that I have a bit

Septem­ber 2, 2016

“I iden­tify my­self as a young African-Amer­i­can gay male, who is HIV-pos­i­tive. I em­brace my sta­tus, and live my life like an open book. Be­ing able to do so re­quired me to un­der­stand

“What a time to be alive! I’m al­ways ex­cited for Pride week­end. I can’t get the J-set­ting, the vogu­ing, and oth­er­wise danc­ing on beat at White Pride. I chuckle softly when non-black folks call La­bor Day pride ‘Black Gay Pride’ all spelled out. Clock­ing the gap re­minds me that now more than ever, we have to cel­e­brate while we can.

Be­ing proud to be black is less about buy­ing into an in­di­vid­ual iden­tity and more about rec­og­niz­ing we need our cul­ture, our joy, and (most im­por­tantly) each other. 20 transwomen were killed this year that we know of. The av­er­age life ex­pectancy of a transwoman of color is 35. I’m 25 this year. My joy and where I find com­mu­nity are less about how I iden­tify and more about how the state will or won’t value my life.

The world is still learn­ing that gen­der comes in more than two; we are more than pink and blue. So I fight, I or­ga­nize, I love, I laugh, I read, I vogue, and I pay no mind to the rest [in­sert nail emoji]. What a time to be alive! Black. Trans. Gen­der non­con­form­ing. 25. Happy Pride, y’all.”

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