“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.”