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    Entries in qpoc (11)

    Thursday
    Dec102015

    The bklyn boihood calendar 

    Greetings earthlings --

    You may have noticed there was no call this year for models for our annual calendar. That’s because, for the first time since the beginning of bbh, we elected to not do one this year.

    Each year our calendar has brought something special and perfect. Each year we hear stories of its impact. As we grow and evolve, we want the calendar to grow and evolve too. So over the next 12 months, we’ll be curating doing a 2017 multi-media calendar project. We’ll share more details but it’s going to involve various platforms (video, print, possibly audio) and ways to connect with the models of this and past years.

    In 2010 the calendar was a icy hot snowball that got thrown out into Brooklyn. To be a boi was not a rarity, but to be a boi unabashedly celebrating one’s presence in the world, to be handsome and beautiful, to participate in a photoshoot dedicated to affirming your place in the world--that was revolutionary and unique. We didn’t know it then, but the work was built upon generations of elders and ancestors who were doing their own types of affirming and organizing.

    As the years went on, the calendar spread to dozens of states, several countries and a few continents. Tumblr wasn’t really poppin’ yet. Instagram didn’t exist. Buzzfeed hadn’t featured bois. We were not in fashion. We were, as we continue to be, in danger, misunderstood, hyper-generalized. We were, as many of us continue to be, unaware that being a boi--being gender non-conforming, transmasculine, masculine-of-center--all those things--is not married to a particular brand of masculinity that teaches us violence, possession, fear. Our calendars were an attempt to become unafraid. 

    Since 2010 there are many, many more ways for bois of color to see themselves represented in the world. Some of them are shallow; others extra problematic and others are amazing. But it’s not enough. A one-dimensional calendar is no longer enough. We are dreaming bigger and can’t wait for what’s going to come.

    -the bois

     

     

    Thursday
    Mar142013

    GIVE: Elixher's Digital Magazine and National Launch

    "The more I do work in Black LGBT space, the more compelled I feel to debunk the myth that Black people don’t give and don’t invest in their own. Community doesn’t build itself. And if we want to create and sustain the resources that are for us and by us, we have to invest in them." -Kim McLeod, Founder of Elixher Magazine

     

     

    TWITTER: @ELIXHERMagazine |  DONATE TO ELIXHER'S DIGITAL MAGAZINE CAMPAIGN HERE!

     


     

    Who doesn't love Kimberley McLeod ? Her work is everywhere right now, like here and here. Here too. She's the phenomenal founder of Elixher Magazine (elixher.com), Communications Director for the National Black Justice Coalition, a writer with features in Ebony.com and GLAAD...and the list goes on.

    More than any of that, Kim gets a super-special shout out from bklyn boihood because she's been repping us from the jump. From calendars to parties and fundraisers--she takes time to sit down and put in work to get the word out about our work. 

     

     Thank you for your ongoing support + love, Kim! 


    So people tell you to give.

    YOU SHOULD! GIVE!

    But for queer people of color--people for whom historically money has not always been as readily available--donating can feel challenging or burdensome. We asked Kim a bunch of questions about fundraising in our community and she gave us great feedback (and food for thought). Before you read any further though, watch this video from her to us (and you!) that is very amazing and lovely:

     

     

     

    From Kimberley McLeod, Founder of ELIXHER.COM:

    The more I do work in Black LGBT space, the more compelled I feel to debunk the myth that Black people don’t give and don’t invest in their own. Community doesn’t build itself. And if we want to create and sustain the resources that are for us and by us, we have to invest in them.

    The community has played a critical role. I feel like we’ve built ELIXHER together—from our contributing writers to community partners that continue to signal boost our work and our cause. ELIXHER is surrounded by loyal supporters that affirm and validate our existence. I’m so humbled by it all.

    Black Lesbians United has been religiously posting about the campaign to their 43,000 plus Facebook followers. Jeanette, one of their organizers, is just incredible. Her unwavering support has meant more than I can express. I recently wrote about this amazing community of black sisterfriends that surrounds me. Jeanette is one of those. Before you can finish asking for help, she moves to action.

    Some friends and ELIXHER contributors have organized “giving circles” with targeted fundraising goals.

    Janet Mock has been such an avid supporter. She was our first funder and has been spreading the word.

    Autostraddle recently did a feature on ELIXHER and the campaign. They’ve also contributed. GLAAD will be running an ELIXHER interview for Women’s History Month. Sistah Sinema and Say I Do! Wedding Expo have both partnered with ELIXHER to donate a portion of their sales to the campaign.

    The list goes on.

    It truly takes a village to raise money. And I’m so grateful to my village behind me.

    When LGBT folks of color proudly say they donated and invested in causes they help model giving behavior. Sure, LGBT people of color might not have the means to give at the level of their white counterparts, but most of us have the means to buy that drink at the club or that latte in the morning. I want to be a part of radically shifting how we view philanthropy and supporting our own.

    It’s about values and priorities. It was difficult for me as a person of color to even ask for help, to ask for people to invest in my project. There’s this culture in the Black community where we put up this façade like we have all our shit together and don’t need help from anyone. But we do. We need each other and that’s a beautiful thing.

    (What's next for ELIXHER?)

    Continued growth.

    This phase of fundraising is the first of many steps to make ELIXHER self-sustainable. At the tail end of the campaign, you can expect our DC launch. There will be a big unveiling of the digital publication. We’ll also be celebrating our 2-year anniversary. Brooklyn’s very own DJ Mursi Layne will be spinning and I encourage my Brooklyn folks to come out. It’s on Saturday, March 30 at Tabaq. Check out the Facebook event for details.

    You can also expect the launch of ELIXHER Magazine in April. AzMarie Livingston from America’s Next Top Model is our Spring cover girl. We’ll also be undergoing a website redesign and opening an online store for merchandise.

    I’m excited for this next chapter of ELIXHER. 2013 is going to be a big year for us and for our community. -KM

     


    We love you Kim! We got your back and know for sure that thousands of dollars are headed your way. Thank you for your hard work.  <3, the bois

     

     

    DONATE TO THE ELIXHER INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN HERE! 

     

     

    Wednesday
    Mar062013

    Everybody has to ‘Pick a Lane’?

     

    By: The Ignant Intellectual

     

     

    This blog post is a result of FB conversation in a secret group that I am in. The group appears to be primarily composed of trans-identified folk. The question was around 'studs' who prefer masculine pronouns and to be referred to as 'daddy'. 
    ---------------------------


    My response:
    How can we expect to have a spectrum within trans-communities, if we are incessantly forcing people to look ONE way. or be ONE way. If every trans-masculine person was on T, how is there ever to be a diversity...a spectrum? If every person of trans experiences, identified as trans-man or trans-woman, what's the point. It's really all about others feeling comfortable. and that's not ok. 

    What I observe in my trans-experiences is that many of the groups in the alphabet soup, simply re-create heterosexual paradigms. 

    In the heterosexual world, you have males, females, and middle sex folk. Men and women are the primary representations and middle sex folk are mocked. The standard is men being paired with women. Anything else is shunned. Two men together is demonized and two women together is eroticized/objectified for the consumption of men.

    Within Lesbian communities, you have femmes and studs as the primary and most validated representations. Stems are accused of being confused (mocked). The standard pairing is femme and stud. Two studs together are shunned. Two femmes together are eroticized/objectified for the consumption of masculinity.

    This is simply a re-creation of heterosexual norms. And if it's damaging in those communities, what makes us think it won't be damaging in ours. 

    Within trans communities, we are forced to play roles and exist from scripts. we are expected to be trans, explore a lil bit our inner desires and the why behind our identity, get on t, identify as males, get our gender markers changed, get a name change which is often some derivative of our female names, hustle for money to hack our boobs off, pack, and date/marry a femme. And if we don't, we are told that we need to see a psychiatrist and/or that our reasonings for certain actions are immature and not well thought out. 

    So much so that you have trans folk writing blogs about what a 'real man' is. FOH.

    Trans-masculine folk do not have a hegemonic grasp on non-feminine pronouns. I know someone that is female-bodied, has a voice as high as a soprano, boobs, long hair and identifies as male. He presents as a stud but is **obviously** not a bio-male. He prefers masculine pronouns. And you know what? it's not up to me or anyone else to tell HIM that HE should be referred to as SHE simply because HE has boobs, is not on T, and his presentation is somewhat feminine. it is hard for me? Sure. i am socialized and conditioned just like anyone else. But it's also not ok for me to say, yo, this is hard for me so let me refer to you as she. FOH.

    We MUST expand our thinking. Or we will continue to be a dog chasing its tail. Getting absolutely nowhere.


    I have said it before, and I will say it again. To TRANScend gender means that my gender is not tied to my genitals. It means that sex is not tied to my birth-assigned sex. it means that my ‘doing gender’ TRANScends a binary. it means that if at 7am, i am giving you boy, that’s 7am but if at 7pm, i’m giving you girl, that’s 7pm. And at 7pm, I should not be bound by what was happening at 7am. It means that every minute of everyday, i am evolving and changing and revolving and ebbing and flowing. It means that I own my identity and I don’t have to ‘pick a lane’. It means that I let my dates open doors for me and pull out chairs for me. It means that I am keenly aware of my masculine privilege and work tirelessly at not abusing it. It means that YOU don’t get to genderize me based on YOUR ideas of what gender is. it means that men have vaginas and girls have penises. It means that you are just going to have to get over it. it means that I CHOOSE my gender based on MY comfort level. it means that i am all that gender is and all that it is not.
    Thank you for listening to my semi-organized rant.

    Light & Love,
    The Ignant Intellectual

    --

    The Ignant Intellectual is a New Orleans-reared writer, poet, and spoken word artist who has been writing before completely mastering the English language. From the accent to that je ne sais quoi that folk have been trying to put words to for far too long, to the curious name, The Ignant Intellectual is indeed a 'strange fruit'. I.I.'s goal in writing and performing is to deconstruct the many unconscious social constructions that guide our mental processes and ultimately our actions, to influence youth and elders to re-imagine what is, pushing/pulling the collective to our full potential. The Ignant Intellectual's vibrant, often humorous, and always though-provoking writings and performances convey that, "Life really is good enough to be true." And so it is.


    Facebook: www.facebook.com/ignantintellectual
    Twitter: @ignantintellect
    Blog: ignantintellectual.tumblr.com
    Radio Show: queer2thet.blogspot.com
    Email: ignantintellectual@gmail.com

    Monday
    Aug272012

    Todd Akin's Ill-Informed Commentary

    [Originally published here.]

    A Response from The Ignant Intellectual

    The intersection of power, privilege, and ignorance can be a perilous epicenter. As it stands, privilege, when abused and not perpetually checked, can develop into an albatross of mental stagnation and ignorance. When that level of encumbrance meets power, it’s a guaranteed cataclysm. An example of such a misfortune is what the world saw last weekend during the taping of The Jaco Report on FOX 2.

    During an episode of the show, Todd Akin, Missouri Senate Republican Candidate, made a comment that sent every ovary and vagina in America and abroad into an uproar. Since Todd Akin’s ill-informed comment regarding the biology of rape and pregnancy, opinions have been airborne. From well-known female writers like Eve Ensler to lesser-known female writers like…ME! From the moment Akin spewed his male and white privilege across the room, my mind went somewhere. The majority of the responses that I have read position females as survivors and males as privilege-wrought, anti-feminist, imprudent antiquates. I challenge us to view this dyad from a rarely discussed angle. Comments like Akin’s prompt me to wonder if, given the number of under-reported male violations, some of these men are actually rape survivors who choose to project upon females value-laden sentiments from unhealed spaces.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting that Akin, is (or is not) a survivor. But surely not all of these dudes are genuinely assholes, right? Surely not all of the remarks and decisions being made by males in power regarding the female body are just ignorant men using their privilege to make decisions for a female body within which they have no lived experience, right? While that may be part of the argument, let’s dig a little deeper as I find the majority of the responses to comments made by Akin (and others like him) to be pedantic and stop prematurely. In my opinion, someone somewhere in some of these men’s lives told them (verbally or non-verbally) something that sent an overall message that what was happening was not legitimate. In turn, like many survivors, they repeat what they were told…either directly or indirectly in word, action, or deed. Silencing is exceptionally loud.

    The moment someone is born, a certain sociological crime is committed. Actually, it is committed every moment of every day, but its intensity increases every time a baby enters the world. The crime is the propagation of a widely accepted untruth: that we are merely ‘genders on legs’. Culturally, we have a tendency to ‘genderize’, essentially, every part of life. From which restroom we use to what color clothes babies wear to even whom is more often raped and/or molested! Little of our socialization transpires exclusive of our birth-assigned sex and our socially-assigned gender. (Because the topic of sex versus gender is not the purpose of this article, I won’t devote much energy to that, except to say that sex is biologically-assigned and gender is socially-constructed).

    Within the first few seconds of meeting someone, we have already gendered them according to the sex we perceive them to be, which means that we have categorized them based on our existing concepts of what a girl and a boy should be, do, and have endured. Dude, what is your point? Glad you asked! Not only have we been self-relegated to simply ‘walking genders’, so much of our existence, including non-consentual sex, is determined, quantified, and stratified by gender. Not only are they highly racialized, rape statistics are also disproportionately gendered, both academically and in our everyday mental processes. When we hear the words ‘rape’ or ‘molestation’, because of conditioning, we automatically think ‘female’ or ‘girl’. So much so that when a male suggests that he has been sexually violated, his entire manhood is called into question even sometimes to the point of having his sexuality interrogated.

    Rape statistics are overwhelmingly reported as (female) rape, whereas rape of males is generally documented as prison rape or as a weapon of terror in warfare. In fact, the overall notion of violence has grown to become a rather masculine term. So it makes sense that when males, such as Akin, speak on the topic of sexual violations, we rarely even think that they could, indeed, be speaking from a place of personal experience and that, because of the social stigma around men and rape, these experiences may be being presented as projection and/or displacement. However, if a woman had made a comment like Akin’s, after the initial shock, our response and subsequent analyses of her statement would have been completely different. We would have probably been less likely to demonize and more likely to victimize her—thus sympathize with her. Even demonization and victimization are gendered, but that’s a whole nother talk show. My point is that, globally, we seldom mentally/socially position men as sexual abuse survivors— unless of course, we are trying to figure out why one of them is gay!

    We primarily view them as perpetrators and because we so readily genderize sexual abuse, our responses often fall short. While I am not saying that Akin is a survivor of sexual abuse, I postulate that this incessant gendering has a direct effect on conditioning and conditioning is often so unyielding in our psyches, that it might as well be proven fact. Admittedly, Akin and countless other powerful men could be just that reckless, but I argue that more men in power than have admitted, have been violated sexually but because of how male sexual violence is societally positioned, their spiritual and social residual energies manifest in very peculiar ways. And when this residual energy resides within the intersection of power, privilege, and ignorance, there is no telling how it will reveal itself. We must challenge ourselves to think beyond what we see.

    Seldom are people just assholes for asshole sake. Aside from male privilege, many of the opinions and statements made by our men are really the unhealed, hurting, and silenced little boys trapped inside of them needing to be heard. Few things are random and we all carry trauma. Ironically, despite all of the trauma, pain, and unhealed energy in the world, we respond to each other as if we are the most healed and polished people walking. Remember, we don’t see things are THEY are, we see them as WE are. 

    Light & Love,

    The Ignant Intellectual


    The Ignant Intellectual is a New Orleans-reared writer, poet, and spoken word artist who has been writing before completely mastering the English language. From the accent to that je ne sais quoi that folk have been trying to put words to for far too long, to the curious name, The Ignant Intellectual is indeed a 'strange fruit'. I.I.'s goal in writing and performing is to deconstruct the many unconscious social constructions that guide our mental processes and ultimately our actions, to influence youth and elders to re-imagine what is, pushing/pulling the collective to our full potential. The Ignant Intellectual's vibrant, often humorous, and always though-provoking writings and performances convey that, "Life really is good enough to be true." And so it is.

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/ignantintellectual

    Twitter: @ignantintellect

    Blog: ignantintellectual.tumblr.com

    Radio Show: queer2thet.blogspot.com

    Email: ignantintellectual@gmail.com

     

    Monday
    Aug272012

    Happy Endings Anyone?

     

    This is a crazy world

    These are such lonely days... -some song at the end of "Prayers For Bobby"

     

     

    I don't even know how to begin to say what I'd like to say. I'm too emotional -have been for a while now- to utter any coherent words beyond a stammered "thank-you..." To the boihood for everything that they do to affirm us and hold us down with their positive representation of queerness & masculinity. To my new found friends abroad and here at home who have been accepting and awesome and truthful and supportive etc...

    But before that. There's been a greater urge within me -suppressed like nothing you can ever imagine- to scream "HELP!" So I guess this is it. This is me succumbing to the basic human need to enlist the assistance of your fellow people in trying to stay afloat. In trying to survive. Survive what? Fuck you talking about? Yes; I hear you asking the questions. Impatient, ready to walk away before you get sucked into some lunatics ramblings about something that probably has nothing to do with you in the first place. And maybe it doesn't. Maybe there's nothing you can do to help me. But maybe...

    Maybe you know of someone or are someone who understands the desperation I am about to describe here.

    I guess I should start by letting it be known that I am chastising myself -right now- for watching far too many "sad" queer films. You know, Boys Don't Cry, What Makes a Family, The Laramie Project (a doccie-type film about Mathew Shepard), Soldier's Girl etc. All of which have very painful undertones and don't cast a very "light" light on what it means to be queer in the world today. For the most part these films seem to be the only type of movies out there for people who would like to watch serious gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual films and not gay porn. I have noticed however that there is a kind of commonality in these films and that is their "based-on-a-true-story" ness. 

    Because I'd sort of like to know what I'm up against.

    And I guess that is the problem. Sorry for getting to the point in such a round about way -but this is just how my thought-processes pan out sometimes. I get so immersed in all of these really bleak, really depressing stories about queer people and their lives that it's hard to imagine any kind of happy ending for my own journey. Now I know I'm probably a lil too young to be contemplating any kind of "end" to my "journey" here on earth but the truth of the matter is I've been thinking obsessively about there being an end to my journey/life for years. Please, don't be alarmed though; I'm leaning towards a much more optimistic outlook most of the time so I won't be doing anything uh...stupid. 

    But that doesn't mean it's easy.

    I think I internalize shit far too much. The hatred so many people feel towards anyone who is "other" out in the world is one I have had to work incredibly hard not to turn in on myself. And I've felt it on a lot more fronts than just that which is pertinent to my being queer. I feel it when people show hatred of black people. I feel it when people show hatred of female people. I feel it when people show hatred of masculine-identified female people, or black female people. It's real. And I feel it. And for a very long time feeling it was enough to make me want to be done with the world and life. Feeling it was enough to make me want to be dead. And as I continue to watch these films and think about what the world likely has in store for me as a black queer masculine-identified female person...I feel that hatred more than ever. 

    But I don't want to die. Really I don't. I would like to feel less alone in this though. I would like to know that yes it does get better and be told exactly how it gets better and how I can make sure it gets better for myself. I try so very hard to be brave daily. To forget that I have a parent -the only one I acknowledge as such- who would very quickly disown me if she ever found out I was queer. I try hard to pretend that it doesn't not sit well with me that everything that I am; everything that I love about being who I am is seen as sinful and "wrong" in the eyes of a community of people I've grown up with my entire life. I don't even identify as christian; yet years of indoctrination -continuing indoctrination- have culminated into this internal cess pool of shame, shame, shame.

    And this hurts me. It causes me so much pain to wake up everyday and feel shame about the people I fantasize about or have been in love with; to feel a sick mixture of self-love and shame every time I bind or wear my pants low or lower my voice or stare at another beautiful boi and/or want to touch them... I don't know how much longer I can go on dealing with the shame and facing the world with this internal battle waged against my sense of self-worth. It's fucked up that in any situation where I am called upon to give my opinion about a bigot's comments about queer people in general; I am able to cut that person down to shreds...but I STILL walk away with a bit of whatever hatred the bigot sent out into the air. A part of me still feels like absolute crap for being who I am.

    I dunno. I guess I just need to stay focused right? Think of all the awesome queer people I am going to meet and love and live among one day and not care that that life of happiness might just cost me the love of a parent and an entire community of people...

     

    -medusa

     

     

    Mercy Medusa Minah is a 20 year old, 2nd year Law student currently based in South Africa, Johannesburg. I identify as queer, go by female pronouns and I also identify as a feminist/womanist/humanist. I sing and write, act and draw and I read more than I breathe. I work part-time as a Math and English tutor for kids from the ages 4 to 18; some with learning difficulties and others who come from rough backgrounds. I also continue to work at GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action) and am an internet-hog.

    Facebook: http://www. facebook.com/mercymedusaminah | Twitter: @blacqqueer black queer artiste | My blog:http://www.medusaprose.wordpress.com | Email: blacqqueer@gmail.com