The election of Donald Trump - a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, violent man - to the highest office of the United States is unprecedented for a number of reasons, among them, his galvanization of a white supremacist “alt-right” KKK movement.
And with the sheer volume of hate crimes that occurred after he won – including the passing of transphobic laws, like the North Carolina's HB2 this year – what's a black, queer woman to do?
Though my relationship with a man hides my queerness in a sort of closet, that’s what I am. I'm a black queer woman, and I want to support others more at risk in the queer community.
How can people like me, who have privilege in one way or another (though not in every way), help our fellow folk without taking up too much space? Here are five ways I support queer community:
1) Listen instead of taking space.
Because I am cis and het-presenting, I absolutely talk about issues surrounding the queer community and my personal experiences. However, I am not married to another woman (something that was only just legalized!!), and so I do not know those struggles. So when someone who is living that life every day speaks up about it, it’s my job to listen. Everything isn’t about me, and it is not necessary to make it so.
2) Support // Defend // Don’t let aggressions slide.
In social media circles, that means not allowing homophobia or transantagonism to go unchecked. That means making sure my language is friendly for all sexual orientations and gender identities. That means clicking “like” on the comments made by those with less privilege than me when they’re sticking up for themselves, and fighting for them when they need support or are ready to tap out.
Offline, it’s not letting comments from family members and friends slide because “that’s just their opinion” or “how they were raised.”
3) Stay intersectional.
I do this in everything I do. I am not just black. I am not just a woman. I am not just queer. I am all of these things. Every identity I have has informed my worldview and how I move about in the world. So make sure people understand the ways in which transantagonism is foisted upon black women, as well. The comments made towards and about Michelle Obama and Serena Williams are great examples.
Our fit bodies are objectively amazing, but because blackness (especially dark-skinned blackness) is seen as unfeminine, we are called “men” as an insult. This is transantagonistic to the core and perpetuates that being a trans woman, or that being an “unfeminine” woman is the wrong way to be.
To paraphrase Flavia Dzodan's famous line, my feminism (and my activism!) will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
4) Take care of yourselves.
For me, that means listening to myself when my bucket is empty. Self-care is crucial. Sometimes that could mean taking a shower or sitting down for a meal (even when I am not hungry) when depression takes its toll. Sometimes it means relaxing with a bubble bath when my anxiety gets the best of me.
5) Take care of each other.
This will be necessary in the resistance.
That may mean making space for others pain and triumphs. It may mean creating social spaces where you talk about books you love or home decor or whatever doesn’t stress you out. Since there is so much badness out in the world, creating a community of support can provide some goodness.
In the upcoming four to eight years, those of us who are marginalized are going to have to come together. That does not just mean presenting a united front of resistance in the face of an oppressive government, but also taking good care of ourselves and each other. We can fight our best fight if we are at 100%, and we can only get there together.
Editor’s Note: For more ways to take care of both yourself and others, follow our Facebook page, QTPoC Mental Health.
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A bearded Black gender non-conforming person with red lipstick, a blue shirt, and green bra is shown in the middle. They have long hair that's being blown to the side by the yelling of a blonde woman on the left of the image. Gender signs above her show she is heterosexual. To the right of the Black trans individual is a Black woman with short hair; above her are gender symbols for bisexual and heterosexual. She's holding a mic in front of the gender non-conforming individual in the middle.
About Brianna Cox:
Brianna is an unofficial food critic born, raised, living, and writing in Atlanta, GA. Her undergrad years in college were spent in the Midwestern tundra, and she attended New York University for grad school. She loves most animals, but her favorites are llamas and her Shih Tzu, Baxter. She enjoys many books, Netflix, and playing her ukulele, Yoko Ono.
About Isicera Dew:
Isicera is a neurodivergent, trans, mixed artist of spirit. She is on this planet to integrate Mutually Beneficial Consent Based Omnivorism into all systems. She shares these concepts more intuitively via consciousness enhancing tapestries available on etsy and fuels her ability to create and share thanks to people supporting her on Patreon. She’s passionate about body positivity, systems theory, food, communication, and the wisdom each being has to share to make the world a better place.