snap, solutions not punishment, trans women, trans lives matter, black trans women, atlanta, georgia

SNaP: MARCH 4 The Gurlz

Yesterday I conducted a short interview with the awesome ladies of Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaP Co) in Atlanta, Georgia about the upcoming “March 4 the Gurlz” march and rally. Starting on Sunday, March 26 at North Avenue MARTA Station in Atlanta, the march will start at 3pm and will give way to the rally that starts at 4:30pm.

March: NORTH AVE. @ 3pm | Rally: 4:30pm

We all know that Black trans women are among the most marginalized demographics in the population, and  SNaP Co got started some years ago through an initiative to address that in Atlanta. As Kamau Walton, SNaP’s media director, describes it: the goal of SNaP is to discover and rally for actual solutions to problems facing Black and Brown trans women without punishment and criminalization. Another leader of the organization, Jamie Freya, said about the goals of the march and rally: “it’s gonna be a space to heal, to be celebrated, to be affirmed, to be uplifted. That’s what it’s really gonna give immediately.”

It’s extremely important to put your money where your mouth is and walk the talk. We need to stand by our Black trans sisters and listen to their concerns and proposed solutions. If we’re going to be a whole inclusive community, we can’t be dismissive of our most vulnerable. With as much as they contribute to–hell, jumpstart–the life of our queer culture (and mainstream culture if we’re being honest–“slay” being a word your grandma uses?) we must protect them at all costs. Not just because of the cultural and emotional labor they provide, but because we love them and care about them.

If you plan on attending the march and rally, check out SNaP’s Facebook page. If you can’t make it, go donate to their initiatives and work!

Devyn Springer

Devyn Springer (Goin’ In Interview)

“I shade people from love,” says Devyn Springer, who asserts that the library is always open for a free reading–to educate them about themselves, of course.💁🏾

“I have this theory–it’s part of being both queer and Black,” he explains: “We need to be read to filth every now and then and told about ourselves and only a queer Black person can do that correctly.”

 

It’s a chilly weeknight and we sit in the middle of a long stairway that leads from the street into what’s probably a block of renovated lofts or a “modern office space.” The small Atlanta street sees a few cars passing by every now and then, and passersby are either on their way to a show across at the local theater or leaving the bar next door.

Devyn Springer is an artist-activist and educator from Atlanta whose dedication to all people in the Black diaspora has not gone unnoticed in local communities. A student at Kennesaw State University, a teacher, a photographer, a poet and artist, Deyvn has enough titles to make a Game of Thrones monarch blush.

But that’s what happens when you’re poppin, amirite?

As I sit down with Devyn and talk about all things Black, queer, intersectional and occasionally shady, I find myself super impressed with the dude. He’s someone who regularly attends Black Lives Matter protests and blocks highways as an act of civil disobedience, but he’s under no illusions: He believes that protesting is something that shouldn’t be glamorized. In fact, to hear him tell it (and you can), protest can be prayer.

Devyn also deconstructs toxic cis-patriarchal masculinity and hegemony in the media and in collective spaces. Drawing from a peer, Zoe S., he says “A lot of people in the diaspora and a lot of people with this toxic nationalist perspective, they weaponize Pan-Africanism.” He goes on to talk about intersectionality as a method of work, as opposed to the way it’s wrongly used in the mainstream to be a fancy synonym for diversity.

We talk for an hour, and honestly I’m energized enough to keep going on–even if only to talk about silliness–but the cold keeps getting colder and the day trudges on. We end the interview talking about Devyn’s awesome book Grayish Black and the upcoming lecture he’ll give in Syracuse. Honestly, the whole conversation was magical. Check it out below!

LISTEN TO THE WHOLE PODCAST

#1: “Protest as Prayer/Shade as Love” Devyn Springer (HalfAtlanta)

 

Also, check out Devyn’s website, cop yourself a copy of Grayish Black, and support Contemporary Queer so we can widen our scope and keep bringing you great moments like this!

Contemporary Queer Entertainers

Mainstream media has come a long way since the days where it was deemed acceptable to make awful jokes at the expense of queer and trans people. The media landscape is far more representative of the queer and trans people of color to whom they cater. And while there is always room for improvement, there should also be space to celebrate those entertainers who have found and thrived in an industry that consistently tells them they aren’t as amazing as they have consistently proven they are.

Laverne Cox

laverne cox, contemporary queer actress, african american, trans woman, blackLaverne Cox became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for Primetime Emmy in acting. Best known for playing Sophia in Orange is the New Black on Netflix, Laverne gained a following online for her trans advocacy and went on to be the first openly transgender person to snatch a cover on TIME Magazine. (more…)

brazil-trans-temer-lgbtq

Trans Future Under Temer (WATCH)

If you’ve been following the chaos that has been the state of Brazilian politics lately, you’ll know that the democratically voted president Dilma Rousseff of the Brazilian Worker’s Party is facing impeachment (which, thanks to new evidence, people are calling a right-wing coup d’état) and that centrist Vice President Michel Temer is now acting as the interim president while the Senate works on the case against Rousseff. If it seems confusing and impossible to understand, don’t worry–it is!

Within the first few days of his ascention to the executive post, Temer and his newly-appointed cis white male cabinet proceeded to toss Brazilian progress back by 50 years, doing away with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Racial Equality, the Ministry of Women, and the Ministry of Human Rights. Temer’s government seems to scream to anyone in doubt that it does not care for it’s most vulnerable groups at the institutional level.

It is a whirlwind of information and politics that has material consequences for people just trying to live their lives.

In this interview, I ask Morgan, a trans artist living and studying in Recife, Pernambuco, about her perspective on the goings on as it relates to trans people. This is what she had to say:

 

trigger, venus selenite, trans writer, contemporary queer, l

trigger by Venus Selenite | CQ Interview

venus selenite trigger, poet, artistVenus Selenite, DC-based poet and social critic from Baton Rouge, Louisiana  and self-described lesbiqueer has been in the poetry circuit since her early to mid teens. So it should come as no shock that she’s harnessed everything she’s learned and experienced to focus it into her debut book of poetry: triger.

And yes, the ‘t’ is lowercase, thank you very much. *Nail polish emoji*

A Black nonbinary trans woman who’s words can bring comfort or start fires, Venus agreed to let me conduct this interview on behalf of Contemporary Queer in celebration for trigger’s grand debut! (more…)

Black Queer Men and Beauty

Can Black boys and men be “beautiful”?

Can they be beautiful if they aren’t muscled and large with lowcut hair affecting a huge masculine presence?

Can they be beautiful with straight hair and slighter bodies?

Can they be beautiful if their features aren’t read as “mixed” or they aren’t considered to be “striking” with some feature that is so extreme it is read as uniquely beautiful?

I think we can, but I think that in a society that ain’t never loved us, we have to blaze our trails and set fire to the path to light up our way. (more…)

Are Braces Superficial?

Many people think that getting braces is a completely superficial thing to do and tend to belittle the braces themselves by saying they’re “just for cosmetic reasons.” As someone who has had the joy of having had them, I have to say that this is kinda sorta maybe definitely inaccurate. To show you why, I’ll share my perspective and why saying “just for cosmetic purposes” trivializes everything going on when a person chooses to get braces. (more…)

what's it like to be gay in recife, lgbtq, brazil, nordeste,

What’s it Like to be Gay in Recife?

What’s it like to be gay in Recife?!

Being gay in Recife is just like being gay anywhere else: You gay-wake up, go to your gay-car to get to gay-work, eat your gay-lunch and talk to your gay-gay friends and your gay-straight friends… KIDDING!

While the reality of it is that being gay in Recife has commonalities with every other place in the world, there are also some unique aspects that are probably specific (or so it may seem) to Recife. And these perspectives can change depending on your wealth, your color, your gender, and your expression–or your unique outlook on life. But for the moment I’ll try to be as general as possible. (more…)

what does cafucu mean in english

What Does Cafuçú Mean?

Brazil is one of those places where even when you’ve learned the language (or are learning, as is my case) there will always be some new expression that isn’t in your handy copy of “Everything You Need to Know About Brazilian Portuguese and Then Some.” Brazilian Portuguese is an immensely rich language with new phrases coming into the mainstream everyday. Multiplied by the fact that queer co-cultures create their own meanings and understandings… [Insert your deity here] have mercy! Today we’ll look at Cafuçú.

What does Cafuçú mean?

“Cafuçú” (pronounced: kah-foo-SOO) used in common Portuguese gay vernacular is a word that many queer Americans might understand as “trade”, or a masculine “straight-acting” and well-built man.  My initial understanding of cafuçú is that of “sexy gardener” or “sexy pool boy” or “sexy construction worker who arrives conveniently when someone’s partner isn’t there for some knock-knock-nookums.” Turns out I wasn’t far off. (more…)

Healthy Self-Esteem

“THEY SWIPED LEFT AND BLOCKED ME?! FOR WHAT???!” Downtrodden emoji.

“HAAAAY! I GOT 8 RIGHT SWIPES AND I’M SWIMMING IN DATES THIS WEEK!” Lady with hand up emoji.

Face it: You’ll either be high on your own ego or in the dumps of despair at any given moment–but what if I told you there was a middle path: Healthy self-esteem.

Many of us throw the word around, but do you really know what self-esteem is and how it impacts your life on the daily basis? We have a general idea but by better knowing this essential component of yourself, you take more control of your life from external forces.

Cos knowledge is power™!

What is Self-Esteem?

(more…)