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!

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:

 

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…)

Jeanne Lorioz, fat woman, art

Flesh

The body is an elusive mistress that betrays me in my moments of deference—not just wholly for the loveliness of curving hips and a man’s defining muscles, but for my own horror of admiring, and at times even hesitantly defying, media’s perception of beauty. I am not talking about my reverence for the aforementioned curves and muscles. I am not talking of media’s bias towards the lanky, the fair-faced; a celebrity’s airbrushed features glorified in the latest edition of a magazine—no. Since I was twelve, I burdened a strange endearance for the wide and plush (not curvy) bodies bereft from media, and grew to love those types of bodies unconditionally notwithstanding the lack of confidence in my own. (more…)

Sip

Come here boy, my bitter cup of coffee

awake aromatic senses as I sip slowly your letters ‘bout love, lips, and sin

as my breath, boy, meets your fire, heating my desire, I feel your touch in my gut dispersing through my body, boy, like desperate darts, dashing by danger signs. (more…)