The other day, I mentioned Dirty Queer without full context. Resisting accommodating white exceptionalist solidarity, I will explain why I participated in an event in which it took me a year to be recognized by audience members, as worthy of engagement.
I performed on the racialization of queer brown women, the erasure of our sexual potential and or the isolation experienced at the first few social events I engaged without a negative or apologist response from the remaining founding organizer. It felt like the white support NPR’s Code Switch podcast on the safety pin box had discussed. She understood without needing to be explained why such efforts like the Safety Pin Box subscription were necessary. It is difficult to write because she, like the few white queers with whom I consistently engage and in whom I consistently emotionally rely on as friends should not be celebrated or regaled as phenomenal because they acknowledge my humanity.
The way I treat partial intersectional similarity people is completely based on return.
When my multiplicity can exist, I thrive and thrive well. When it can exist across difference, it allows each of our human experiences to evolve with each other. It is not work. It is not debilitating. My experience at Dirty Queer had been one of growing into a sexual literary per formative agency that permitted me to go further in my understanding of sexual desire beyond what I considered conventional. I bring that to the classroom as well as to future research ideas because I can. Because, on that stage, wanting sexual assault recovery compassion around anti-racist sexual and gender recognition was not a question. Because in that time and place, my humanity mattered. And while the voyeurism and white discomfort from the audience was something I trained myself to be resistant to, in light of limited black and brown open mics within my vicinity and transportation radius, pushing to read, listen and watch performers, primarily white explore their class and sexuality–preference and style–through various genres allowed me to think critically of my own.
I could return because it was not expected. I returned because consumption and objectification were not about being treated like property. On that stage and in that time, desire and, more importantly, consent, was necessary. Necessary on both sides. As colleagues in higher ed and on the front lines of anti-racist work say, only whites can effectively alter the staying power white supremacy. When sex and queer positive spaces seek to do that, it is important–imperative–they do so with the willingness to be uncomfortable and to listen. Like I knew who to avoid because I couldn’t hear blood play or age play, so too could others avoid or engage in listening to bilingual, righteously indignant brown-black femme. Their choice.
To situate the analysis, I started identifying as queer publicly in a predominantly. I will eventually meditate on the influence of being surrounded by queer woke femmes of color. Politically and intellectually, just existing made all the difference. And, in the time it took to get there, Dirty Queer’s consistency allowed me to find community where I could work to channel the anger. Move past the white supremacy and, as I named it, begin to tell the story of my body and how it needed to exist, to be desired and to desire in spite of it.