In a few words, how do you identify?

I am a Black, queer afro-Carribean femme.

How do you show up in community & how are you held by your community members?

I show up in a myriad of ways in community, it really depends and mostly happens in silence behind the scenes. What this can look like for me is showing up and making myself available to individuals within the community that are needing to be connected to necessary resources and supports. Considering the needs and limited access, I do my best to leverage whatever connections I have within my networks to assist those within community. I especially enjoy connecting youth to the larger LGBTQ+ community and resources. Advocacy is a strength so I get to flex that muscle in collaboration with members of our community. I also work to create identity affirming spaces, because it makes a difference when individuals feel seen, validated, and welcomed for all of who we are. A big way I do that is through my zine, Intersections, which is a space for our narratives to be told by us. As someone who does a lot of holding and who is very self-sufficient, part of my current self-work is learning how to allow myself to be held and receive. 

How do you celebrate and affirm yourself?

I am relishing in the level of deep intimacy I have built with myself for myself. I laugh, dance, play, journal, observe and remember. I am leaning into what life has to offer while extending compassion and grace to myself. I really do my best to carve out space to just let myself be. I’m pretty silly and goofy most of the time and love witnessing myself in my various dimensions. I’ve recently uncovered that I am extremely funny and I really love that for me! It has taken me years of intentional self-work to be where I am with myself, especially as the outside world consistently works to invalidate my being. I am actively affirming that there is room for all of me here and I intend to continue to take up space. I also surround myself with people who love me for who I am and affirm me in my being. 

Tell us more about you! How do you spend your time? What brings you joy?

I love spending time with my plants! I especially love tending to them and watching them grow, such a powerful meditation. I have also been spending more time in nature, especially near water. I find time to read and engage in curious exploration. For work, I am a social work lecturer teaching undergraduate students within the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver. I am also a mentor to young adults, many are navigating the world of higher education. I try making myself available as a resource. I had to do a lot of figuring out on my own and that was challenging, so in supporting them, I get to be the person I longed for but never found as I maneuvered through the world. 

What is most significant and important to you personally about Black LGBTQ+ history?

I am realizing that there are so many Black LGBTQIA2+ ancestors whose stories I will never get to hear. This brings about a great amount of sadness mixed with a strong desire to seek out stories of my people. For instance, I recently learned of Frances Thompson a remarkable Black transcestor, and I am so eager to learn more.

What is your favorite aspect of being Black and LGBTQ?

My favorite part is existing at the intersections of Blackness and queerness. Within my identities, I love to remind myself that resilience is intricately woven into every ounce of my being, knowing that I was birthed forth by ancestors who did what was necessary to survive. I do my best to live out loud while holding onto Aunty Audre Lorde’s words, “we were never meant to survive.” I love my community, I love our vibrancy, the countercultures we have created. The ways we witness and hold each other in the complexities of our beings. There’s so much depth here! Our very existence communicates all that is radically possible beyond the restrictiveness of this world. I love my people and love celebrating with my people! 

Meet another 2022 Black History Month LGBTQ Community Spotlight