In a year of incredible trials, the trans community has continued to build the connection and interdependence necessary to thrive and usher in a better world.
Like so many others, I’ve been chirping about the end of 2020, as if the transition from one year to the next will somehow magically suture our open wounds.
It has felt hard to state how much I’ve been missing my family lately. But Audre Lorde and Pat Parker’s relationship is a testament to the life-affirming power of queer kinship. Their enduring love attests to the power and beauty of Black queer sisterhood.
On the 24th day of quarantine, I turned on all of the lamps in my room and took off all my clothes. Then I stood in front of the mirror and stared.
To be Black in this world is to be intimate with a kind of living death. It’s an intimacy no one craves, and yet Black people know better than most that Audre Lorde speaks truth to power when she says “we were never meant to survive.”
Getting top surgery with my butch identity is no longer some unattainable fantasy. Now the question firmly rests with me: do I want to go ahead with it or not?
I am safe nowhere, the Black women in my family of origin and family of choice are safe nowhere. It’s a fact we’ve known but one that feels all the more threatening in the wake of continuing violent injustice for Black women.
In my own myth, New York has been the cornerstone of what shaped me, finally allowing myself to be in my queerness. While the New York I inhabited and the one of Audre Lorde’s life looked radically different, Lorde’s relationships and the women she loves and lusts for each leave her fuller than before.
I’m still angry. Breonna Taylor’s murderers still walk free. Let’s be real, they’re probably running around without masks. Audre Lorde’s sense of restlessness and barely concealed fury are evident. But so, too, is her unwavering belief in our magic.
We are in the middle of a revolution. My Black woman’s anger is here to signal a necessary sea change. Understand that all of our freedoms are bound up in one another.
“I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!”
Suffice to say that we’ll all be coming out of this pandemic different people than we were before — but for many people, being in isolation is specifically providing the opportunity to explore their sexuality and gender in an intimate and unprecedented way.
This is dedicated to those who are just trying to make it through every day. It’s been gratifying on an almost cellular level to find that the queen mother Audre Lorde can so frequently speak to the times and places in which we find ourselves. Her final book of poetry, “The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance,” is no exception.
Three weeks ago I began my Coronavirus self-quarantine. Faced with the reality that I wouldn’t see anyone, I started an experiment. I wasn’t going to shave, paint my nails, or put on makeup — until I wanted to, for myself.
One of the biggest lessons of Audre Lorde’s work is the strength of coalitional politics. I need a movement that can hold my anger. I need a movement that can hold my contradictions. I shouldn’t have to qualify my rage when speaking out about injustice.
I’m pairing Audre Lorde’s 1984 conversation with James Baldwin and arguably her best-known speech, “The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” in hopes of exploring how our power and freedom lie in embracing our differences as the source of our strength.
The Heart is essential queer podcast listening. Imagine an oozing volcano of punk-infused feminist hauntings and awakenings in your headphones.
Introducing our new series: Year of Our (Audre) Lorde, a monthly analysis of works by queen mother Audre Lorde as they apply to our current political moment. First, how harnessing our erotic power can help us THRIVE!
I’m not trying to win you over to my interpretation of the lyrics of any of these songs; but I am inviting you to explore the world within each of them. Looking at songs we love through a trans lens can teach us new things about our gender.
Make sure to be kind and generous to yourself, give yourself plenty of time to process all of these important feelings, and don’t rush it!
A common refrain in trans activism is to “give us our roses while we’re still here” instead of just honoring us upon our deaths. Donating to, uplifting, and otherwise supporting Black trans-led projects like the Okra Project is a tangible way we can do exactly that.