I see you.
Every time I sit down to write this column, to put into words all the tender spots in my heart, I feel this extreme tiredness.
The kind of tiredness that, even in 90-degree heat, sinks you right back under the covers.
I keep thinking about all the eyes that will see it. All the non-Black hearts that will try to connect with the love I intend only to go to you, my Black queer people. All the non-Black minds that will dissect and analyze all the words that only you understand, as fellow Black queer people.
May this letter to you, my Black queer beloveds, honor my unfolding. And may it be a mirror to your own.
To start, it is okay to be angry. To feel every inch of rage your parents told you to hide behind a smile in order to survive. It is okay to let the remnants of the white gaze on you smolder.
Do you, too, grieve the little Black queer child in all of us who never was allowed to grow up? I see them every day. We are witnessing the forging of our truths, and they are precious diamonds.
For the past 3 months, as I’ve sat with myself, laid before me are endless memories of micro-aggressions, misplaced expectations, disappointment, and a very low amount of worthiness.
Placed next to those are images of beautiful Black bodies, past and present, being beaten, passed over, hanged, murdered, and raped.
Their skin looks like mine. Do their gender and lover resemble me too? Are my ancestors upset I’m asking this question? You carry everything that is not yours when you are Black.
Do you, too, wonder: “How deep does this anti-Blackness and queerphobia go?” “How much does it live within me?” “How is it possible to hold so much rage and grief, while continuing to move our tired bodies through everyday life?”
Learning to love myself is a liberating choice I practice every day. There are days when that love looks like making a meal while dancing, and others when tears are the only thing I have the energy for.
As I sit with all this heaviness, my white loved ones and all of their expectations knock at my door. So I remind myself, and you, rest is your birthright.The white version of urgency is 400 years too late to the protest, and not your burden.
The exploitation of our people did not end on June 19th, 1865. It lives on in the never-ending demand for Black emotional and physical labor. As Black thoughts and dreams become popularized for the consumption of white folx, there will be whites who desperately want to work with you and make you their poster child for “woke-ness.”
You have every right to finesse this, and every reason to say “no” and rest. Grab your bag, speak your truth, and set clear boundaries. You don’t owe them your unpaid time nor energy.
In regards to those who told you your smile was too contrasting to your pigment, and your laugh too loud, please know that your Black joy reminds them of liberation they have not yet found within themselves.
You are a part of the Black experience. You have your ancestors at your back. They see and hold all your queerness, gender fluidity, and every inch of your melanated body. Remember these truths, as the weight of your footsteps honor your story, impressing upon this earth that you do exist.
Since the end of May, this entire world seems turned upside down, forced to gather all of its pieces and regroup. But for you, my dear Black beloved, this is nothing new. In a society not made for our queer Black spirits, we repair, rebuild, and rewrite our worlds every day — whether we want to or not.
You break the mold every time.
In this moment when nothing is as it was before, may we create a new reality out of Black matter. Out of our Black matter. While we awaken to the fact that we’ve been raised to believe our purpose is to serve — and to serve solely under a white framework — please know I love you.
You are seen, and every day you breathe on this earth is an act of resistance to a society that wants to see your life force snuffed out.