“The culture wants us obsessed and addicted; they don’t want us joyous and happy. The tarot card of the sun with the child naked and joyful — well, I feel I deserve that, too! Whether I get it at forty, fifty or whatever — I deserve that kind of joy. I see animals happy; why the fuck can’t I be happy? And by happiness I don’t mean "having everything." What kind of culture is this that breeds materialism, misery and depression? How come I can’t be happy? I think that’s part of healing: not just saying "I survived, I made it," but somewhere finding an ecstasy in my heart.”— Sapphire
“Why am I compelled to write? Because the writing saves me from this complacency I fear. Because I have no choice. Because I must keep the spirit of my revolt and myself alive. Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it.”—Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua
But it’s a little too risky. If I’m half decent I’ll end up in jail, and if I’m really good I’ll probably end up dead. Imperialists and corporatists guard their wealth like dragons. Only those who steal from the poor are shown mercy.
I saw these crabs at a beach in Belize; Stone crabs with two different sizes of claws. One which is more common and the other, which was humongous. My friend Omar who was showing me around, told me that waiting for the big claws to grow is pretty much a big deal for these crustaceans. Like people waiting for love or knowledge I suppose. These precious claws, unfortunately, are the popular tourist delicacy. $7 Belize dollar per plate.
So the fishing-people catch these crabs, tear their big claws out, then throw the remaining of this half-alive-half-dead being right back into the water.
I assumed that these crabs would be traumatized after this, start sinking to the bottom of the sea with sadness, mourning over the loss, drowning down with despair until they died. Completely.
But no! These crabs start growing another big claw all over again. With the same passion, I was later told. And they keep on coming back and crawling around as if having that adored part of them torn apart never even happened.
A group of American marines sitting besides us laughed at that remark.
“Stupid crabs.” They said.
“Anta Ghabi” (You are stupid) Whispered Omar.
These crabs want these claws. They know that they want these claws. They know that the Ocean wants them to have these claws. Losing them does not alter that desire or that belief. So regardless of how & how many times they go through this painful loss, they continue. They crawl back to the surface of the ocean to kiss the sUn & the mOon. They know what they want. They know that the Ocean wants them to have it.
BlackOUT is a magazine for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer identifying individuals of African descent.
BlackOUT magazine was founded by Sajdah Golde after her experience as a cast member of Showtime’s The Real L Word, a reality television series that focuses on lesbian women living and loving in Los Angeles. After receiving both praise and criticism for her role in representing the African-American LGBTQ community, she was committed to creating a new venue for black same-gender loving individuals to get the attention they deserve. BlackOUT magazine will cover topics from fashion and lifestyle to addressing current issues in the African-American LGBTQ communities.
BlackOUT magazine will feature a host of African-American LGBTQ individuals and Allies who are encouraging the respect and support of the LGBTQ community, within the black community!
Rewards are priced to match actual prices! So when you support BlackOUT Magazine, you are essentially pre-ordering your subscription and/or ad space. The stickers and totes are a small token of our appreciation for your early support of this project! Thank you!
I was talking a couple of nights ago with the beautiful and fabulous Cherry Galette about the femme/butch dichotomy that seems to be so prevalent in queer community, lamenting the fact that feminine-identified girls like us who want to get down with other feminine-identified girls sometimes get funny looks. Or just…less play.
Somewhere back in the early days of queerdom, some queen decided that femme/butch was what every couple should look like. Said queen (I think her name was Miss Noxzema Jackson, but I might be confusing her with someone else) waved her glitter-star-tipped magic wand and put a spell on errrrbody, child. Okay, that might not be exactly how it happened. It might have had more to do with mimicking heterosexual female/male gender-roled relationships (heteronormativity, y’all!). But whatever. This is not an anthropology paper, okay, nerd?
What this is, is me being a teensy bit salty.
I identify mostly as aggressive femme, and my gender-presentation moves along a spectrum from femme to what I like to call “borderline tomboy” and back, depending on my mood. I am attracted mostly to women who are both feminine-identified and feminine-presenting. This puts me in a peculiar place in queer dating society. When I am presenting femme, I get a lot of attention from bois and studs and butches. Who are all wonderful people, I’m sure, but who do not necessarily “float my boat,” as they say (and by “they” I mean your grandparents). When I am presenting borderline tomboy, I get more attention from femmes, but something about the attention feels a little bit off, maybe because I fear they are responding to what I think of as a small sliver of my overall gender-identification.
When I am on the East Coast, in Philly or NY, and especially if I am in a black lesbian club, my gender-presentation affects my every interaction. If I am presenting femme, I am immediately and almost exclusively approached by studs. If I am presenting borderline-tomboy, I may suddenly be on the radar of femmes. More often, though, in the latter situation, because I never fit solidly into any category that can be called “butch” or “stud”, nobody really knows what the hell to make of me. I’m supposed to be one or the other, right? A femme or a stud. Right?
Cherry assures me that this is not an East Coast thing. She says it’s big in the Bay Area, too. Cherry is femme all the time, and high femme much of the time. I have one pair of boy jeans. Cherry has no pairs of boy jeans. Cherry also prefers femmes, but because she is so femme, most of the attention she gets is from butches and studs and other masculine-of-center folks.
So…what’s a femme-loving femme to do? (Really. I’m asking…)
None of this is to say that everybody is hardcore into the femme/butch thing. Nor is it to say that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just to say that…well…
Okay. At the Femmes of Color Symposium last summer in Oakland, there was this keynote speaker whose name I don’t remember who gave this whole spiel about femmes and the way we interact with our bois. Like, she didn’t even leave room for the idea that some of us might not be into bois at all, or might be into both bois and other femmes. That idea didn’t seem to have crossed her mind. That’s what has me salty about this. Not that there’s anything whatsoever wrong with femmes loving butches and vice versa, but that sometimes it feels, in queer community, like no other option is allowed. That no other kind of desire is even recognized as existing.
Heteros, on the other hand, are obsessed with femme-on-femme loving. It’s really the only fictional “lesbian” relationship you ever see represented in mainstream movies and television. And, of course, porn. Maybe that’s it. Maybe male-created lesbian porn is how femme-on-femme action got a bad rap. Cis dudes love femme-on-femme. And good queers reject everything that cis dudes like, right? I mean, that’s pretty much how I decide everything: if cis dudes like it, it’s my least favorite thing! Ew! Get that shit away from me!
But seriously. I’m ready to reclaim femme-on-femme loving, y’all. In a big way. Who’s with me?
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Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.