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9 Black LGBTQ Artists and Activists on What They’re Claiming Space for
"Claiming space means holding onto our truth. It means holding onto our power."
by NewNowNext Editors 2/19/2021
For LGBTQ people, claiming space for what we’re passionate about in a cisnormative, heteronormative world is an act of revolution. That’s why Logo is introducing Claiming Space, a new roundtable series where we pass the mic to a group of queer people we admire to speak on…well, whatever they want.
In honor of Black History Month, we asked nine Black LGBTQ activists, artists, and journalists — from RuPaul’s Drag Race legends Peppermint and Bob the Drag Queen to activists like Alphonso David and Qween Jean — about what causes, emotions, or personal goals they’re claiming space for in 2021. Read their answers below.
Artist, activist, and drag performer
I’m claiming space for anything and everything that makes the lives of trans people, specifically trans women of color, better, more productive, healthier, and safer. And one of those things is physical safety, the issue here being that the murder rate of trans women of color globally rises. A lot of that has to do with the visibility of trans people. Being more recognizable makes us a target, just like how hate crimes against gay people rise around Pride season.
One of the things that I think will be important to do in addition to making sure that the perpetrators get arrested is making space for the partners of transgender people, because many of these murders are committed by our lovers, people who are our intimate partners. They’re not just random attacks from strangers. So while we have people’s attention on issues of equality for trans people, what trans people look like, and whether or not they should be able to play sports… I think it’s important that we not stigmatize the partners of trans people, specifically the partners of trans women, usually cisgender men. There’s a lot of gay shaming that happens whenever we find out that [a cisgender man] is interested in or involved with trans women — which is why we never hear that people are interested in or involved with trans women, which makes it seem like we’re just alone and not lovable. And that message really resonates, so this year, I want to make space for this conversation. My new album is written with all of that in mind, and some of the projects I’ll be working on later on in the year that I’ll be ready to announce later are also focused on just that.