Deantre, 20, Cave City, Kentucky
To me, Queer is a more intellectual term. It’s more to describe a broad range of sexualities. I identify as a femme non-binary person.
I don’t really have a certain pull towards a gender of sorts. I consider myself more femme because I feel like I take after my mother and the women I was raised around.
I’ve been blessed to have four mothers. Two grandmothers and two mothers. Seeing them, all black women, knowing all they went through and they always had a smile on their face. They’re the strongest and best people I’ve known to date. They’d go through the fucked up shit through the week, but get their makeup on and little heels and get their ass to church on Sunday.
I find femme as strong and powerful.
There was a reading that enlightened me about it, Femmes are the people that will put out 20 dollars in your books when you’re in jail, feed you when you’re sick and always take care if you. I find those qualities in myself and femme is so underrated.
It’s more of the performance of my identity of how I carry myself, rather than my identity alone. Sometimes I’ll wear eye shadow, lipstick, or just to go bare-faced. My identity plays a part in my politics, my interests such as being a Pan African studies major.
I don’t see a lot of black people talking about the Queerness., like myself. My identity also plays a part in my intellectual choices and romance.
My identity is more of a part of my life than I actually thought about.
When you have all these identities (non-binary femme person) you have to have these questions like, “Is this place safe for me?”
There is a lot of fetishization with my black queerness navigating that can be difficult.
I wrote a thesis paper on “BBC culture,” which was so funny because I got to say “big black cock” throughout the entire piece.
One of my sources was a porn website called “Thug Watcher,” where a group of white men go to “the hood” and find thuggish black men to fuck. This is the kind of expectations or stereotype of black men. Outside of my blackness, my femmeness will get fetishized.
I’ve been in Louisville for a few years, but I was raised in Cave City, Kentucky. Some of my neighbors even had confederate flags.
However I actually feel more unsafe in Louisville than cave city because Louisville has a lot of structural racism and that’s a whole lot scarier. Everyone knew my mom and family in Cave City; it’s a small town. I felt like a person there and I feel like another statistic in Louisville.
The system at play in Louisville is more powerful and older than in my home.
Cave City is just more comfortable. There isn’t conversation about what sides of the city need this or that …like grocery stores.
I’ve been in Kentucky whole life and people shit on the South, but I love it. It’s a hidden cultural Mecca. Louisville has a lot of potential with lots of people doing good thing. And I will stay in the South.
I’m sure there are many Queer people struggling in the south, but trust in your magic. Whatever it is, it’s gonna be alright you’ll figure everything out. Coming out is not a one- stop shop. I feel myself constantly coming out to myself or other folks. My family knows but it’s something they don’t talk about or celebrate. I don’t think they have the language to do so. (i.e. Understanding Queer terms)
On the topic of Queer education, we as a society have a bigger problem with not having a comprehensive sexual education program across the country. I think this leads to more sexual assault in our Queer community, especially for gay men.
The only type of Queer culture I saw growing up consisted of bars, bath houses, and bookstores. I didn’t know that being gay encompassed anything else other than fucking. Without education, we’re leaving young gay men out because they have no idea and have no cultural competency. All they’re coming into is sex and highs and it’s unsafe.
We don’t teach them what sexual assault consists of in schools.
Education is so important to me.
In the classroom is where I feel my absolute best or in any educational type settings. I love meeting up with friends to shoot the shit and then we’ll be talking about research and societal topics. Education is where I feel the most comfortable. We’re able to leave the identity or the bodily aspect of yourself out of the conversation and be able to just talk about cognitive aspect of ourselves.
However, I also love being in the disco lights. Just something ethereal about dancing.