To Be Black, Queer, and Female

CW: references to Orlando massacre, general references to racism, sexism, queerphobia, transphobia, and related evils

My people are dying.

Every month, every week, every day – whether mainstream news outlets report it or not – my people are dying. Black and Brown people dying. Queer and trans people dying. Women dying.

And I am afraid.

I am afraid that one day one of my safe spaces will be violated and turned into a place of horror and grief. I am afraid that one day I will read a tragic news article and one of my friends will be listed as a victim. I am afraid that the wrong person will learn that I am queer or that my friends are trans and attack us. I am afraid that the police will one day see me or my friends or my family as a threat and find ways to justify murdering us. I am afraid that the men throughout my neighborhood who I think of as less than friends but more than acquaintances will feel so entitled to my body that my rejection of their advances will result in my murder.

I am afraid that fear will become the only constant I know.

And in the midst of those feelings, I am livid. Because no one should have to live with that kind of fear. No one should have to live with the terror and sorrow that take root in your heart when you see time and again there is no safe place for your people. No church, no club, no concert, no party, no theater, no school, no place at all that you can go and exist with the certainty that you will leave alive and whole.

I am livid because it makes no sense to me that other people cannot accept us – people of color, queer and trans people, women – as people worthy of respect and life. How dare anybody use their disturbing ideology to deny us our most basic human right – the right to simply live! How dare anybody seek to make us afraid! How dare anybody desecrate our bodies and our sacred spaces!

I am livid and I am afraid and I am sad and sometimes I am even hopeless because this cycle of fear and anger and grief seems to be my plight as a Black bisexual woman living in America in 2016 and I don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t know how to keep my people safe. I don’t know how to keep myself safe.

All I know how to do is keep writing and speaking my truth. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t feel like much, but I have to believe that being fully accountable to my truth through writing and through oral sharing will in some way counter the hatred and ignorance that is killing people like me. Because there has to be something beyond this harrowing cycle.

I want to keep writing until we reach that something.

Angélique

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