KYC's QTPOC Community Care Manager discusses belonging, intersectionality and community.
Growing up, I always knew I was different from the people around me.
My skin was darker, my hair was curlier, and my family traditions didn’t always match my peers.
By the time I was 18, I knew how to move through the world in a way that can be described as “palatable.” I had completely divorced myself of my culture, worried more about how I would be perceived by white people than how I was honoring myself.
As I transitioned out of college life and into young adulthood, I began to notice a lack of diversity among the company I kept. For even though I had woven a beautiful community of people into my life, I had failed to integrate a key demographic: Black folks. This made my early twenties quite tumultuous. While I flourished in the arena of queerness, I was almost completely isolated in my Blackness. I had no Black friends, specifically no Black queer friends, and was starting to see how this unique intersection of identities was not shared with anyone in my circle.
The discovery of this term intersectionality lit a fire of change within me. Rather than embracing all facets of myself, I had been dividing myself into my varied identities, limiting the opportunity for me to show up fully in any given space. I was so set on engaging the parts of myself that matched the mainstream, I was missing out on the chance to nourish the parts that make me uniquely myself.
After 27 years, I finally found the courage to stop holding back.
Today, I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum from adolescent Lisanne. I have taken a role where uplifting people of color is my main goal; I have started connecting with BIPOC folks through public events; I have become more vocal about my experiences as a Black woman. I am no longer worried about being the most palatable in the room, but the most proud. What instigated this change you may ask?
The answer is simple: community.
My name is Lisanne, and I am a 27 year old queer Black woman in Columbus, OH.
In my time with KYC, I hope to create a sense of community among our QTPOC youth.
I want to inspire the next generation of Black queer folks to live out and proud, not shy away from their intersecting identity. I want to demonstrate that we are creators of Black queer history, in moments big and small. Most importantly, I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate the joy that comes with being a Black queer person. I want to celebrate the expansive beauty that is being a Black queer person. I want to celebrate a community that’s spent too long in the shadows.
After all, belonging begins here.
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