“Sitting in what appeared to be a second grade classroom, one of the conference’s youth organizers walked us through interactive role-playing activities to learn how we could be respectful and empowering allies to youth. Much of this involved checking our assumptions that we had to step into caretaker roles when interacting with youth, and instead practicing active listening to determine what, if anything, we needed to do to be an actual support and ally. It felt pleasantly appropriate for a room full of adult allies to spend a portion of our time at OQYS in a classroom learning all we could from these extraordinarily capable youth teachers.
My clear takeaway from this summit was that this is not where queer and trans* youth come to learn how to become engaged leaders—it is where engaged you
th leaders come to further develop their already expansive skills, build connections with their peers from across the state, and use their energy to create meaningful social change—and have some fun while they’re at it.”
” I look at this list as a whole, and I don’t see a girl or a boy, but a child. I wanted to play outside, I wanted to draw with all the colors of the wind, I wanted games with sharks and dinosaurs and I wanted dolls (creepy, creepy dolls). I’m not saying this to let you know how cool I was—I think my use of the word “pest” takes care of that for me—I’m saying that this should serve as a reminder that kids enjoy all kinds of toys, and those toys don’t have to be SO. VERY. GENDERED. Because it can mess with kids’ heads in very lasting ways.
As a child, I saw that girls were only allowed to like dolls and the color pink. But I liked blue and dinosaurs, so I assumed that I couldn’t be a girl. And to my confused child brain, if I didn’t want to be a girl, I must want to be a boy. A – B = C. ”
“For almost a decade my staple barber shop was Smooth’s in New Haven, right on Whalley Avenue, right next to Popeye’s. I’d roll out of my dorm on a Saturday morning and put on the most heterosexual, straight-acting drag I could think of and, really, whatever was left on the floor: sneakers and my ugliest, least skinny pair of jeans, a plain white t-shirt. And I would even sometimes wear a baseball cap or a hoodie and cover my head, just so my queerness wouldn’t be legible. This wasn’t me, this was the boy I needed to be to get a haircut.”
So thoughtful – This is what intersectionality really means.
When I was younger my grandmother forced me to go to the barber shop and I hated going because it really hurt. But I had to look presentable for the Lord and, well, “Pretty Hurts,” Beyoncé would tell me. Now I barely go two weeks without getting my hair cut, but I hate going for different reasons. After more than 20 years of linings and shape ups, going to the black barber still gives me serious anxiety.
They give me anxiety because black or latino barber shops can be some of the most homophobic spaces for gay men of color.
For almost a decade my staple barber shop was Smooth’s in New Haven, right on Whalley Avenue, right next to Popeye’s. I’d roll out of my dorm on a Saturday morning and put on the most heterosexual, straight-acting drag I could think of and, really, whatever was left on the…