2023 Equity Challenge Day 19: Here and Queer

If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.

Zanele Muholi

South African activist and artist who highlights the beauty and individuality of Black LGBTQ women

Today’s Equity Challenge is written by Kelz of Kelz Liberatory Creations & Consulting. You can read more about Kelz’s work and experiences at the end of today’s email. 

I’m here and I’m queer! Wait! What did I just say? Yes, queer… 

“‘Queer’ is… explicitly used as a reclaimed word in honor of queer elders and contemporaries who have fought and died for LGBTQIA+ rights. ‘Queer’ is used to… highlight the fierceness and liberatory spirit of these communities… [It is itself] an experience of the liminal- that space in between, that has room for all, for expansiveness and the creation of new definitions and ways of being… ‘Queer’ attempts to capture the vast multitudes of sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and ways of living and loving that fall outside of the cisgender and heterosexual identities.” Definition of “Queer” by Syre Saniyah, PhD, LP- a Southeast Michigan, Black, transmasculine, gender expansive, polyamorous and kinky healing practitioner- Liberation Centered Healing

The Flying Gender Unicorn is not perfect, but in my opinion, it’s one of the better visual representations of the spectrums of and differences between sexuality, gender (or sex) assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, etc. If you’d like to understand some of the terms used, check out this glossary of LGBTQ terms

I think a lot of people get overwhelmed by how much there is to learn within the “Queer Alphabet Soup” (joke for LGBTQIA+… I can say it, I’m queer, teehee!) and instead of learning a little, they shut down. Let me encourage you with a few tips to get you started: 

  • A little bit goes a long way. Show that you care by trying to learn. You don’t need to know it all.   
  • For “Google-able” questions, Google it!  Do your own work. Do not expect historically marginalized or underrepresented folx to do free emotional labor.  
  • For more nuanced or personal things, ask the people you know and be honest with them that you are learning, care about them and want to be given real feedback so you can grow. 
  • Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, worth and respect. Honestly, why does it matter to you who I sleep with or what’s between my legs? Should that change the way you treat me?   
  • It IS important to use the pronouns (he, she, they, xi, etc) and name that the person tells you. Those are not their “preferred” name or pronouns, those ARE their name and pronouns. Using them says that you see them and respect them. If you are unsure, ask. Here is a great resource for pronouns.

7.1% of the US adult population self-reports to be queer. I’d venture to say that that number is quite a bit higher than reported due to many staying closeted for the fear of what the truth might cost them —  friends, family, jobs, their lives. Not everyone has the privilege to say, “I’m here and I’m queer!” like I do. For this, I am grateful and will never stop fighting to live in a world where we can all love, be loved and be ourselves without fear!







  • Join us Friday for our Community and Closing Celebration at Belle Isle State Park in Detroit! We’ll complete a short walk in unity to symbolize our learning journeys, after which we’ll enjoy activities, snacks and music. Please click here to register. Space is limited.


Reflect And Share

  1. Have you ever felt like there was “too much” to learn about something, so you chose not to learn anything about it at all? How do you think that has served you in the past? Is that your story as far as the queer community is concerned?
  2. What things would you like to learn about concerning the queer community? Take time to categorize them by things you can easily look up yourself vs. things you might want to talk to a member of the community about.
  3. What might you need to dismantle within yourself so that you can treat everyone with dignity, worth and respect?

A little about the writer of today’s Equity Challenge

My name is Kelz. My pronouns are they/them and she/her (I prefer they/them and accept she/her). I am nonbinary, which can mean different things to different people, but it always means something besides the binary male/man or female/woman. Nonbinary is my gender, so I also consider myself gender-queer. I am also queer in my sexuality: I am pansexual- I am attracted (sexually and romantically) to folx regardless of their gender and have been with people of various gender identities. I work at an LGBTQ+ focused clinic in Detroit and also am the founder of and creator within Kelz Liberatory Creations & Consulting, (link: www.kelzcreates.com) where we create a safe space in which folx are powerful and free to experience expansiveness through art, training, consulting and coaching.



Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC23