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