I have been thinking a lot of my role in the resistance as a writer. Hell, I’ve been thinking about my role in the Universe as a human, mostly. When I woke up the morning after the election, I felt this pit in my stomach. I knew that either way I’d wake up with this feeling of dread, but the reality of the situation has proven to be far worse than I could have imagined. The skin on my body, the blood that courses through my veins, the thoughts in my head, my birth certificate, my mother’s birth certificate, being in love and always being a person that stands up for what is right… everything that I am, now, can and will be under attack. This is truly an interesting time to be a biracial, bisexual, binational daughter of an immigrant.There is such a loneliness that comes from even writing that statement.
There is this heaviness that comes with having a responsibility to stand up for all the facets of myself. This tug of war that happens because things would be easier, if I picked one cause and fought like hell. Yet, how could I put aside my sexuality to fight in the Black Lives Matters movement? When it’s founders’ sexuality is often ignored or used to attack the movements validity. It is a proven fact that all of the gay civil rights activists that came before me, were forced to downplay, hide or ignore their own sexuality, to be allowed to be involved. Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Lorraine Hansberry and not including the hundreds of others that were left out of the dialogue, had to in one way or the other hide a part of themselves to help the struggle. It’s like sexuality is excused as long as your contribution to the community outweighs your “sin.”
Days ago, I sat in a theater to watch “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO,” fully aware that James Baldwin’s sexuality would probably be completely ignored. The only mention of it being a 10 second clip, coming from the point of view of the CIA. Only talking about his moments with women. Only suggestions of him with a man. I can honestly say that maybe, that is James’s own doing with his writing. Yet, I know that if that was the case it was to protect himself. That is the constant struggle of being a Queer Person of Color, in everything we do. “If I come off too gay, I’ll piss off black folks. If I come off too black, I’ll scare away gay folks.” Yet, I sat in that theater, torn because there he was, on the big screen, speaking his truth and still having to hide it. I wanted to be proud that he was speaking for blackness and putting white privilege on blast. Yet, I still can’t get past this notion of heteronormativity and the fact that he… we, must pretend to be straight to be taken seriously. This engrained notion of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that is deeply rooted in the American civil rights movement, was yet again happening.
It was also within that moment that my disconnect from American blackness came to ahead. I have no passed down stories of slavery because that side of my family has cast me aside. When my father left, their stories and that connection to my history also left. No matter how involved in the black community my mother was, I still was raised by a white German woman. No matter how much time I’ve spent in black salons or at black churches, the confines of my childhood was shaped by her struggle of being an immigrant. My life has been shaped mostly by that struggle. My blackness or lack there of, has always been thrown in my face. I am proud of where I come from. I am proud that the within my blood runs stories of resistance to the Nazi party and while I may not know the actual accounts of slavery, it is still within me. How can I deny being biracial, when that too is my story. No matter my racial makeup, I know I am seen as black, yet will never deny my makeup because it is who I am. How does one simultaneously connect with the notion of blackness, when you also know it a social construct used to divide a nation for financial gain?
Everyday, I face these questions and a million more. Everyday, I keep thinking a Facebook post or this blog or a spoken word piece, will give me the space to speak my truth and answer my own questions. Yet, here I sit, contemplating my role as a writer, my role in the resistant and even more so, my role in this Universe. One thing I have realized that is my connection to all facets of myself that makes it my duty to speak my truth. It is all of these components that unite me to every struggle. I no longer want to confine my thoughts to a post. I feel that my truth cannot be contained to a poem. I have realized that I must allow myself the freedom to speak my whole truth. I feel the stirrings of a book inside me. Maybe this is the beginning. Maybe this is my affirmation. I can no longer let fear of being an outcast stop me from speaking up. I can no longer worry that I’ll alienate one facet or anger another. I know that my story must be told and no matter if a single soul reads it… it must be written.