we are so fantastic/it hurts so much

this morning i woke up and again watched bree newsome take down the confederate battle flag from the capitol of the state my family is from, where most of them still live.

i cried watching the video.

i watched her all day yesterday too, slowly hitching herself up that pole, which i know from my ruckus years is hard as shit to do.

she did it beautifully, like a warrior in trance, in meditation, from a center outside of here-now.

and it felt like, in the wake of the charleston murders, i needed that flag down to properly mourn.

i am proud to have met bree last year – she is a sci fi filmmaker social justice warrior and tananarive due had us on a panel honoring octavia butler‘s legacy at spelman.

i’m proud to be alive at the same time as bree. and patrisse, alicia, and opal. and mervyn, deirdre, ashley, celeste, thenjiwe, malkia, adaku, prentis, moe, phil, denise, dream, hiram…there is such a beautiful blackness emerging right now, what intelligent mischief is calling a black renaissance, an explosion of artistic and strategic resistance and world changing. there are too many creators to even begin to name us all. and we are so fantastic and complex and different and learning to love each other and grow together.

as the charleston 9 are folded into the earth, and smoke from black churches floods the sky, i can only sleep at night because i look to my left, right, front and back and see multitudes of black people willing to be afraid together, and honest with each other, and keep advancing on our dignity.

and now we can get married.

it was beautiful to see the divergence of responses to the end of straight-only marriage in my circle – from straight friends putting a rainbow wash on themselves and posting their own wedding pics (are there a lot more trans people in my network than i realize?) to queer/trans folks explaining marriage abolition. i felt an internal spectrum…tears to see my friends for whom this really matters proposing to each other, and also a niggling sense that we’re celebrating something that never should have been an issue.

i call this my alien sensibility. being human, being american, means having to fight for and then celebrate things that should just be a given. my many kinds of love are equal to anyone else’s, so when anyone thinks otherwise and then comes around to reason, my celebration is actually for their liberation, not mine. my love has been good and real and sacred all the time.

i also saw a lot of issue juxtaposition in these last few days…like ‘oh gays can get married but black lives still don’t matter so i can’t celebrate’. this seems to move in the wrong direction, not because there isn’t a hierarchy of isms that are playing out in legal time…but because gays getting married is not equality, it’s not liberation. it’s a step towards those things.

just like if cops were disarmed. it wouldn’t eradicate racism, but it would make it harder to practice racism with such violent state-sanctioned outcomes.

there is very little in my identity profile that is beloved in this country, and for now love is not what i expect. where we are in the arc of change is awakening, and reducing harm in a nation strung out on supremacy and patriarchy.

i say this not to belittle our victories, but to encourage intersectional thinking. lots of queer black people have an increase of basic shoulda-been-had freedom with this ruling, and there’s no need to self-compartmentalize.

you can whoop-whoop and propose to someone if that’s in your heart.

and also sign the petitions about to be circulating to redistribute HRC funding to struggles for queer and trans health and safety.

and also cry a million tears for charleston. and also feel tender when the president sings amazing grace for those lives.

and also wish he would go sing at the border, some song of welcome.

and also feel terror that racists are burning churches down across the south as the unnamed civil war of values within these borders escalates.

and also cheer on bree, and tear down every hateful flag you see, including the american flag anywhere its not at half-mast over this onslaught of lynchings and burnings.

and also curl up with your poly boos or your monogamous other or your super besties, or your beloved pets, and revel in your non-married love and post-normative family.

and rest up, because we are in no way finished, not on any front line, not in any direction. we celebrate not the end of anything, because every moment we are awake it hurts so much to be black and queer in this country.

we celebrate because with these steps and these action, we show each other the future. and we know that we will win.

2 Responses to “we are so fantastic/it hurts so much”


  1. 1 Celeste

    Beautiful words to match your beautiful heart.

  2. 2 Judith Ansara

    A deep bow to you Sister. I miss hearing your wild and powerful voice. Thank you for this and for the beauty and courage and wisdom you offer here. Love, Judith

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