Queer Artists of Color: Why Their Works Matter

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Dressed in an outfit I’d rather forget, and standing amidst the sea of scantily clad revelers on the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue in New York City, I remember hordes of people whistling, screaming, clapping, and marching as they watched colorful floats drive by.

Dressed in an outfit I’d rather forget, and standing amidst the sea of scantily clad revelers on the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue in New York City, I remember hordes of people whistling, screaming, clapping, and marching as they watched colorful floats drive by. I also remember feeling like I was a part of a community where weirdness and differences were not shunned but embraced, where “boy meets girl” was not the only beginning of a love story, and where I no longer had to try to fit in because I already did.

It was my first Gay Pride parade and I was 19.

The recent ruling from the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage is a reminder that since then we’ve come a long way, with activists continuing to advocate for the rights of queer* identified individuals and with scholars working to broaden the discourse on queer identity and sexual politics. Additionally, the works of queer artists are offering supplementary viewpoints, expanding the visibility of the community and providing historical, cultural, and social perspectives to this still-marginalized community. With all this visibility, there remains a cultural imperative to create representations for queer people of color (QPOC), even as the works of Tracy Chapman, Alice Walker, Bill T. Jones, RuPaul, Sapphire, Big Freedia, Staceyann Chin, Mia Mingus, and Laverne Cox, among others, are creating a noticeable oasis in a desert of representation. Read More.

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