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Queer Black and Brown Men are more than backup dancers and makeup artists.

By Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins White women generally are not genuinely interested in my experiences as a queer Black man, they see me as something that now connects them to a resource they may not have. I often wonder if white women enjoy having queer Black/Brown male bodies in their presence not just because of the power it presents them, but because of the privilege that lies in being able to uphold white supremacy. Cisgender heterosexual white women see queer Black and Brown men as commodities instead of people with valid experiences and humanity. In various moments where I’ve engaged with white women about my queer identity, the conversation often veers towards them wanting me to help them with something and very little about what they can do to protect me and the LGBTQIA+ BIPOC community. It’s a tale as old as time: heterosexual, cisgender women want us as their best friends and confidants as soon as they learn that we are  queer. Add to the equation said queer male being a fantastic dancer, hair stylist or makeup artist and you are no longer just a friend, but an accessory to their lives. Take for instance the multitudes of celebrities who continue to use LGBTQ+ BIPOC as props. Cher did it. Madonna, Britney, Christina and Lady Gaga still do it and now Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are on the same wave.

"I want our presence, our voices, and our herbal gifts to be a reassurance for protestors that the Ancestors are watching, our Spirit Guides are with us, and we can win our collective liberation."

Queer Magic for the Resistance (QM4R) is a collective and political affinity group based in Oakland, California. Since its inception in early 2017, QM4R has trained and mobilized street medics, energy healers, and artists to show up for local demonstrations against fascism and police violence. Among its many goals is the reclaiming of magic and healing (both physical and spiritual) as central tools in the fight against systemic oppression. I spoke with Vanessa, a white genderqueer person and founder of QM4R, and Iman, a Black queer femme who has worked closely with QM4R since its inception, about how they envision the role of magic and healing in militant resistance movements.

WYV: What inspired you to create Queer Magic for the Resistance? Under what conditions did it come about, and what role did you envision it playing within other types of resistance work?

Vanessa: Queer Magic for the Resistance began as an offshoot of another project I had been engaged in, called the Queer EcoJustice Project, which connects with queer folks in rural areas, including those creating community in queer autonomous land projects, as well as those living on the front lines of environmental harm; queer folks who have been displaced from land-based livelihoods due to homophobia and other intersecting violences, including homeless and incarcerated queer youth; and queer folks who work within environmental, climate, or food justice organizations, and those whose work builds a queer ecological future.

Queer Magic for the Resistance began in early 2017 out of a pressing need we saw for a contingent of queer medics, artists, and healers who could, for example, provide supplies for and treat stab wounds during street demonstrations; hold space for emotional first aid during confrontations with police; and weave and paint and sing and dance a powerful healing resistance.


How can we create a more inclusive discussion about the very common endocrine disorder, PCOS?

By Toni-Marie Gallardo Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects 10% of people with ovaries. It can lead to ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, problems with ovulation, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is caused by the body’s overproduction of androgens, under production of progesterone, and insulin resistance. This is a brief explanation, but I don’t want to regurgitate the same narrative that most of the PCOS online community spouts. Black, indigenous women, trans and gender nonconforming people of color (BIPOC) are often left out of the narrative. I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in 2014. I say officially, because if you’re anything like me and other BIPOC, then you are already familiar with the dangerous but necessary tradition of self diagnosis. It took me three years to overcome the generational trauma that most BIPOC experience when going to the doctor’s office. Low income communities and hourly wage earners often aren’t able to take time off from work, aren’t made aware of all their options, don’t trust physicians, or are simply used to creating their own remedies through traditional means. Today, although I am Mexican American with the privilege of healthcare, the trauma manifests as telling myself  “it’s not that bad,” or “I’m being dramatic,” which is usually reinforced by family members. I brought up the symptoms of PCOS to my mother–she laughed and said I was just Mexican, thick and hairy, and gave me twenty bucks to start waxing.

For BIPOC, the 4th of July is a grim reminder of the ways in which America has lied to us again and again.

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, may be a time of celebration, fireworks, and picnics for white Americans, but for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), this day often evokes more complicated feelings. There is a certain irony to the fact of a global empire – built from the ground up on slave labor and Indigenous genocide – celebrating “freedom” from its former colonial status, without acknowledging the profound unfreedoms it has inflicted on the rest of the world’s people in order to achieve it. Most BIPOC know that the Declaration of Independence, supposedly signed on July 4th, 1776 (though historians agree that this was not the actual day of the signing), is a sham. The famous words of the Declaration, which most of us are taught in school – “all men are created equal” – echoes back in the contemporary conservative slogan “all lives matter.”

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