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.
The year is 2017 and no, racism hasn’t evaporated, it has been inherited. Right about yesterday would have been a great time to see white liberals denounce the white nationalist, tiki-torch bearing, khaki and polo shirt wearing protest which occurred
"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.