We welcome Black History Month on our born day, and we set our intentions for this month.After what seemed to be an interminable first month of the year, January is finally over and we welcome February after a full moon filled with purpose, set intentions and energy. Wear Your Voice turns four today(!) and our birthday is not only a celebration for us, but for our dearest readers too. While times are difficult and fraught, we have consistently been in awe of what our fellow creatives, activists and witches have been building and nurturing. There is no better time than the present to actualize projects which intend to help our Black and brown communities. Over here at WYV, we have been creating resources, developing ideas and opening up discussions which prioritize OUR voices — the voices of the marginalized, the voices of queer and trans BIPOC who have been systematically tokenized or ignored in favor of white cishet voices. This is truly a space for us, by us. We welcome Black History Month on our born day, and we set our intentions for this month. As managing editor, I am thrilled to say that this “Letter from the Editor” will be the first of many monthlies to come and it is only natural and fortuitous that the first edition of these letters should be today. This Black History Month we celebrate the Black queer women, femmes, trans and non binary people who are often left out of the discussions of Black History Month in favor of cishet male voices and historical figures. WYV is also celebrating Black women through our marketplace, with our Black activists and creatives shirts featuring some of history’s most groundbreaking women: Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Angela Davis, Octavia Butler, Lucy Parsons, Assata Shakur and many more. The intentions I am setting for Black History Month include making Wear Your Voice an even safer space for our readers as well as our writers. WYV would be nothing without the hundreds of voices we have been lucky to make space for on our site, and part of the integrity of our magazine means making sure our writers’ voices are not only nurtured, but safe. This being said, our editorial team has decided that we will no longer have a comment section on our site. Readers are welcome to engage with us on our social media platforms instead. As an intersectional feminist publication, we are targeted by misogynists, racists, queerphobic people who simply show up to derail conversations and threaten our writers with bile. Nothing good can come from making space for that kind of energy and there is no such thing as a good debate with people who don’t consider us as equals or even deserving of humanity.
When I found myself as the victim within an abusive relationship, one that was marred by queerness, blackness, and a profoundly turbulent love resonating between the two of us, I was stunned into submission.[TW/CW: descriptions of emotional abuse and physical violence.] Last month while sitting in a smoke lounge on the westside of Atlanta, a friend leaned over to speak directly into my left ear, trying to whisper under the music. “Speak in my other ear, I’m partially deaf in that ear,” I said, as I have to often. “Wait, really? I didn’t know that.” She responded. “Why are you deaf in that ear?” Such a simple question leads me to the painfully uncomfortable conversation, by which I spend several minutes thinking to myself how to tell her, or even if I should tell her, that I am deaf because I used to date a super villain. And he beat the shit out of me. The first time it happened, he left my right cheek with a red tint over brown skin; an awkward silence dwelt within our kitchen in that moment. He no longer looked quite like an honest man, especially the man I’d fallen in love with, rather he resembled one of the grotesque villains I’d watch my favorite cartoon characters fight when I was a child, The Joker maybe. “Why did you embarrass me in front of my friends?” he would say, then a push, one strong enough to knock me off my balance and onto my knees. “I didn’t mean to,” I’d reply, not even remembering what I did wrong in the first place. I would say whatever to make the moments when the super villain was in my kitchen stop, or at least slow down. I thought I was seeing past it, always telling myself it was my fault, blaming myself for the speed and the force with which I was hit. The thoughts that raced through my mind this time were fleeting embarrassments and angering confusions that left our kitchen in an awkward silence for a moment: this wasn’t normal, this doesn’t happen to our kind; these types of violences are surely rare for us, and I’m now feeling as if I am a part of an anomaly within a sea of already demonized love. Here I was months deep into a love which was once all power and puff, now saying and doing whatever I could to defuse a situation I thought I was to blame for. When I found myself as the victim within an abusive relationship, one that was marred by queerness, blackness, and a profoundly turbulent love resonating between the two of us, I was stunned into submission. The person whom I was giving so much to, and borrowing so much from, became the very person who made a mess of me; the one who swore he wanted to build a nest up high with me began clipping my wings.
I feel like I am finally experiencing the love that has always been my due, not just as a black woman but as a creature on Earth. By Kim Wong-Shing Knuckles in your roots, fingertips massaging your scalp, wrists pulling your braids