Personal safety as a queer person. Heartbreaking loss of human life. Frustration and anger around the politicking and continued lack of gun control. I go to conferences all over the country all the time. I go to a gay club in every city. I was just in Orlando! It triggers all the emotions that surface when abortion clinics, another issue close to my heart, are targeted with violence.
As I imagined the victims, other queer people of color, I reflect on the compounding difficulties of being a minority within a minority.
Today I've found some comfort by celebrating the amazing QPOC culture. What straight people don't understand is how important gay clubs are. Movies and TV portray it as a social gathering place at best and sex craved debauchery at worst - but it's so much more than that. The community that is formed; the self-actualization and validation that is often found nowhere else; the political organizing. When I think of gay clubs I think of empowering warmth (except when it's dominated by all white people, then sometimes I feel angry). And so naturally I could not help but think about Voguing.
This, of course, triggered a whole new group of cascading emotions. I felt proud of the culture that Voguing created. But I also felt sadness that such a vibrant community come under attack. I felt anger at the way that Voguing has been appropriated.
Straight folks just don't get it. Even wikipedia, my trusted source and salvation during medical school, doesn't capture the emotional and communal importance of Voguing in their article. Nor does it discuss how artists like Madonna and documentary artist, Jennie Livingston, have benefited from Voguing as its not clear what trickle down benefits the original communities experienced.
That being said, overall, as I watch some of my favorite Voguing videos on YouTube, I feel inspired and somehow calmed. It reminds me of the strength of our community and that even in the bleakest of times, we will rise again and celebrate ourselves. And mostly I feel gratitude that the generations, specifically in this case black and latino POCs, that have come before me (who have faced so much more than I have personally as a QPOC) have role-modeled such courage and beauty.