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On being Black & queer in Columbus

ŠBQIC 2017 published June 10, 2017 do steal our shit. just email don’t blackqueercolumbus@gmail.com if you wanna reprint any of this zine for non-assholey purposes. celebrate and credit black queer artists!


healing properties:

truth-enhancing; absorbs negativity & confusion; promotes self control, compassion, & strength; useful tool for self growth and exploring the unknown

“IT GETS BETTER” by Michelle Imari Every narrative before me informed me that I was supposed to sit you down and try to sum it up in some profound, concise statement; that I should be prepared p to explain what gay meant; that if you don’t understand I should wait a bit, and I should get it if you’re not okay with it. “At least not yet,” they said. “It gets better,” they said. “You are not alone.” We’re creatures of habit who don’t do adjust to change well, and it takes time, and time heals all, yet time stole you without remorse. It seemed rapid despite the warning bell. I missed the chime and you answered an the call before I could summon up the perfect words. But you knew. You knew. You knew without asking that something was different about me; made a note reflecting as much in your diary; let me know that my potential lesbian affairs haunted your dreams; showed me that you knew there the was more to me than what I seemed. You knew. But you didn’t want to. So I figured I would wait. Wait until I had something concrete to share; wait until that elusive love thing had my heart ensnared; wait until your health became stable; wait until the truth was so blatant I wouldn’t would be able to shy away from it if I tried; wait until my omission didn’t feel like I’d lied. I didn’t mean to wait until after you’d died.

Dear Mom, I’m gay. Kind of. Sort of. Okay, I’m pan; bi if that’s easier to understand; queer if I’m in the reclaiming mood; abstract and nothing among hostile attitudes; abst fluid and forever in flux, inevitably always dancing on the crux of pride and it’s-nobody’s-business ’cause isn’t that what you told me? And frankly, speaking it seemed pointless since I let you slip away, knowing there was a part of me I never fully declared. the How useless a secret, considering everything else we shared: Our voices, distinct in person but indistinguishable over telephone lines, and how I could find a notepad and pause to figure out if that handwriting was yours or mine because I used to trace your script to memorize every flourish and scrawl. And I used to rely on your hugs anytime I’d fall... And for all the movies we watched together, and the subversive dramas that spat on happily-ever-after, I thought our story would fade on your winning laughter. I somehow convinced myself it would get better. So they said.

"A way out” by Apollo Akembe I've been choking on these butterflies Throwing up caterpillars Stomach full of cocoons that bloomed too soon This love’s for you but I need it more ’Cause you tell me you don’t want it But I can’t stop the spring time I think I'll be wearing this hoodie all summer I’m sweating, hoping you forget my sleeves I don’t cut but I’m saving up for surgery I need to remove my heart; I know you're worried for me But I need to be colder I’m much too soft I need to find a way because I’m much too lost I wish I was the monarch of my heart This is a practice in futility, the usefulness of a caste Hook line baited time wishing for a class Warfare bare chest bleeding Irrational repeating I hope this is my last mistake Ir I don’t want to love a love that don’t love back How do I act in this scene of just backgrounds This is an arm race You're a leaving wind I wished you didn’t blow right through I wish I could ride a wind that knew me New year y solitary confinement

“The Shadow” by Jocelyn Daniels This shadow follows me everywhere. I've never seen it but I can sense it and feel its presence, lurking with a grasp on my ordinary state of consciousness. Whenever I open my eyes from sleep it’s there, fighting to keep them closed, trapping me in paralysis. I tell it every morning, “I have to go to work” or “I need to get up, I can’t lay around all day.” I silently yell and scream to the ar shadow every morning as it holds me in a field of darkness. “I just want to eat,” I say, but the shadow has other plans. Sometimes I can hear it whisper just before it grabs me. “You aren’t working as hard as you can but you don’t really care about anything, so just take it easy. Go slow. You can’t do this job or anything else, we both know it.”

Bam! I’ve lost control. Surrendering to the truth of the shadow. I can’t do anything. I’ll never be good enough for society, those I love, those who love me, or myself. I live in a world of inevitability. The shadow’s grip is suffocating, but I can’t let go. I don’t want to let go. I have to shower because it’s been 8 days. The shadow is resting, loosening my chains. I grab my clothes and my speaker, bolt into the bathroom. I turn the water on, take ta off my clothes and look into the mirror. The echos of the shadow’s laughter grows louder. “No!” I yell. “Haha! This body is disgusting! Are you done fooling yourself into believing someone wants it? Could ever desire it? Look at all that hair growing back furiously! Hahaha! You don’t want to even put in the work to get rid of it...” It continues for at least an hour before I just turn the water off and go back to bed. Hungry, tired, alone. The shadow throws its familiar blanket of suffocating paralysis over me. I pull it up, roll on my side, and watch Netflix, because the best place to escape is in a reality where evil is predictable, winning is inevitable, hope is plentiful, and choices are clear.

“Negative Connotations” by Carter Raquel Will I be bestowed with a blessing at the end of my reign; will there be benediction? Will the shallow river of guilt where my conscience swims ever stop flowing? whe And by means of what sort of death will I still be considered pure; And not a murderer, a sinner, nor a tragedy? But if I buried the remains of a fallen empire I’d be to blame for its collapse. And if I put a gun to my head, painted the walls red, my cause of death would be suicide. Not a fucking heartache.

“adornâ€? by Dkeama Alexis two bitten things that were once round earrings sit in a child's palm: small, mangled planets glinting unevenly with spit and deďŹ ance in the hallway light above, the freckle-sized wounds already beginning to heal above, a mother watching the end of a short-lived rite of passage girl, what did you do? a burning thing that was once a pink dress sits at two pairs of feet: an ignited tongue curling and blackening on the rocks so furiously, one can't help but rediscover truth in the hot, alive things that are found in the mouth here, someone inhales the smoke of speaking their trappings of womanhood to sleep looks over at their friend and smiles

an ever growing and learning thing that was once a daughter sits halfway on the phone: speaking to a loving mother who is unaware that her girlchild has been long gone names of "baby girl" and "strong woman" are complicated grit that grow and later hang uncomfortably like a string of pearls dangling from the teeth-strong and elegant and womanly st and ultimately worn wrong there is refuge in hiding, in keeping things simple, in pulling at the constellation of gems but never letting them reach their breaking point but the mouth is still aame and remembering the metallic taste of transformation now, a thing must stay silent but dream of one day dropping the decadent grimace to say "your baby girl is here no longer, but do you see me? do you see me?"

artist bios Bobby T. Luck (he/him) - “I Don’t Believe You” pg. 10-11 Bobby T Luck is a trans art tart from Philadelphia who wears loud colors and lives a quiet life. He enjoys hosting outdoor double features in parking lots, cancelling plans, and deep stretching.

Jocelyn Daniels (she/her) “The Shadow” pg. 6-7 I'm 23 years y old. A transgender lesbian of color. I mostly cook and when I'm not doing that, I get really emotional, and when I'm emotional I write poetry. Some day I'll own my own business, but for now I’ll settle for owning my own emotions. Ariana Steele (they/them) - zine master & “FIRE OFFICER ROSEN” Ariana is a queer being who’s wh into queer fashion/art, singing radio hits to their cats, and sweet potatoes in any form. They co-founded BQIC with Dkeama a few months ago. Currently, Ariana is researching how nonbinary folks construct their identities thru language as a grad g student in linguistics. instagram: @blvck_glitter__

Dkeama Alexis (they/them) “adorn” pg. 12-13 Dkeama is a community organizer and (occasional) writer who co-founded Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus with Ariana Steele in February 2017. They love anchovies on pizza, they are currently learning drums, and cur they are passionate about advocating for fellow marginalized folks. Above all, they're incredibly happy that you've picked up this zine!

Carter Raquel (they/he) “Negative Connotations” pg. 9 My name is Carter Raquel I'm 18, nonbinary and pansexual, and I'm an artist ! I write music, poetry and I also paint. My goal is to be able to share my art with people and make a living off it ! I also want to be an active acti member in my community.

Planet Abstract Black (they/them) - “Shelter in July” pg. 1 & 8 Planet Abstract Abst Black is a collection of illustrations focusing on themes of empowerment, gender equality, racial diversity, sexuality, anti-fascism, self esteem and mental health. I like to channel any anxiety and frustration about things that are a out of my control into my art. So I bring awareness to these issues through exploring visuals of diverse forms put in surreal or fantasy-like settings. https://planetabstractblack.storen vy.com

Wriply Bennet (she/her) - pg. 5 & 15 Wriply Marie Bennet is a painter and illustrator born and raised in Ohio who uses her art to uplift her people in the black lives/black transgender lives movement. Her work expresses the power, strength, and resilience that trans t women of color have to persevere, and the grace and beauty of her culture, uplifting the young black trans women we’ve lost and continue to lose every year and strengthening the trans women doing the work today. https://www.facebook.com/Artand-short-stories-by-Wriply-MBennet-1445200409048194/

Apollo Akembe (they/them) - “”A way out” & “Mildly high club” pg. 4 & 14 Apollo Akembe A is a non-binary musician, writer, poet, and activist hailing from Milo Grogan, a neighborhood in Columbus. They’ve been writing music since the age of 15, with a sound that slips through hip-hop, folk, punk, and other genres. gen As well as writing and performing, they are responsible for founding the Melanincholy Music Festival, a celebration of artists of color centering queer performers.

Michelle Imari (she/they) - “IT GETS BETTER” pg. 2-3 Michelle Imari is a queer musician, artist and writer whose work focuses on Blackness, sexuality, gender and mental health. After making her debut as a feature at Columbus Queer Open Mic, she’s since performed at Melanincholy Festival. When she doesn’t have a Festi guitar or camera in hand, she’s either directing her cat around the room with a laser pointer or marveling over natural hair tutorials.

credits Ariana Steele - cover, non-artist submission pages, zine design and layout, photos behind poems Wriply Bennet - wroutz on pages

many thanks to... Kaleidoscope Youth Center & Kaleidoscope youth Cornfed Columbus, & The Magical Druid, performers at the release show, and everyone else who has helped us realize this project. we’re enormously grateful for your support and will continue to keep uplifting black queers in our community with the help of our community. thank you!!!

about bqic Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus is a coalition of Black queer and trans people working to build a society in which Black LGBTQIA+ people from all backgrounds can thrive. we seek to dismantle racist, transphobic, and homophobic forces through community organizing, education, and creating c platforms upon which we can have our voices heard. BQIC was formed by Ariana and Dkeama in February 2017. this zine is BQIC’s first endeavour, so thanks for reading!! if you’re interested in joining BQIC, want more info, or just want to keep up with our happenings, send us an email or message us thru social media! if you’d like to donate, follow our paypal link below. facebook.com/blackqueercolumbus @blackqueercolumbus blackqueercolumbus@gmail.com paypal.me/blackqueercolumbus