Blaque/OUT Magazine; FEB 2021: Issue #005

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Cry Freedom

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Self-Liberation can be a life changing occurrence that will change your perspective on many variations in your life. Not too long ago I was afforded the opportunity to either take the chance to travel and experience things I held myself back from doing for a long time. I could have either allowed a continuation of hindering excuses to stop me from seeing new things as I’ve previously done, or I could allow myself the chance to experience a fraction of a part of life I

know I

deserve. I chose the latter; and it was the best thing I could have done for myself at this time in my life. It was also a blessing to have the friends and family around me that brought the most peace to share these moments with. The

love, support, and encouragement I

received made me comfortable with my decision and comfortable with being away from my “safe haven” or home for so long. In everything we do, every decision we make, there are always lessons.

So What Did I Learn? I learned that my

freedom as an individual

my community, but it also limited me in broadening my view of my environment, or even

should never be compromised, or taken for granted; even

the world. No matter how many books I read,

if the one obstructing me from that freedom

documentaries I watch, or stories I am told I will


myself. I kept myself in what I thought was a safe “bubble” for many years of my life. Every step had to make sense before I took it. I never really took

chances on experiencing things that took me outside

never get a full

life experience until I

venture to any point of interest myself. A lived experience can’t occur if a physical initiative isn’t taken in your life.

I made a promise to myself before the end

of my comfort zone. In so many ways that limited not only

of 2020 that I will no longer stand in my way of

my life’s experiences and chances to make bonds within

life, love, prosperity, and the pursuit of

happiness. As well as allowing my

If you have any suggestions on anything

gifts and blessings to make room for me

fun you think i’d be interested in trying this

and lead me to my


Oftentimes when we feel stuck in a situation, or unable to move as we would want to, we tend to blame the situation or environment we’re in; when in fact, it’s us that are holding

ourselves back.

So this trip I took was more than a much needed vacation, it was my emancipation from the shackles I had placed on myself for so long. People ask me, Why’d

you wait so long? My only logical response is that I waited in the time I needed to better appreciate and to live the life I’ve been given to the fullest. If I had to take anything away from the first 10 days of 2021 it would be that I want to experience things I’ve never done before, as well as the things I never thought I'd do. It’s gonna be interesting to see how this goes.

year, send your suggestions to me at:

If I like the activity, I’ll shout you out along with a review on the activity when I’ve completed it.

So until next time, this is your girl, Javannah saying, “Be good to you!”

Ask Making History with Marsha P. Johnson Introduction How many of us can say we inspired a movement so much that there was an institute established in our name to defend the human rights of brown and black transgender people? The Marsha P Johnson Institute (MPJI) was created as a result of the fearless, pioneering efforts of Marsha, who was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. When I first heard Marsha’s story, it sent chills down my spine to see such a fearless level of ACTION during such an unpredictable time. Johnson fought tirelessly for gay liberation and was an activist of the truest kind. Not long after the 1992 pride parade, Marsha’s body was found in the Hudson River and the all-too familiar fight for justice began for a serious investigation into Marsha’s untimely death. To this day, the fight for justice in Marsha’s tragic passing spurs on but trust me when I say, there is so much to be learned from the story of Marsha’s life as well.

Pay It No Mind

Marsha’s tenacity & deliberate decision to draw a very clear line and never waiver. I can only imagine how many times people tested the theory and continued to prod even after being given a modest and respectful answer much like they do today. So what happens next? We take it up a notch! My boundary line does not change because others want it to. One thing we know is that oppression is unnatural. It literally goes against every grain in our bodies for us to be treated less than human for any reason at all.

Johnson decided on the drag name “Marsha P. Johnson” and proudly reminded everyone that the “P” stood for “pay it no mind” and would share this fact anytime questioned about gender. Never be afraid to set

So DO NOT stand for this behavior. Don’t allow someone to make you uncomfortable or pester you for anything. And don’t ever be afraid to speak OUT. Life is literally what

boundaries, especially where society tells you you

you make it and it is possible to limit trauma by accepting

shouldn’t. We decide what questions we want to answer, what discussions we are comfortable having and just who

less of what doesn’t serve you. We know when someone wants to share a heartfelt discussion just like we can tell

we share our stories with. I’m encouraged by

when someone is trying to antagonize. My life, my

Marshay rules, my way...thank you Marsha!

Crown Your Damn Self

Onward March

Marsha was known for wearing crowns made of fresh

Marsha was so bold in the face of adversity, I can only

flowers. As I research pictures from random moments

hope to see this level of action among the masses

in Marsha’s life, I keep seeing this pattern and I think

because it instantly brings change. However you can

of how Marsha’s teaching us a critical lesson here.

make history, find your avenue and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Why wait for someone else to “crown” you and

Inaction births more of the same and we can learn this

acknowledge your accomplishments/worthiness? I

lesson from Marsha’s story in it’s entirety. If Stonewall

know how hard it can be to feel “worthy” but imagine

hadn’t happened, would some of us even be here? If

how beautiful life would be if we all decided our

Marsha never marched in the first ever gay pride rally on

worth for ourselves?

June 29, 1970, is it safe to say certain liberties wouldn’t

Many don’t know Marsha struggled with mental health issues, as a lot of us do. Being black or brown in this life presents a person with a unique set of challenges that not many others face or even understand looking in from the outside. So get the professional help you need but also remember not to be too hard on yourself. I have yet to look at a picture of Marsha P Johnson and see a mentally ill individual looking back. Marsha didn’t wear these stigmas and neither should we. Think of it as your obstacle course being impossibly set and created for you to fail but you don’ get through it anyway. You will encounter effects that will go beyond your ability to reconcile with them all on your own but grace and patience is key here. Look yourself in the mirror, affirm that you’re doing the very best you can, then take a DEEP breath

be available to us today? Yes! It is safe to also say that your actions today matter for those coming after you. This is why we fight. This is why we remember those murdered in cold blood for no reason at all, this is why we protest and demand justice for those who have gone ignored for so long. I believe there is a great shift happening in the human conscience as a whole. I believe in good karma and in penance. One day, I pray I get to see all the senseless violence against our communities come to a permanent end but, sadly, prayer is not enough. Deep breathing alone is also not enough. We have to keep pushing forward no matter what lies ahead. We must always know inside of us that there’s truly nothing to be afraid of, especially if you’re convinced you’d rather live on your feet than die on your knees. We honor Marsha as well as all the other lives lost in this great battle for justice and equality on every level.

in...slowly breathing it out and finally, lacing your crown of flowers about your royal head. In this

And we will never stop!

moment, we honor Marsha for reminding us to stop and smell the roses with which we crown our selves

In Conclusion

as we walk through fire!

My favorite part of Marsha’s story is being able to see

experiences and say the very same. I don’t know what you’re facing, I don’t know the answers to every question and I don’t pretend to. What I do know is you were made to be brilliant. We were all made to shine like stars guiding each other through the darkest of nights. It should be clear now more than ever how bad we truly need one another. I hope this year has reminded you no one can disarm you of your peace. I hope every chance you get, you remember to smile unencumbered as a way of honoring Marsha for the sacrifices made for all of us to be here carrying the torch. Take care of yourself but also remember to take care of the Citations: “The Marsha P Johnson Institute” https:// “Marsha P Johnson” https://

ones you love and recognize are special to you. We’re much stronger when we stand together as a force instead of being divided appearing as seemingly “easier” targets. Rest in precious peace, Marsha...your life was not lived in vain!

pictures from that time. It completely stuns me to hear stories about how difficult times were during Marsha’s

Sincerely & Eternally Yours,

time on this earth and yet, in almost every picture all you see is a bright, unencumbered smile! Believe it or not, we’re living in a very revolutionary time right now and I’m sure our children coming after us will reflect on our




Need Advice? Email your questions about love, life & entanglements to: & you might see it answered in an upcoming issue of Blaque/Out Mag!!



Hello Readers!

I hate to sound predictable and trite, but can you believe that it is 2021? It seems like I have adjusted

to wri@ng 2021 and leBng go of the last year more quickly than in other years. I think we were all preFy @red of 2020, who somehow blinked by and dragged us behind it at the same @me. Good riddance, amIrite? But, we must take the good with the bad. I think that 2020 gave us (the whole world) some real opportuni@es to stop and think about what’s important to us. The social-distancing we had to do in response to the coronavirus alone certainly shiNed every system I work with: healthcare, educa@on, employment, courts. If we add in the events associated with police brutality,

Black Lives MaFer protests, and the debacle that was 45’s campaign, 2020 was a mass of

trauma@c events, reflec@on, and growth. And you know what the biggest protector against trauma and the best context for reflec@on and growth is? Oh, yeah. Rela@onships. And February’s theme is Black

Love. Ha! I went a long way for that connec@on, didn’t I? Haha!

And on that note, check out your book recommenda@ons for February.

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood (Children’s Book, Realis<c Fic<on) A recommenda@on for a children’s book about a liFle girl and her family might seem, to some, a bit out of place for a magazine that also includes drag queens and kissing adults and side boob. But, actually, the love and rela@onships we have in our lives as children can allow us to express our full range of iden@@es as we grow up. Love Like Sky is about a girl, G-Baby, and her liFle sister, Peaches. Their parents are divorced and re-coupled. The story is told from G-baby’s point of view as she figures out her place in both of her families. When Peaches gets sick, her parents are back to figh@ng and G-baby takes in on herself to make everything right again. The @tle makes reference to an analogy in the book. G-baby tells Peaches to think about a road trip. Love isn’t like the fuel in the gas tank, limited and needing refills. Love is like when you look up and out the window. You see the sky goes on and on forever. That’s how love is. Love is like sky. Leslie C. Youngblood is a Rochester local.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (Romance, Realis<c Fic<on) Could I do a February book recommenda@on on the theme of love and NOT recommend a romance? No, I could not. This book is a novella that I read via audiobook. It’s about a woman, Likotsi, who had her heart broken by her girlfriend, Fabiola, several months before. She is s@ll nursing her ego and heart when they run into each other on the subway. Fabiola asks for just a brief @me together to chat. It’s a romance, so you already know that the small @me together gets the women thinking about their past and their future. Alyssa Cole is a phenom when it comes to roman@c story telling. This novella is part of her larger “Reluctant Royals” series. Likotsi is a side character (i.e., a royal bodyguard) from another of the books. Cole recently wrote her first thriller, which I purchased ASAP and am looking forward to. You can guess that my To Be Read list is a liFle out of hand.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Science Fic<on/ Fantasy) I didn’t reach my word count! I’m just gonna drop a men@on of one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s about 6 people who are tapped as avatars for the city - to represent and protect NYC boroughs when the city evolves into a living breathing being. Yeah, it’s weird. But this book is about the love we have for our neighborhoods and our ci@es. It’s about how we are all connected to something bigger than ourselves. It’s about the love, y’all.

As always, you can reach me at ReviewsMayVary with your thoughts and recommenda@ons. I’m at the same handle on Facebook, TwiFer, Instagram and YouTube.

Classic queer love story. We swiped right on each other on Tinder. Honestly, I was completely ready to fall in true love and i believe Rosie was wanting to casually date. Well, surprise baby. We messaged each other for a few weeks before we met in person. She told me she lived with 4 cats and I was like “hmm” and I told her I loved spiders and she was like “hmm.” Then finally, I asked her on a date. A breakfast date on a Sunday morning. I was coming out of the restaurant when I saw her for the first time, she was a tiny person with a shaved side cut and the cutest and warmest smile. I am a complete and total dummy for a great smile. As we dated those first few months, I brought her into my world and she brought me into hers. I quickly fell for Rosie’s cuteness, her kindness, her fun energy, her laughs, her astrological sign (not to make this astrologically gay, I love me an earth sign), her butt and her ability to always help me get back to center. A year ago, we moved in together, and we continue to create a colorful, loving and open space to be ourselves. Life is chaotic and things change all the time, I think I have a plan, then boom, pandemic. Lol but what I know to be true always is my vision of us, two elderly humans cooking each other dinner, sitting comfortably on the couch and asking, “can I have a kiss?”

Geva is so much more than a show or a season. It’s all of us, together. The future of live theatre, made with and for our vibrant Rochester community, is beautiful and bright. We can’t thank you enough for being part of our Geva family. To support Geva, visit

The definition of “selfish� is lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or

pleasure. This word has been used in a negative tone so frequently that now people want to stray away from owning the value of being


Being able to give ourselves the love that we are trying to give to others seems like a

taboo. In many cases we are

forced to choose between ourselves and the ones that we

love. Between ourselves and the people we are responsible for. Between our own happiness and the everyday needs that we are forced to deal with. Our everyday lives are filled with the needs and wants of others; children, parents, jobs, etc. For a second think about the

last time; the last time you bought something nice for

have to take a lot of time. But we encourage you to remember that you deserve the love that you are willing to give others. Do you know why self

care is

important? Self care is important because it allows us the opportunity to rebalance ourselves. Self care gives us time to unwind from our daily struggles and refocus on ourselves. It is easy to spread ourselves thin by trying to go the extra mile for those that we


Self care gives you a moment to go the extra mile for yourself. Being able to take care of your personal health,

mindset and well being can go to the way side with so many worldly responsibilities. We check on others often but we are responsible for checking on ourselves.

yourself, sat down and read a book and actually finished it,

For this month we are asking you to take a vow, a

the last time you got a compliment, received a gift just

to us and yourself. Make a vow that you will commit at

because or how about a simple hug or foot rub. What were

least 2 hours of the entire month to yourself. Two hours?

these experiences like? How did they make you feel? Did

Yes, just two hours. No matter if it is 10 minutes here, 45

you feel like you deserved it, or did you feel selfish?

minutes there, big praise to you if you can get a full

Hopefully these experiences were worth the recollection

hour at one time, no matter what, get those 2 hours in.

and brought you a bright

Make note of what you did in those two hours of self

smile. It is the intent that you

felt as though you deserved such great and wonderful

care, how you felt after your self

things, because you do! Even more so, feel selfish about

things that you can do during your next session.


care sessions,

that moment and every other moment of being selfish. Why? Simply because this is a time where you are focused

Notice that you are the center

solely on your own personal pleasures. Call these

are the only thing that matters during self care time. Be

moments self care time. Self care is when you take a

unapologetically selfish in your two hours. We’d love to

moment to evaluate your own needs and start the process

see pictures or read letters of what your self care time

of taking care of yourself. This can be in the form of

looks like!

meditation, quality time with yourself or friends, vacationing, creating a spa day or just simply enjoying yourself. Self care does not have to cost a lot of money and it does not

of attention, you

She still promotes Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and other transgender women of color who have fought and continue to fight for justice. As a survivor of Dannemora Prison and Bellevue Hospital, Miss Major's activism is remarkable for its focus on individual care: helping and looking after individual trans women who have survived incarceration and police brutality, uplifting and enabling them to help others.

Miss Major is a Black, transgender activist born in Chicago's South Side in 1940, who has fought for over fifty years to create a better world for the trans and gender nonconforming community. Miss Major was there fighting at the famous Stonewall Riots in 1969. To quote her, the white gay men who were observing the violence from the apartments across the street that night were shouting "The girls are kicking the cops' ass!" Miss Major remains particularly vocal about the whitewashing and exclusion of Transwomen in the popular history of the Stonewall Riots. Even in receiving an award from Stonewall 2019 Icon Award, she said little to the mostly white gay men in attendance except: "It would be nice if you get could help me get younger people to understand that T started this".

Currently she mentors Transwomen from Little Rock, Arkansas, where she runs House of GG, a retreat center for Black trans and gender nonconforming leaders from the South. Her upcoming creative projects include executive producing the film Trans in Trumpland (available February 2021) and a book on her life’s activism written collaboratively with her longtime assistant Toshio Meronek (out late 2021 on Verso Books). In 2015, she was the subject of the documentary film, MAJOR!, which focused on her life and leadership. Her mantra is I am still fucking here!

As we walk into the month of February; let us approach this one differently than any other year before. Over the years it seems as if we have been taught this month is about showing love to others. I don’t recall many reminders of self love, self acceptance, self worth and most importantly self appreciation. The power of self affirming love. The ability to appreciate true affection poured into ones true authentic self. We are beautifully made from the inside out with just the correct amount of flaw to make us individuals of self. This month, join me as we spread 28 Days of Self Love Affirmations. We are setting the tone , “True Resilience Against Negative Stereotypes”; no longer bond by whatever origin we may have been taught about this “Holiday/Month of Love”.

Day 1. My beauty speaks volumes over my past! Day 2. I trust my ability to authentically, love myself 1st. Day 3. My soul is worthy of my love. Day 4. I approve of my growth and freedom. Day 5. I am worthy of the love I give 1st! Day 6. I am a gift; I am confident in myself. Day 7. I choose me today and everyday. Day 8. I am the reflection of self dedication! Day 9. Positive energy flows through me Day 10. I am growing & healing daily. Day 11. I am in love with myself Day 12. I define FREEDOM (I am free) Day13. I am the expert on my love Day14. I nurture my love with growth and success Day 15. I am aligned with my mind, body and soul. Day 16. Growth keeps my soul smiling. Day 17. I love myself unconditionally Day 18. I give myself grace; I deserve it Day 19. I am love & light Day 20. I am not defined by society’s stereotypes. Day 21. Self acceptance sets me free! Day 22. I choose self love. Day 23. I choose me, myself & I openly. Day 24. My love is a gift; I love sharing my gift Day 25. My growth is limitless. Day 26. I am more than enough! Day 27. I am loved. Day 28. I will teach self love to others; My self love will set others free

Stand strong in who you are; who you’ve become based on lived experiences. Remember I Love You!! I Appreciate You!

- Brittan Hardgers (B.Nick)

Love your body. Get tested.


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