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NETANEL “The best way I can describe allyship is someone who stands outside of the community that you identify with who is there to support you. When I was in high school, I was very lucky to have discovered an afterschool arts studio that hired me to assist their portfolio class for four years. I had previously taken this class to help me transfer into an arts magnet high school, and when I took it, I finally found a support system that believed in me, because the school I came from looked down on the arts. However, it was not until I started to work there, that I realized just how much of an impact this space had on LGBTQ+ teenagers who were just beginning to verbally express how they’d always felt about their identities. “As if teenagers don’t have enough to stress over, many of the students I got to work with had to worry about if they would be rejected or accepted by their loved ones while keeping up with their grades and creating a 20-piece portfolio. This is a lot of pressure for a teen, but this studio became their safe space as it allowed them to express their feelings and differences through art, and talk to their friends or our educators about any of their struggles, knowing that they would not leave the studio. “I quickly learned that, to be a better ally, you have to give the floor to the person whose experience it really is, and sometimes that means you simply need to observe and listen, because that in and of itself means the world. It was never solely about making the space comfortable, it was about making sure every teen that walked through the door felt equal in spirit.” Netanel Saso (she/her) is an art student and educator originally from Dallas, Texas. Follow her work and life on Instagram at @netanelsaso.

JOHNNY

IMAGE: ARIN SANG-URAI

“I’m thinking a lot lately about how to be more in touch with my childlike self. We build incredible walls around our most vulnerable, delicious parts – whether because of trauma or heartbreak or fear – and I’m figuring out how to tear down those walls without worrying what other people might think. “I try to build my performances around some aspect of myself I would rather keep hidden. If I’m frightened by a creative impulse, I know I’m moving in the right direction. What I understand now is that, the more I share my vulnerable, flawed spirit with the world around me, and the more I connect with who I was as a child – bursting with shameless wonder, enthusiasm, and queer joy – the more I make space for others to do the same thing. “What did you want, more than anything else, when you were a little kid? In your heart of hearts, I bet it hasn’t really changed all that much.” Johnny Drago (he/they) is a queer writer and performer who loves to laugh and get laughed at. Catch him playing one unsettling character after another with his house team, Velvet Mommy, on the last Thursday of each month at UCB Hell’s Kitchen.

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W42ST Issue 54 - The Pride Issue  

Inside: How to be a true ally, understanding intersectionality; the facts about PrEP, the podcasting exes, The Cher Show, God's Love We Deli...

W42ST Issue 54 - The Pride Issue  

Inside: How to be a true ally, understanding intersectionality; the facts about PrEP, the podcasting exes, The Cher Show, God's Love We Deli...

Profile for w42st