BLACK ICONS IN QUEER HISTORY

Black people have always been a part of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The struggle for queer liberation has included black people throughout its history, and unfortunately at times their voices have been quieted in favour of white activists (anyone seen the movie about Stonewall?). Luckily, it’s not too late to give thanks to these people that have helped to pave the way for acceptance of queer people, and as such, here are six queer black icons that we should be appreciating more…

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My body doesn’t look the way I want it to

My body doesn’t look the way I want it to

It never has
It never will

But when “what I want” has been carefully moulded, marketed and shoved down my throat by a system whose only goal is my submission, I have to ask

Me.
What do I truly want?
I want a body that is healthy
A body resilient enough to run long distances in the pouring rain
A body strong enough to pick up my ever-growing little siblings
Those little shits
A body humble enough to remember the pains of those before me
A body brave enough to stand in the way of injustice

What I crave is a body that fights for what is right
A body that serves my communities
A body that empowers those who look up to me

I want a body so passionate it makes love to the man I adore
A body so powerful it creates life itself
A body so warm that gardens flourish inside
So tender its fruit ripens in their own time

This is what I want
I will not succumb to the deluge of falsities about where my body should be
What my body should look like
How my body should move
When my body should be hidden
How my body should be fucked

My body is mine 
And this is what I want
I have come to believe that my body already a miracle
And to that, I surrender.

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What’s Going On With Brexit?

A lot of stuff went down these last couple of weeks, and every other week, in Westminster, and particularly a lot of stuff regarding our exit from the EU. You want specifics? I got them right here…

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Abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland

Amongst all the carry-on in Westminster, you may have missed that in Northern Ireland this week abortion was decriminalised and same-sex marriage legalised. Admittedly, it was only because a dispute between the DUP and Sinn Fein caused the Stormont Assembly (the devolved legislature with the coolest name) to step out for a whole two years, but we’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth…

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Cans

Cans

Cans can hold all kind of things
Peaches, aubergines, peas and pearls
They are simply
Dissected, pickled, packed
Ready for consumption
In stackable, conveniently trackable
Cans.
That sit in shelves of shops
In shelve-like streets
On shelves of land.

When the event rolls around, across a
Kitchen counter
And reveals itself
In a crackling ripple of aluminium
It exposes a cavernous body of peach-
shaped organs
Lathered in sugary syrup
Like the limbs of glamorous women
On influential beaches

Cans can even can feelings
And I was surprised how easily they went.
One ‘don’t’ from a trusted friend and I
conceded
My feelings for you must be canned.
I’ll admit they went like treacle
Thick, sticky, icky, a little unhealthy
But no matter how viscous
They went –
Until they were neatly contained
And stored in a cool dry cupboard

I packed up my cupboard with aubergines, peaches, peas and pearls
Until I could not see or think
Of treacle. I hadn’t realised it was sitting
Dormant

Until you went looking for sweetness or
Mischief
And with a gap-toothed smile
You opened the can –
It overturned and all too suddenly they
came rushing out you see years had
turned treacle to milk a more
Volatile liquid.
And when I looked up again we were not
children
Your gap-toothed smile meant something
More sinister
Something I wasn’t prepared for,
You still wanted mischief and I didn’t
Know what I wanted.

Before my cupboard was packed
With other things to eat.
But now I was left wanting
The cans are empty,
The milk is spilled,
And still I am left wanting
So you see,
I must consume you.

Isabelle Hodgson

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Sense it

Sense it

He smelt like a posh cinema.
Like gourmet sweets,
Expensive upholstery and ethical caramel

He sounded like an old dial telephone
Whirring through words
Bringing sentences to a ringing end.

He looked like a Kandinsky;
High-brow and rare, and
An uncomfortable mix of curves and harshness

He felt like a childhood cartoon
Whimsically drawn,
Beautifully familiar with a violent subtext –

He didn’t taste like gourmet sweets or ethical caramel.
He tasted like bitter pork.
But he tasted better after I’d cooked him.

Isabelle Hodgson 

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Beige

Beige

She operated in shades of beige.
Emaciated or emancipated?
Tell her.
Too nothing to eat, sleep or read.
But there is always time for tea –
Even the nothingness of phones, telly, apps and instance is not quite nothing enough.

Downstairs? Wash face? Clean? Choose?
No thank you, too much.
Tell her.

Please.

I know she wants you to.
Give her no choice and an easy one.
Fear or hedonism?
Tell her.
She craves control but no choice please.
Sick of competition, ambition and colour.
Sick.

How can you think under the fluorescence?
Violent, aggressive and invasive fluorescence.
Privacy is a remnant of the past,
To be observed and pondered in the
– great  –   British museum.
Or maybe in bed when
The deepest desire is to be alone to cast
Off responsibility and just exist without
Consequence only for a moment
Overstimulated and in danger
6:35 beeps and chirps the morning into
Existence

Maybe another list?

Isabelle Hodgson

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HoneyPot – Showbox Theatre

Intelligent and topical, ‘Honeypot’ drags old-fashioned fairytales, kicking and screaming, out of their dusty history and pushes them into the present day. With a flick of a wand and bibbity-bobbity-boo, the pumpkin has become a razor-sharp contemporary lens through which we can analyse how women fit, or do not fit, into modern society…

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Women in the work place: is it flirting?

We all know how difficult it is to find good work experience. In fact the words ‘work experience’ or ‘internship’ are synonymous to me with ‘edit-print-scan’. An internship is usually…

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Black is the Color of My Voice Apphia Campbell

‘Black is the Color of My Voice’ takes us on a compassionate, celebratory journey through the life of Mena, a black woman who uses music as a constant source of inspiration and strength. Paralleling the life of Nina Simone, Mena experiences pain, love, and rises to fame under the spotlight with her songs to become the voice of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Summer self care tips

A few weeks ago, we posted a story on Instagram asking you for your summer self care tips. It may seem contradictory but summer can be such a stressful time….

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Two websites, Three girls

We teamed up with Eliza Lawrence of wasitgoodforyou.co.uk, a website pioneering honest and open conversations about sex. We asked Eliza questions about herself and her incredible project, and in turn, she asked us about ours!

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The power of a woman with a shaved head

The #OmgShesBald experience had an energy that is incomparable to any event I have been to. The room was chic and minimal with the exception of a colourful area with a barber’s chair in its centre. Every womxn in the room was radiant, friendly and unapologetically themself…

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Dear Past Me, do what you want with your body hair

You and your friends (all self-identifying women) were off to meet some boys in your year at school in the park. However, you all suddenly stopped and realised that it was hot, you were in shorts and your leg hair was visible. So you all decided you shouldn’t go.

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Anxiety and Activism

I have sat here for what feels like hours attempting to know how to start this piece, and this in itself sums up what I like to call ‘activism anxiety’….

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An interview with Rosie Taylor

Rosie, a second year student and the current LGBT+ Officer at Edinburgh University talks about the process of writing an open letter against the horrifying misconduct of a university gym manager…

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How do you sleep?

How do you sleep?

Is there room for me there?
Between you and the new girl,
Lying with you,
Does she weep?

You know, even after,
I never told a lie,
I never asked you why.
“He’s honestly a good guy”.
I should have been the one to cry.

To cry rape.
To cry assault.
To cry out.
To cry tears,
to rinse away your unwelcome touch.

I don’t need much more room.
Maybe more today than I did that day, sure.
But who doesn’t grow?
Upwards. Outwards.
I stretch my body.
Pulling it apart like putty.

Moulding it with warm hands,
against its natural will.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?
I pushed it in on the days it felt too big.
Too broad.
Too unending.

I’ll ask you again.
How do you sleep?

Maybe, if you both lie on your sides,
Facing in,
Forcing me to stay in between,
We will still all fit.
We could do. We did,
But, after, you slept.

“I should have watched where I stepped.”

I still haven’t slept.
I still haven’t wept.

Sophie Nankivell

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Sexualisation of black bodies panel

A few weeks back we attended a panel on the sexualisation of black bodies held together by Edinburgh’s Sexpression and ACS. All panelists talked openly and frankly about their experiences,…

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