Dear 2010s,

I don’t think I have enough words to say to you. You’ve seen me grow into the smart man I am today. you have seen me at my best and at my lowest. You have given me some of the best memories of my life. 40% of my life was spent during the 2010s. That’s a lot of my life. I lost my dad and my grandma, lost my home and gained a new one for 7 years. I made roots in a place I had only visited maybe 10 times in my entire life. I graduated high school and community college, learned about my passion for media, took care of my family after my father died, met some amazing people in the form of Nerdfighters and some who became my best friends! I made Connections based on things I liked, meeting some of the most amazing people in the tastebud and Harry and the potters communities. I am grateful for all that the 2010s gave me, and so excited for what the 2020s have in store for me and my family, thank you for turning me into the man I am today. You are part of my life, the good and the bad. I have so many memories that are coming back to me at the end of the decade, I am still alive. I survived and I lost a lot along the way, but guess what? I also gained so much more. I might come back and tell you my favorite memories of this decade. Merry Christmas and Happy new year to everyone, I hope you had an incredible decade like I did.

Love,

Seamus

Trans Day of Remembrance: we have come so far. But we have so far to go

DANA MARTIN

🕯

JAZZALINE WARE

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ASHANTI CARMON

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CLAIRE LEGATO

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MUHLAYSIA BOOKER

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MICHELLE “TAMIKA” WASHINGTON

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PARIS CAMERON

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CHYNAL LINDSEY

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CHANEL SCURLOCK

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ZOE SPEARS

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BROOKLYN LINDSEY

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DENALI BERRIES STUCKEY

🕯

TRACY SINGLE

🕯

KIKI FANTROY

🕯

BUBBA WALKER

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PEBBLES LADIME “DIME” DOE

🕯

JORDAN COFER

🕯

BAILEY REEVES

🕯

BEE LOVE SLATER

🕯

JAMAGIO JAMAR BERRYMAN

🕯

ITALI MARLOWE

🕯

BRIANNA “BB” HILL

🕯

These are the names trans people who have been murdered in the US this year. We need to start doing something about how we deal with violence and how we as a community react to these atrocities. I am tired of the infighting. If you are cis and Queer and you see an injustice happening you need to stand against it. There was a march in September where we went to Washington DC and talked about the anger we have been feeling regarding the way that trans people have been treated. Pose is on the air and people think “oh the issue of trans Rights is finally solved. Guess what…it’s not close to being solved! Those names are more than just lives lost. They are institutional changes that need to be made. they are a movement that has faced so much hatred and bigotry in the last 50 years but have had the biggest impact on the gay rights movement. Trans women are the ones who opened the door for our generation to do what we are doing and we need to support the trans community now more than ever.

I have been to jail. I have been raped. And beaten. Many times! By men, heterosexual men that do not belong in the homosexual shelter. But, do you do anything for me? No. You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will not put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation and you all treat me this way? What the fuck’s wrong with you all? Think about that!

-excerpt from “y’all better quiet down” speech from Sylvia Rivera.

Our community has come so far but god dammit we are not even close to where we should be!!!!!

Trans Awareness Week-Virginia prince and Transvestia

Born in 1912, Virginia Prince was a pioneer in the movement for trans visibility. She began dressing in woman’s clothing at a young age and didn’t think much of it until growing up.

Transvestia was started by Virginia Prince in the 1960s for “the needs of those heterosexual persons who have become aware of their ‘other side’ and seek to express it.” Transvestia became a safe space for individuals to tell their own stories without judgment. 

From NYPL article The Alternative Press: A Look Back at Transvestia

Publishing it was difficult, Prince was actually arrested for the crime of “sending obscene material through the post,”

Prince married twice, and visited a hosts of psychiatrists and psychologists to find out the root of her “problem.”  Finally, one doctor told her to “stop fighting it,” and that there were “thousands of others” like her.  Prince (who had earned a PhD in pharmacology) began to work out her ideas in medical journals, and developed the term femmiphillia, which she preferred over the term transvestite. 

From NYPL article The Alternative Press: A Look Back at Transvestia

Virginia had a huge impact on the trans community and bringing issues of trans awareness to the forefront of politics (or being a catalyst for it), she started to normalize the idea of Transvestism

For much of her transition and throughout the rest of her life, the distinct differences between sex and gender, and, to a lesser extent, the different categories of being transgender, or transvestite, and transsexual were important to Prince. According to Richard F. Docter in From Man to Woman: The transgender journey of Virginia Prince, “She insisted that the term, sex, should be biologically defined, while the term, gender, should refer to attributes of masculinity and femininity. Hence, for sexologists from then on would speak of male and female, while the words, man and woman, would apply to gender” (Docter 62). Prince prefered to be designated a transgenderist which meant that “…[she] live[s] in the feminine gender but [] ha[s] no desire to change [her] sex.”  (Docter 57).

From OneArchives USC articleVirginia Charles Prince and Transvestia Magazine

Prince founded the first organization for the visibility of Transvestites known as FPE. In retrospect, she had a lot to contribute to the Trans visibility movement but seemed to be very heterosexually-male based and was exclusionary of anyone else

The Foundation for Full Personality Expression (FPE) which later became Tri Ess, the Society for a Second Self, in 1976. It was an organization exclusively for male heterosexual crossdressers, which became a source of controversy later on because people wanted to expand to further support transsexuals, homosexuals, and others.

From OneArchives USC articleVirginia Charles Prince and Transvestia Magazine

Prince was a big deal and even with her organization‘s background, she is a pioneer for the trans community. Thank you for your conversation and contribution to the movement.

Transgender awareness week Day 2: Marsha P “Pay it No Mind” Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was another person who made a big impact on the movement. A transgender woman, Marsha P Johnson was an activist who refused to stop. She was there at the stonewall on the first night of the uprising. But she was not the one who “threw the first brick”

I was uptown and I didn’t get downtown until about two o’clock, because when I got downtown the place was already on fire.  And it was a raid already. The riots had already started.  And they said the police went in there and set the place on fire.  They said the police set it on fire because they originally wanted the Stonewall to close, so they had several raids.  

From making Gay History Podcast Episode: Marsha P Johnson and Randy Wicker, 2017

Johnson was homeless through most of her adult life and resorted to prostitution as a way to make ends meet but it wasn’t until she discovered the drag scene that she found her way.

“I was no one, nobody, from Nowheresville until I became a drag queen. That’s what made me in New York, that’s what made me in New Jersey, that’s what made me in the world.” -Marsha P. Johnson

She struggled with mental illness for a while but she always remained strong.

Despite her difficulties with mental illness and numerous police encounters, whenever she was asked what the “P” in her name stood for and when people pried about her gender or sexuality, she quipped back with “pay it no mind.” Her forthright nature and enduring strength led her to speak out against injustices.

From Biography.com article: Marsha P Johnson

Marsha and Sylvia Rivera founded STAR, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries which was a community organization that helped homeless trans women

 Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and they became fixtures in the community, especially in their commitment to helping homeless transgender youth. STAR provided services — including shelter (the first was a trailer truck) — to homeless LGBTQ people in New York City, Chicago, California and England for a few years in the early 1970s but eventually disbanded.

From Biography.com article: Marsha P Johnson

STAR is an early example of how trans women were looking out for each other in time of need.

In 1992 Marsha’s body was found in the water off the pier at Christopher street. Her death was ruled a suicide but people are still skeptical. Victoria Cruz from the anti violence project in manhattan helped open the case back up and is featured in the Netflix documentary “the Death and life of Marsha P Johnson” Marsha’s legacy lives on in people like her who are fighting for the rights of trans people to be who they are and not have violence perpetrated against them. Thank you for inspiring people to join the movement.

Transgender Awareness Week Day 1: Sylvia Rivera

This month I’m writing about trans women who have had an impact on the history of the movement and honoring them by profiling them. If you feel like you have seen this already it’s because it’s a repost from my June 30 days of pride blog posts I’m a little late but I figured I would start at the beginning of transgender awareness week. I’m appreciative of the position I have been given and I wanted to talk about some big deal people. So I’m starting big. Today, I am talking about Sylvia rivera, our Trans sister who helped pave the way to make sure we can have our rights. In 1969, Sylvia was homeless and on the streets and on June 28 of that year, she threw a brick through the window of the Stonewall Inn as a signifying of wanting a change.

During the 70s she founded an organization to get homeless trans people off the streets, they called it STAR House.

With few others willing to pick up the slack, Rivera felt compelled to help trans kids who ended up homeless and hustling. She started to call them “her children.” After Stonewall, in 1970, she started an organization called Street Transvestite Active Revolutionary, and later a home called STAR House. She and her partner kept both afloat with their sex work so her children wouldn’t have to hustle. The kids stole food for people living in STAR

Soon after STAR started, Rivera heard that an uprising against police brutality was kicking off uptown, led by the Young Lords, a revolutionary group of young Puerto Ricans. She and other members of STAR beat a path to Spanish Harlem, and marched alongside the Young Lords. “That was one of the first times the STAR banner was shown in public,” Rivera recalled, “where STAR was present as a group.” Rivera was surprised, happily, by the “respect they gave us as human beings.”

(From the Timeline article: Sylvia Rivera threw one of the first bottles in the Stonewall riots, but her activism went much further )

She was an activist for poor queer people, she fought for disenfranchised people and helped to make sure they got what they needed.

At NYC Pride in 1973, she had a very famous speech. It was moving to hear because she is so emotional. It’s called “Y’all better quiet down”.

Y’all better quiet down. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help and you all don’t do a goddamn thing for them.
Have you ever been beaten up and raped and jailed? Now think about it. They’ve been beaten up and raped after they’ve had to spend much of their money in jail to get their [inaudible], and try to get their sex changes. The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women. On the women’s liberation and they write ‘STAR,’ not to the women’s groups, they do not write women, they do not write men, they write ‘STAR’ because we’re trying to do something for them.
I have been to jail. I have been raped. And beaten. Many times! By men, heterosexual men that do not belong in the homosexual shelter. But, do you do anything for me? No. You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will not put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation and you all treat me this way? What the fuck’s wrong with you all? Think about that!
I do not believe in a revolution, but you all do. I believe in the gay power. I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights. That’s all I wanted to say to you people. If you all want to know about the people in jail and do not forget Bambi L’amour, and Dora Mark, Kenny Metzner, and other gay people in jail, come and see the people at Star House on Twelfth Street on 640 East Twelfth Street between B and C apartment 14.
The people are trying to do something for all of us, and not men and women that belong to a white middle class white club. And that’s what you all belong to!
REVOLUTION NOW! Gimme a ‘G’! Gimme an ‘A’! Gimme a ‘Y’! Gimme a ‘P’! Gimme an ‘O’! Gimme a ‘W’! Gimme an ‘E! Gimme an ‘R’! [crying] Gay power! Louder! GAY POWER!
(From the Internet Archive entry: Sylvia Rivera “Y’all Better quiet down”)

I want to make it known I owe my ability to be out and proud to this woman. This incredible trailblazer who refused to sit down and shut up when she was told to. She inspired people who stood up at the DC trans march in September and demanded to stop the violence and do better. This year needs to be the turning point for the next phase in the queer rights movement, what Sylvia was asking for 40 years ago. To be protected and live their true and authentic lives. Thank you miss Sylvia for all you contributed to our community.

I was told that you went home.

You were there for so many memories. Like trying to find an underground passageway for our real life version of Kids Next Door. Or summers spent at Linda’s pool having so much fun. The ‘03 blackout where we were just bulls hitting until we ended up going to sleep. The scary stories I wrote with me and you having a friendly war over a girl we both were seriously crushing on. Going to Central Park with your dad and going sledding! And my personal favorite, when we would all play baseball in nick’s backyard. You spent your time with us because you needed a safe place. Every time you left for Florida I didn’t know when I would see you again. Then you and Francesca would come home and I would be ecstatic because my family was whole again. We drifted apart for a while. We kept in contact through Facebook. And we got to see you last year. You told us that the reason why you were so close to god was because of mom. And you understood family. Family isn’t about blood it’s about who has your back no matter what. I am sorry to see you go. I don’t know what happened but you deserved better. Recovery is real and you showed it. But whatever happened to you my friend. I will be thinking of you Tonight. You loved my dad and I know he loved you just as much. If you see him up there please tell him I miss him. Mom hasn’t stopped crying all day. I hope you know you meant a lot to her. I am still grasping the effect you had on my life. Thank you

Coming out. And what it means to me.

Today is #nationalcomingoutday and I just wanted to say that I’m proud to be under the bisexual/pansexual/queer umbrella. I don’t care about what gender you are as long as you have a badass personality and you make me laugh I’m good! I didn’t come out until I was 22. My coming out story is kinda weird because I came out on Facebook and so I had a public coming out. I felt guilty because I didn’t talk to my mom and sister prior. I had a lot of fear because of growing up in a catholic household and having a lot of issues with toxic masculinity I was scared of what coming out would mean. I obviously didn’t need to worry because I have the most supportive family ever. I discovered my supportive LGBTQ family once I came back to school In Staten Island. The community on Staten Island from the Pride Center of Staten Island and The CSI LGBTQ resource center and the CSI GSA has welcomed me with open arms and I’m proud to be in their lives as much as I’m happy to have them in mine. Happy coming out day everyone!

#30DaysofPride: Day 28- Sylvia Rivera

In honor of today being The 50th anniversary of the stonewall uprising in the place where it all began, NYC, today I am talking about Sylvia rivera, our Trans sister who helped pave the way to make sure we can have our rights. In 1969, Sylvia was homeless and on the streets and on June 28 of that year, she threw a brick through the window of the Stonewall Inn as a signifying of wanting a change.

During the 70s she founded an organization to get homeless trans people off the streets, they called it STAR House.

With few others willing to pick up the slack, Rivera felt compelled to help trans kids who ended up homeless and hustling. She started to call them “her children.” After Stonewall, in 1970, she started an organization called Street Transvestite Active Revolutionary, and later a home called STAR House. She and her partner kept both afloat with their sex work so her children wouldn’t have to hustle. The kids stole food for people living in STAR

Soon after STAR started, Rivera heard that an uprising against police brutality was kicking off uptown, led by the Young Lords, a revolutionary group of young Puerto Ricans. She and other members of STAR beat a path to Spanish Harlem, and marched alongside the Young Lords. “That was one of the first times the STAR banner was shown in public,” Rivera recalled, “where STAR was present as a group.” Rivera was surprised, happily, by the “respect they gave us as human beings.”

From the Timeline article: Sylvia Rivera threw one of the first bottles in the Stonewall riots, but her activism went much further.

She was an activist for poor queer people, she fought for disenfranchised people and helped to make sure they got what they needed.

At NYC Pride in 1973, she had a very famous speech. It was moving to hear because she is so emotional. It’s called “Y’all better quiet down”.

Y’all better quiet down. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help and you all don’t do a goddamn thing for them.
Have you ever been beaten up and raped and jailed? Now think about it. They’ve been beaten up and raped after they’ve had to spend much of their money in jail to get their [inaudible], and try to get their sex changes. The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women. On the women’s liberation and they write ‘STAR,’ not to the women’s groups, they do not write women, they do not write men, they write ‘STAR’ because we’re trying to do something for them.
I have been to jail. I have been raped. And beaten. Many times! By men, heterosexual men that do not belong in the homosexual shelter. But, do you do anything for me? No. You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will not put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation and you all treat me this way? What the fuck’s wrong with you all? Think about that!
I do not believe in a revolution, but you all do. I believe in the gay power. I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights. That’s all I wanted to say to you people. If you all want to know about the people in jail and do not forget Bambi L’amour, and Dora Mark, Kenny Metzner, and other gay people in jail, come and see the people at Star House on Twelfth Street on 640 East Twelfth Street between B and C apartment 14.
The people are trying to do something for all of us, and not men and women that belong to a white middle class white club. And that’s what you all belong to!
REVOLUTION NOW! Gimme a ‘G’! Gimme an ‘A’! Gimme a ‘Y’! Gimme a ‘P’! Gimme an ‘O’! Gimme a ‘W’! Gimme an ‘E! Gimme an ‘R’! [crying] Gay power! Louder! GAY POWER!
(From the Internet Archive entry: Sylvia Rivera “Y’all Better quiet down”)
Rivera was an activist for 50+ years, she moved away after this speech was given only to move back to NYC after the death of her best friend Marsha P Johnson. She was homeless until she found solace in the same place that she helped found. Sylvia passed away in 2002 from liver cancer. She was a true angel and the mother of modern day pride. Happy pride Sylvia!!!!!

#30DaysofPride: Day 27- Craig Rodwell

Craig Rodwell is a name that not many people know. But he was a big part of the stonewall uprising as well as the pre-stonewall era.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Rodwell moved to the Village in the late 1950’s and quickly became a controversial figure in the New York Mattachine Society, a gay-rights organization. He pushed for gay pride and strong street actions to fight discrimination against homosexuals.

Rodwell’s Obituary, New York Times, 1993.

Rodwell is most notable for opening a bookstore in the Village that was specifically dedicated to Gay and lesbian books, the first in the world. However, The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore not only was a place that sold books but it became a makeshift community center.

In 1967, there were no gay community centers, save San Francisco’s Society for Individual Rights, that offered cultural programming and recreational activities. There were no gay bookstores that included shelves of gay books. In fact, there was no such thing as serious gay nonfiction. Libraries had systematically cataloged homosexuality as a deviance or a disorder. There were the occasional novels—notably, The Well of Loneliness, published by Radclyffe Hall in the United Kingdom in 1928—but mostly there was pulp fiction and porn, and novels that had queer subtexts.

Rodwell wanted a bookstore that would provide LGBTQ people with intellectual engagement. He also wanted the store to offer psychological-counseling services because, in 1967, the American Psychiatric Association still listed homosexuality as a mental illness in its diagnostic and statistical manual. For many queer people in the 1960s, the search for books, which offered some clues about homosexuality, was how they navigated their way out of the closet. “When I first wanted to find out what it meant to be gay, after I first put the label on myself, being a reasonably well-educated girl, I thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll go to the library,’” Gittings later recalled.

From The Atlantic article, Before Stonewall, There Was a Bookstore, 2019

Rodwell was an activist and little did he know that 2 years after he opened his bookstore, that he would be part of something even bigger.

The bookshop had not only became a major touchstone for New Yorkers but also symbolized the promise of gay liberation to many others throughout the world.

On June 28, 1969, Rodwell was walking home from a bridge game with a friend when he heard noise coming from the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that had been owned by the Mafia and frequently raided by the police. At first he ignored it, but then he noticed that a crowd had formed around the police wagon; people were resisting being handcuffed by the police. Rodwell climbed onto the steps of the highest stoop and yelled, “Gay power!” and “Christopher Street belongs to the queens!”

Craig Rodwell was a big organizer for the original pride march, which was originally called Christopher Street Liberation Day parade.

Activists like Rodwell understood the value of visibility; he was among the architects of New York’s gay-pride parade. But some were struggling not just for rights or liberation, but for something still more revolutionary. They were fighting for what they called “gay power,” the authority to define their own identity. Their efforts produced the intellectual revolution that lent the Stonewall protests their power, and which helped ensure that long after the protests were over, the changes they wrought would endure.

From The Atlantic article, Before Stonewall, There Was a Bookstore, 2019

Rodwell worked with Barbara Gittings on her quest to get Homosexuality Removed from the DSM-IV(get it declassified as a mental illness). He sold his shop in 1993 and died a few months later of stomach cancer. The shop sadly closed in 2009 because of decline of business. The shop’s location (which moved from the original storefront on Mercer to the corner of Christopher street and Gay street) is now part of the LGBTQ historic sites project registry. Craig Rodwell’s activism still rings true with the Heritage of Pride march still happening 49 years after the first Christopher street Liberation day. I am excited to see the turnout of the parade…3 more days!!!!

#30DaysofPride: Day 25- Paris is Burning and Worship of Whiteness

The following is an essay written for my African Americans in the Media class. I was told to do a screening of a film. So I did a screening of Paris is Burning and I decided to write a critique of the film for its worship of Whiteness.

Paris is Burning is a film in which we see intersection more prominently, but in a more problematic way. The film centers around the Drag Ball scene in the Bronx. You have drag queens who are disenfranchised. some of them are trans, some of them black. This film is about using your body to live your best life. In Bell Hooks’s response to the film she talks about the idea it evoked as she heard about it.

When I first heard that there was this new documentary film about black gay men, drag queens, and drag balls I was fascinated by the title. It evoked images of the real Paris on fire, of the death and destruction of a dominating white western civilization and culture, an end to oppressive Eurocentrism and white supremacy. This fantasy not only gave me a sustained sense of pleasure, it stood between me and the unlikely reality that a young white filmmaker, offering a progressive vision of “blackness” from the standpoint of “whiteness,” would receive the positive press accorded Livingston and her film. (Hooks, 149)

Hooks is saying that the name itself gave her a sense of belonging and the utopian idea of overthrowing an oppressor such as the white man. However, there is more to film than just being nonconforming to gender norms, there is a clear statement of how we view whiteness. We have this eschewed vision of the way we view whiteness. We see it as the “ideal beauty”. It is a big step back when it really comes down to things. When Octavia has her model pictures from the magazines on her wall, she explains she wants to look like this one day. The high-class evening wear, furs and other over-the-top outfits are all representative of how all of these queens wish they were, rich and white.

Watching Paris is Burning, I began to think that the many yuppie-looking, straight-acting, pushy, predominantly white folks in the audience were there because the film in no way interrogates “whiteness.” These folks left the film saying it was “amazing,” “marvelous,” “incredibly funny,” worthy of statements like, “Didn’t you just love it?” And no, I didn’t just love it. For in many ways the film was a graphic documentary portrait of the way in which colonized black people (in this case black gay brothers, some of whom were drag queens) worship at the throne of whiteness, even when such worship demands that we live in perpetual self-hate, steal, lie, go hungry, and even die in its pursuit. The “we” evoked here is all of us, black people/people of color, who are daily bombarded by a powerful colonizing whiteness that seduces us away from ourselves, that negates that there is beauty to be found in any form of blackness that is not imitation whiteness.(Hooks, 149)

We see the problematic way that Paris is burning is portraying whiteness. Instead of having the queens reject all that whiteness stands for and be proud, they are actually idolizing these oppressors.

“The whiteness celebrated in Paris is Burning is not just any old brand of whiteness but rather that brutal imperial ruling-class capitalist patriarchal whiteness that presents itself—its way of life—as the only meaningful life there is” (Hooks, 149).

We given the representation we were missing in How to Survive a Plague; but at what cost? Instead of the erasure of black folks from the narrative, we get an entire movie dedicated to the black queer worship of the white oppressor. One example of white worship is when Venus talks about her job as a queen as well as her motivation for things like prostitution. She uses the example of upper-class white housewife who wants a dryer and she can get that dryer by having sex with her husband. Venus’s comparison of sex work to a white woman trying to get something by using sex.

The interesting thing about this film is that Jennie Livingston, the director of the film is queer itself. However, this intersection doesn’t work for her position because she does not know what it is like to be black/queer/gender nonconforming. Hooks explains that in this way, intersectionality didn’t work out in her favor.

Jennie Livingston approaches her subject matter as an outsider looking in. Since her presence as white woman/lesbian filmmaker is “absent” from Paris is Burning it is easy for viewers to imagine that they are watching an ethnographic film documenting the life of black gay “natives” and not recognize that they are watching a work shaped and formed by a perspective and standpoint specific to Livingston. By cinematically masking this reality (we hear her ask questions but never see her), Livingston does not oppose the way hegemonic whiteness “represents” blackness, but rather assumes an imperial overseeing position that is in no way progressive or counter-hegemonic (Hooks, 151)

We have a shift because when you are looking through the lens of the camera, we see this narrative from her eyes and realize that she is totally looking at it from an outsider’s perspective. One of those scenes in the movie in which we are given a setup, but no resolution was the Venus is murdered by a man who was paying her money for sex. We are not given any time to grieve. It happens and the film ends.

The cinematic narrative makes the ball the center of their lives. And yet who determines this? Is this the way the black men view their reality or is this the reality Livingston constructs? Certainly, the degree to which black men in this gay subculture are portrayed as cut off from a “real” world heightens the emphasis on fantasy, and indeed gives Paris is Burning its tragic edge. That tragedy is made explicit when we are told that the fair-skinned Venus has been murdered, and yet there is no mourning of him/her in the film, no intense focus on the sadness of this murder. Having served the purpose of “spectacle” the film abandons him/her. The audience does not see Venus after the murder. There are no scenes of grief. To put it crassly, her dying is upstaged by spectacle. Death is not entertaining.(Hooks, 154)

In a sense, Paris is Burning started a drag revolution and it was one of the most iconic queer movies of the 90s, but it was at the cost of disenfranchising the queens featured in the film. When it comes to representation, Paris is Burning hits the mark. However, due to its idolization of the white body, it undermines what it means to be black and queer.

Works Cited

Hooks, Bell. “Is Paris Burning?” pp. 145-156

Black Looks: Race and Representation.

Boston, MA: South End Press, 1992. Print.