table of beautiful queer folks gathered in celebration of self - vignettes of buds rope play, activism, love, health, reading, taking selfies, listening to music, spirituality, etc.

Hey what’s up.

Ok. I hope this doesn’t sound selfish, but I can’t seem to stop thinking about joy. Or more specifically, what does joy look like... now? I’ve been second guessing my every move. Would it be ridiculous to tweet about a movie I sincerely loved (The Clark Sisters biopic on Lifetime, give Madam Aunjanue Ellis every damn thing she deserves!) — or is it ridiculous for me not to? If I tell you about this delicious slice of pineapple rum cake I had after dinner, licking the collected syrup that dripped down off my fingers, does it sound like I’ve already forgotten about your suffering? Or that I already forgot about my own? Is it more socially acceptable to tell you about my countless sleepless nights, my recurring nightmares, instead? 

The strangest part of moving from panic through grief and finally, mercifully, into some version of uncomfortable acceptance about our current reality is that I’ve started to once again crave real joy. I viscerally miss it. I feel guilty for having it once it shows up. Even boredom seems more tolerable. Frustration, inevitable. But laughing so hard that my belly rolls shake? What am I supposed to do with that?

I don’t actually know the answer to that yet, but damn I hope some of you do. And if you don’t, just know that I’m clinging on to Joy extra tight this week — for the both of us.

Love you like a night sky loves the stars,


Enduring “Straight Time” to Build Our Own Radical Queer Utopia by Nik Valdez

Lately, Carmen’s been yearning for a different timeline. And it’s that queer desire for an unseen way of being, one that stretches beyond what we have right now, one passed-on elder José Esteban Muñoz knew so well. Here, Nik Valdez paints a hauntingly beautiful tribute to his words, full of poetry and depth that asks you: What are YOU brave or wild enough to dream for?

Finding My Own Chinese American Community Through KTV by Lia Dun

Finally entering the room where you feel comfortable claiming your identity is absolutely priceless. Sometimes that room is loud and boisterous and involves singing in a language you only kind of know.

Notes On Power in a Pandemic by Roxanne Gay

It’s actually kind of a relief to know that even Roxanne Gay feels paralyzed by the pandemic, and that she too finds herself struggling to reconcile the intimate personal tragedies alongside the buckling legs of our massive power structures.

Learning to Swim Taught Me More than I Bargained For by Jazmine Hughes

This piece was published last month — but as the sun turns towards spring, warming temperatures, and blooming flowers, it’s hard not to bring our minds back to Jazmine Hughes’ sweet, soft coming out story in The New York Times. May we all find such grace beneath life’s waves.
While We're Here

👒 The Beauty and Timelessness of Black Adornment Rituals by Dr. Tanisha C Ford 

For those of us for whom church on Easter Sunday was our first runway, and those of us still aspire to match the details as well as our favorite auntie. A study of the ways we were, we are, and will always be.

💅 @femme.hands

Is there anything hands can’t do? You want to watch these femme hands.

black hand lightly pulls at a loop of rope tied kinkily around arms and shoulders

💁‍♀️ The Difference Between a 'Karen' and a 'Becky,’ Explained  by Damon Young

Use it widely, use it correctly: “A Becky convinces herself — and attempts to convince others — that her whiteness doesn’t matter. A Karen doesn’t even bother to fake it. She... plays it whenever necessary.”

🤓 Read a F*cking Book Club: Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” Offers Persistence, Painstaking Reality by Al(aina)

It’s possible to escape reality and engage with it at the same time — that is the power of fiction and Octavia Butler! If you’ve been reading along, don’t miss the hot discussion.

When you watch Insecure and remember that you could’ve been straight and miserable, but instead you're queer and fabulous.
Don't do easy, do EXCELLENT,
The QTPOC Speakeasy is a collective of Autostraddle's writers of color.
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