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Hip-Hop grenade Michael Quattlebaum, under alter-ego Mykki Blanco, exploits sexual ambiguity in her music and troubles the gender roles, refusing the stereotype of rap music. She tells The Village Voice:
In all my press releases, I make them use the word ‘her.’ Even if you’re looking at a picture of Mykki Blanco shirtless in baggy pants, you are going to say ‘her,’ because language doesn’t mean anything.
Such queerness rose up out of the chaos that ‘Riot Grrrl’ and queer thinkers Audre Lorde, Judith Halberstam, and Leslie Feinberg had inflicted on heteronormativity in Quattlebaum’s teenage years. Identifying with queerness and feminism as a teen was vital to Mykki’s growth as an artist but also informed the vocabulary with which she would later cement her place in the world. [The Village Voice]
Cristy C. Road Discusses the Formation of their Identity and Artistic Vision
Brooklyn based graphic novelist Cristy C. Road identifies as punk, queer, Cuban, latina, feminist, among other things. This complex identification took time and much experiment to solidify, to “fit in [her] own soul”. Road tells The Wip that this has not eased her life as a writer, but has in fact complicated it, in some ways:
I wasn’t allowed to mention in the jacket of my book, Bad Habits, that it was mostly about healing from sexual assault and emotional abuse, because it wouldn’t have contributed to marketing the book in a profitable way. This is capitalism and patriarchy biting my ass.
Her most recent work, Spit and Passion, accommodates questions about how to dislocate the identity of the person from the identity forced onto our laps by a hetero-dominant culture.
Lesbian Herstory Archives Celebrate Lesbian Literature in Traveling Exhibit
The main idea is to make people ask, ‘What is normative? What is the normal way? (What is) normal literature?’ To bring this literature into everyday speech and an ongoing dialogue.
It is with such rhetoric that Morgan Gwenwald and Micki Trager, curators of the Lesbian Survival Literature exhibit, plan to sweep through the US. and Europe. They acknowledge and rebuke the heteronormative focus of American literature and seek seeks to parade Lesbian Literature, published from 1939 – 1965, into public consciousness in a way that they would have been forbidden at their time of print. [The Guilfordian]
Gender Queer Poet Amber Dawn Exposes Life as a Sex Worker
Asking the question, “Why do we so seldom hear the voices of those whose experience is so widespread?”, Dawn seeks to life the voice of the sex worker into the dialogue of society from the gutter that it’s been forced to scream from. Discussing “drug use, suicidal feelings, and the relative isolation of queer youth” in her book How Poetry Saved My Life, Dawn draws on the work of Elizabeth Bachinsky and Evelyn Lau. She writes:
– it was a terrifying time to be working outside, and I no longer
wanted to die
four thousand miles
away from a small river-bed town
Her work serves to swerve the spotlight onto those who can overcome difficulty and oppression, “a skill we have not yet developed, just as we have not learned how to include the voices of anyone who does not conform to accepted behaviours or ideas.” [Vancouver Sun]
[Photo: Mykki Blanco; image by Carrie Schechter via Village Voice]