In a time where queer people of color are in more danger than ever, Black Girl Dangerous showed you can give the status quo a middle finger and create a megaphone to speak out and thrive.
By Latonya Pennington
On July 31, the website Black Girl Dangerous came to an end after five and half years of publishing content. Established in Dec. 2011 by Black lesbian writer Mia Mckenzie, the site was a valuable space dedicated to uplifting the voices and experiences of queer people of color. In addition to being a blog, the site also served as a publishing press for anthologies and books by queer people of color.
Before I discovered Black Girl Dangerous, I felt like I was too Black and nerdy for queer culture and too queer and Black for nerd culture. While I had come to associate queer culture with gay nightclubs and glittery drag queens, nerd culture felt like the domain of white cis-het dudes. Although I found some solace in spaces like the site Black Girl Nerds, I wanted a space where I could be nerdy, Black, and queer all at once.
Things started to change when I witnessed the Twitter hashtag #GayMediaSoWhite go viral last March. After seeing think pieces that assumed the hashtag was only about gay men of color, I decided to write a piece that discussed my frustration with the lack of representation in queer media. While looking for places to submit, I stumbled on the site Black Girl Dangerous.
My decision to submit to Black Girl Dangerous was based on the fact that the site was founded by a Black lesbian, featured a variety of queer people of color, and paid their writers. Black Girl Dangerous made me feel like I could trust them with my work without being treated like a token Black queer person. Furthermore, being paid for my work showed me that the site managed to bloom into something that readers were willing to support with their dollars.
Once this piece was published, I didn’t write for them again until June. A week after submitting a piece on the lack of options for non-binary gamers, I was asked to become a regular contributor to the site by Mia Mckenzie. She specifically asked me to submit pieces on nerdy stuff like comics and fantasy and sci-fi, and I was so flattered that she thought of me.
From then on, I started to discover queer nerds of color I never knew existed. My first piece as a regular contributor was a review of the webseries Gaymers, which featured queer male gamers of color. This webseries validated me as a queer nerd of color by reflecting my nerdiness and feelings of alienation. Out of this gratitude, I reviewed the series to promote the creators and to help other queer nerds of color find the show.
Using Twitter and my network of queer and nerdy news sites, I started to reach out to people who created the content that interested me as a queer Black nerd. One such person was Joamette Gil, a queer Afro-Cuban cartoonist who edited and self-published a comics anthology called Power and Magic.
When I offered to review a copy of the anthology, she was happy to let me do so because she loved Black Girl Dangerous. In the spring of 2016, Black Girl Dangerous had featured her in an article spotlighting queer comic creators of color. Therefore, it made sense that she would let another BGD writer review her work.
The more articles I wrote for Black Girl Dangerous, the more proud I was to be a queer nerd of color. With every creator I reviewed or interviewed, I knew it was possible to exist as me. In a time where queer people of color are in more danger than ever, Black Girl Dangerous showed you can give the status quo a middle finger and create a megaphone to speak out and thrive.