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In a time where queer people of color are in more danger than ever, BGD Blog 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 BGD 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 BGD, 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 BGD.
Related: NNEDI OKORAFOR DESERVES TO BE CELEBRATED, NOT OVERSHADOWED

My habit of showing my humanity via having feelings, is routinely used by white people as ammunition to discredit anything I have to say.

By Shannon Barber Don't call me angry when what you mean to say is: this Black person has full human emotions and I'm uncomfortable. Or if you mean: I feel personally slighted by a generalized statement because who is this Negro is telling me what to do. Don’t dehumanize me because you are uncomfortable with what I have to say. Before we go further, for the official record, this is not me angry. I am sad. I am exhausted. I am not angry. One of the downsides to being a writer in the age of the internet are reader comments and being accessible when someone feels some type of way. The function of this type of entitlement is that I am expected to give my time and energy freely, be nice, and show only the face of a Strong Black woman. Any sign of humanity, of emotions, or even simply saying, “no I don’t want to talk to you/further engage” enrages people who exercise this type of entitlement. There is a mix of righteous indignation that I have not made myself available that is mixed with disbelief and dismissal. Often, people will go out of their way to find me, send me a private message where they explain to me what I've already said, explain how I've experienced my life experiences incorrectly, explain to me that my anger and aggression are too scary to be given space, how I personally am responsible for racism and sexism still existing – these are just a few of the nicer things. I won’t repeat the rape and death threats verbatim, nobody needs to see that.
Related: TEN WAYS WHITE PEOPLE CAN STOP ANNOYING PEOPLE OF COLOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Reclaiming and retelling our stories is the first step toward decolonization--this shouldn’t be forgotten even and especially when we are speaking about fiction.

By Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda
  Recent discussions around cultural appropriation have, for the most part, centered on tangible cultural products: clothing, food, hair, dance, music, language, and visual art are among the most commonly discussed items on the agenda when it comes to cultural appropriation and the way in which it actively harms marginalized communities. However, many people seem to have a harder time drawing the line when it comes to a less tangible form of cultural production: fiction writing. Recently the Guardian ran an article called "Whose Life is it Anyway," which featured a variety of perspectives from creative writers on the topic of cultural appropriation in the realm of fiction. The overwhelming consensus in this article is that there should be no limitations on the imagination when it comes to writing fiction. Fiction writers, the article argues, should be able to write novels and stories from anyone's perspective, regardless of whether the identity of the character whose perspective they are writing from matches their own racial or gender identity, let alone class or ability. This is because, according to the article, one of the main purposes of fiction is to cultivate a sense of empathy for others by imaginatively inhabiting their perspectives--especially those of others whose experiences and identities differ from our own. To insist that we only write fiction from our own perspectives would be to hinder the freedom of expression. And yet, just as in life, not all voices and perspectives are interchangeable, even in the “imaginary” realm of fiction. The imagination is not a disembodied entity separate from the realm of experience–it is continuous with and grows out of it. That is, our imaginations are always conditioned by the kinds of identities and experiences we ourselves have lived. It matters who tells whose story. Good fiction doesn’t depend on distancing ourselves from our our own perspectives and experiences, but on examining them more closely (the dictum “write what you know” applies here). The cultivation of empathy doesn’t depend on imaginatively inhabiting other people’s perspectives, but on listening to their perspectives and stories in the first place.  
Related: THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF TELENOVELAS

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