Black Queer Identity Matrix: Towards An Integrated Queer of Color Framework (2014)

“This volume launches the first sustained discussion of the need for a queer of color conceptual framework around Black, lesbian female identity. Specifically, this volume addresses the necessity for a more integrated framework within queer studies, in which the variables of race/ethnicity are taken into consideration. 

This book is unique in that it highlights a triple-jeopardy minority group that has been historically marginalized and concludes with the proposal of a much-needed framework for researchers to begin to create a baseline of knowledge/research under the umbrella of the Black Queer Identity Matrix.”

By Sheena C. Howard

Get it now here

Dr. Sheena C. Howard (PhD, Howard University, Intercultural/ Rhetorical Communication) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Dr. Howard is the editor (with Ron L. Jackson) of Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (2013). Her most recent article, «Intercultural (Mis)Communication: Why Would You ‘Out’ Me in Class?», published in the Journal of Sexuality and Culture, won Top Competitive Paper under the Voices of Diversity Unit at the Eastern Communication Association Conference in 2012.

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The New Black Vanguard: Queer People of Color Leading the Revolution
With unprecedented visibility of queer people of color, luminaries from within the community discuss power, identity, and whether or not the attention will last.

There’s a revolution going on. A revolution of thought, self-expression, and self-actualization. As a society, we have begun to confront the way we talk about identity, whether it be in terms of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Queer people of color, as an integral voice in this conversation, have often had no choice but to confront — and be confronted about — their identities. For the first time since perhaps the Harlem Renaissance, the souls of queer black folk have been depicted on our own terms as we take control of our narratives — but nearly 100 years on, we have earned the freedom to be far more open and honest than Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, or Countee Cullen ever could. This is the new renaissance.


the lack of conatus

the cobwebs in my heart

feel like they belong there

it aint a vacant space

but no ones tryna help it pump lately

so i grab my own defibrillator

& shock it alive

outside of the liquor

when do i feel much?  

pry me apart see if theres much on the inside

i think i got some hope left

the 3 separate directions

that my hearts pulled towards

has got me almost wishin

i couldnt love at all

& there is still warmth in my wands

but the insides so cold

like a frost bitten winter

but it feels worse

when i become like ice

& the slightest tap makes me crack

vulnerability has never been a thing i wanna handle

vulnerability has left me hallowed out

where there was a desire

where there was a fire

there was me

now where theres a burnt out pit

where theres painful desire

& small embers that barely burn

theres me

“‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ definitely is an acronym,” Monae explains during an interview at Fuse HQ. “It’s for those who are marginalized.” She says the “Q” represents the queer community, the “U” for the untouchables, the “E” for emigrants, the second “E” for the excommunicated and the “N” for those labeled as negroid.

“It’s for everyone who’s felt ostracized,” she adds. “I wanted to create something for people who feel like they want to give up because they’re not accepted by society.”

Black Queer and Trans* Reading List.

Please add books or essays written by Black and/or POC Queer and Trans* writers (fiction and non-fiction) and books or essays written about the Black Queer and Trans* experience. 

  • Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology by E. Patrick Johnson (Editor), Mae G. Henderson
  • Aberrations In Black: Toward A Queer Of Color Critique by Roderick A. Ferguson
  • Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” by Cathy Cohen (PDF)
  • Death and Rebirth of a Movement:Queering Critical Ethnic Studies
    by Cathy Cohen (PDF)
  • Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Queer Ideas/Queer Action by Andrea J. Ritchie
  • Mutha Is Half a Word: Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture by L.H. Stallings
  • Black Queer Identity Matrix: Towards An Integrated Queer of Color Framework (Black Studies & Critical Thinking: Lgbt Studies) by Sheena C. Howard
  • Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual African American Fiction by Don Weise 
  • Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
  • Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries: Survival, Revolt, and Queer Antagonist Struggle (PDF
    A compilation of historical documents, interviews, and critical analyses of STAR, a group of street queens in early 70s New York City who self-organized for survival and revolt. Contained within are pamphlets distributed by STAR, as well as interviews with and speeches by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Additionally, we are excited to include a critical essay by Ehn Nothing on STAR’s legacy, the enemies of queer insurrection, and the war against gender.
  • Decolonizing Trans/gender 101 by b. binaohan
    A short, accessible disruption of the hegemonic and imperial aspirations of white trans/gender theory. it seeks to remedy the reductive (and, thus, violent erasure) nature of trans/gender 101s that seek to explicate (but really construct) a white trans/gender discourse assumed to have universal legitimacy. a legitimacy that has widespread implications and consequences far beyond the borders of whiteness.
Audre Lorde said something to me that has continued even now to inform me. She made it very clear that none of us comes with our consciousness fully developed; it is a constant work that we have to be ever vigilant about. I’m counseling myself these days around patience. I’m counseling myself around understanding that we come to issues not only from different sites of experience but with different levels of consciousness, so as not to be so quick, not to be so judgmental, not to be so rapid around closing a door, around writing someone off.
—  Essex Hemphill, Living the Word/Looking for Home