xican@

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Learning to love the skin I’m in and embracing my long black hair which I inherited from the Mamas in my familia.

27 - Queer Xican@ feminista/muxerista
Living in the Borderlands of San Diego, hoping to move in the North West with my Partner.

I love this blog and all the beautiful gente decolonizing LatinX everyday 😘

-AprilsEye
[2nd Submission]

~La Pareja~

I just wanted to see some queer latinx art sooo. This was fun to do because of the lighting and it was not fun to do because of the lighting.Denim is tough. Branches are tough, leaves are tough. Flesh is fun and flexible. I wanted expressive strokes! I think I delivered kinda. As with every piece I learned a thing or two.

Hope someone out there enjoys!

“I don’t think I have rebelled against Latina culture. I have rebelled against those who try to make me warm tortillas for my brothers when they can warm them for themselves, I have rebelled against a patriarchal religion. I rebel against small mindedness in all ways and in every situation but those things are not an intrinsic part of Latina culture and I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to make me feel like I’m less Xicana for not embracing the small-mindedness.” - Alice Bag, interview on 1/23/12

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‘The Q-Sides’ Merges Queer Culture with San Francisco’s Lowrider Scene by Dani Burlison

JUNE 2, 2015

San Francisco’s Mission District has a long legacy of lowrider culture, a rich history artist Vero Majano has documented and celebrated through film for almost two decades. Yet, as a queer woman living on the periphery of a traditionally male-hetero dominated community, Majano never quite saw herself represented in the scene. The Q-Sides, a collaborative art project between Majano, photographer Kari Orvik and Hard French DJ Amy Martinez (aka DJ Brown Amy), brings imagined queer inclusion and celebration to recreated album covers of the East Side Story anthologies.

“Growing up in the eighties, every weekend was a parade of lowriders cruising up and down Mission Street, oldies serenading everyone on the streets,” says Majano. “It was a beautiful street culture. Groups would claim their corners with jackets that said Sir Locos, Slick Frisco Chicks, Santa Locas, and I would be standing on the curb, watching — not necessarily included — in my black Sir Jacket that had ‘La Shorty de San Fran’ embroidered in cursive letters on the back. Being queer is the only thing I’ve ever been sure about in my life, but I knew enough at the time that it wasn’t cool to let the Santa Locas homegirls know I thought they were fine.”

“What draws me to the culture more then anything else is the music, it’s what I’ve fallen in love to, what I go to when I feel heartbreak and what reminds me of my childhood,” adds Martinez. “I think it is important to celebrate lowrider culture in the context that Q-Sides has because there is not a ton of queer representation within the culture. When I was a kid I desired to be that homeboy with the car and girl by his side and this project has made that desire a reality. It goes really deep for me.”

That feeling of longing saturates Kari Orvik’s photography. She, Majano and Martinez faithfully staged each image in canny mergers of queer and lowrider culture.

“The Q-Sides photographs are not necessarily any one person’s fantasy, but they open the door to the possibility of inserting your fantasy in place of a more traditional narrative,” says Orvik. “I think that growing up you can have a sense that you don’t see what you desire reflected in your environment. Even if you don’t know exactly who or what you are looking for, it can feel like there’s no place for your desire. We wanted to represent a spectrum of queer culture in these photographs that opens the door to those possibilities.”

The three admit they hesitated slightly when setting out to collaborate with some of the local clubs. But despite the project’s focus on queer culture, the lowrider clubs were happy to provide vehicles for photo shoots. Many of those cars will be on display at the Jun. 5 opening reception at Galería de la Raza.

“All of the folks in the car clubs have been so wonderful to work with and excited about what we are doing. This could not have happened without them,” says Martinez.

To balance against the fantasy aspect of the Q-Sides images, Dino Dinco’s  Homeboy, a documentary about queer Latino gang life, screens at the opening as well.

More than wish fulfillment, The Q-Sides is a celebration of a rich history Majano remembers well.

“I’ve kind of always been visualizing something like this in my mind,” she says. “When I used to go to ‘You and I’ dances in the Mission in the eighties, I was a wallflower — younger than most people there — and I would watch the homies and homegirls slow dancing to oldies like “I Love You For All Seasons” by The Fuzz, and imagine that I was the one dancing with the girl.”

But they say us Chicanos are too political
They’d rather see us in Lowriders
Acting stereotypical
Don’t get me wrong
I’ve been on the block in Low-Lows
Watching Po-Po’s taking photos
Of tattoos off Cholos
Ain’t nothing glamorous
Seeing your people treated like animals
The Ghetto is not Fabulous
In Los Angeles the cops are in on it
Cocaine and Trafficking Immigrants
Through the Mexican Border
But they can’t deport all of us
Swimming through dirty water
Those “wet-backs” ain’t citizens
Till they come with 16 years of labor dividends
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Carlos Andrés Gómez // What’s Genocide?

“Carlos—what’s genocide?”

they won’t let you hear the truth at school
if that person says “fuck”
can’t even talk about “fuck”
even though a third of your senior class
is pregnant.

I can’t teach an 18-year-old girl in a public school
how to use a condom that will save her life
and that of the orphan she will be forced
to give to the foster care system—
“Carlos, how many 13-year-olds do you know that are HIV-positive?”

“Honestly, none. But I do visit a shelter every Monday and talk with
six 12-year-old girls with diagnosed AIDS.”
while 4th graders three blocks away give little boys blowjobs during recess
I met an 11-year-old gang member in the Bronx who carries
a semi-automatic weapon to study hall so he can make it home
and you want me to censor my language

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

your books leave out Emmett Till and Medgar Evers
call themselves “World History” and don’t mention
King Leopold or diamond mines
call themselves “Politics in the Modern World”
and don’t mention Apartheid

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

you wonder why children hide in adult bodies
lie under light-color-eyed contact lenses
learn to fetishize the size of their asses
and simultaneously hate their lips
my students thought Che Guevara was a rapper
from East Harlem
still think my Mumia t-shirt is of Bob Marley
how can literacy not include Phyllis Wheatley?
schools were built in the shadows of ghosts
filtered through incest and grinding teeth
molded under veils of extravagant ritual

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Roselyn, how old was she? Cuántos años tuvo tu madre cuando se murió?”

“My mother had 32 years when she died. Ella era bellísima.”

…what’s genocide?

they’ve moved from sterilizing “Boricua” women
injecting indigenous sisters with Hepatitis B,
now they just kill mothers with silent poison
stain their loyalty and love into veins and suffocate them

…what’s genocide?

Ridwan’s father hung himself
in the box because he thought his son
was ashamed of him

…what’s genocide?

Maureen’s mother gave her
skin lightening cream
the day before she started the 6th grade

…what’s genocide?

she carves straight lines into her
beautiful brown thighs so she can remember
what it feels like to heal

…what’s genocide?
…what’s genocide?

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Luz, this…
this right here…

is genocide.”

Dulzura by Sandra Cisneros

Make love to me in Spanish.
Not with that other tongue.
I want you juntito a mi,
tender like the language
crooned to babies.
I want to be that
lullabied, mi bien
querido
, that loved.

I want you inside
the mouth of my heart,
inside the harp of my wrists,
the sweet meat of the mango,
in the gold that dangles
from my ears and neck.

Say my name. Say it.
The way it’s supposed to be said.
I want to know that I knew you
even before I knew you.

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Mexican children learning Nahuatl

My heart is melting. Indigenous babieeeeees.

I want to learn Nahuatl too!