*Note: This article was originally published on Pride Pocket prior to merging with MyUmbrella*
What does it mean to be a QPOC in the United States today? How are we supposed to deal with all the extra weight and pressure?
Do you feel forced to choose between your culture, class, and sexual or gender identity in a constant emotional triage: “Which identity is under the most direct attack right now?”
Maybe you grew up in a family or a community that believed that your queerness was evil or a learned behavior picked up due to your exposure to white culture. Maybe you’re exhausted from playing cultural ambassador at every queer function you attend, or from being silenced within activist circles that have a white majority.
Whatever your story is, and however your culture and your queerness intersect, it is important to make and hold space for yourself as a whole. From your self-care to your activism, there are ways to incorporate the inter-sectional reality of your identity into the rest of your life.
If you want to read more about the basics of inter-sectional identities, Everyday Feminism takes a deeper look at the unique struggles of QPOC in this amazing cartoon and article from 2016.
Find Spaces that cater to QPOC in your area.
Community and shared experience can do wonders for your morale. Also great for helping you find a good hairdresser, or, say, authentic ethnic grocers. You can start by browsing this list from The Huffington Post.
If you’re in college, you are in luck, my friend. QPOC organizations are popping up across the country at universities of all sizes and specialties. Check out the Student Affairs website of your school to find yours, or start your own.
For us older folks, connecting can be more difficult, but thanks to sites like Facebook and Meet Up, things are looking up. When I moved to Boston from DC after college, I had no friends, no guide, and wasn’t sure exactly where I fell on the LQBTQ+ spectrum. Meet Up and Facebook Groups helped me to find and join active communities of other QPOC that allowed me to feel safe and accepted as I figured out who I was becoming.
If you want to learn more, you can read this article by autostraddle for more information on why QPOC specific spaces are so incredibly necessary.
Are you ready to protect your communities on the front lines as an activist?
It can be overwhelming to examine the intricacy of your many-faceted identities in order to decide which battle you want to fight, and equally easy to find your voice drowning in a crowd of others only partially in line with your struggle when you participate in ‘single-issue’ organizations.
Look for organizations whose platforms, demands, and structures reflect intersectional values and prioritize a multi-cultural perspective.
If you’re looking to get protesting or organizing immediately, The Movement for Black Lives is an excellent place to start your work in intersectional activism, as are campaigns and groups created by GLAAD, NBJC, NQAPIA, and the LPC.
Don’t forget to take time for self-care. A big part of accepting yourself and marching in the fullness of your unique experience hinges on the very basic question of whether or not you treat yourself kindly and are willing to do the work of loving and making time for you.
Everyone’s bliss looks a little different, and these resources can help you to begin exploring yours:
Check out tips from Colorlines and Teen Vogue, this list by the WOC of Middlebury College, Self- Care for ‘Woke Folks’ by Everyday Feminism, an article on QPOC Mental Health by Rest for Resistance, or learn Self-Care Practices from IS and go in depth on the subject with Dr. Diana Raab at Psychology Today.
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