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Queer & Kinky AF: Black Liberation at its Finest

Published: FEBRUARY 16, 2023
There is a full and vibrant Black queer kinky world that is shaping liberation movements, one kinkster at a time.

Header photo: Black queers in kinky love: Divine RAE & Meaux the Muse | Photo Credit: DJ Bing.

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“Life is very short. What we have to do must be done in the now.” - Audre Lorde

We all have been ingrained with the history of how, the one and only, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement. He was the headliner, making incredible speeches and being the representative of Love and Human Rights until he was assassinated by the United States Government.

If you aren’t queer*, you probably don’t know that Bayard Rustin was King’s right-hand man. Every decision King made, Rustin was right there with him; they made decisions together and then brought those decisions to the forefront of the other players in the movement. Rustin was gay and, at the time, knew the world wasn’t ready for a Black gay man to be the face of the Civil Rights Movement. So, he kind of remained in the background -- advising cishet people in various human rights missions to ensure that people all over the world are treated with dignity and respect.

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But Rustin wasn’t the only one. We had Marsha P. Johnson, who remained in the background for years with regard to the gay/queer liberation movement at Stonewall, until fairly recently. And how often did you hear about Audre Lorde in your history classes and the strides she made within the second wave feminist movements?

As you can see, Black queers have been here, influencing movements here in the United States (and beyond) and loving each other for centuries. These early influencers of Black Liberation in the 20th century set the tone for the Black kinksters that would soon come to flourish and make room for the future Black queer kinksters who continue to thrive.

In fact, when thinking about how our revolutionaries fought for our representation, access, equality, and equity, we can contextualize how we are now reaping the benefits and solidifying our places in the kink world, unapologetically.

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READ: In the World of Black Kink.

The Personal is Political

Acknowledging that “the personal is political,” we can understand that the intersection of gender and sexual politics lies in our identities. The realm of kink derives from religious consequences and chattel slavery and the link to those makes kink what it is: taboo. It’s the taboo that piques a person’s curiosity into this unknown world that has been stigmatized and scrutinized in the past, especially in Black communities.

But Black communities aren’t the only culprit. Most of us (Black queer kinksters) have been in the game for quite a while and have experienced isolation, invalidation and fetishization that causes trepidation with regard to non-Black kink communities. Racism, classism and sexism can be rampant in non-Black dungeons, play parties, conferences, and illuminated in online communities. The lack of consideration around gender identities, pronoun usage, thinking/communicating in the binary, and ignorance around our presence is nauseating.

READ: Everything You Need to Know About Your First BDSM Play Party.

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But it’s us who have had the courage to be brave, to be out, and to be a beacon of light for other Black queer kinksters who are making their way in the world. We have invaded these spaces, taken over these spaces, and demanded to have space and sometimes that works. Other times, we realize we have to create these spaces ourselves because we know we are the change that we want to see in our Black, queer, kinky worlds.

The process of de-centering non-Black people is not without its challenges, as many of us have been victim to the cis-white-heteropatriarchy and the internalized hate of our mind and bodies is a real thing. But the research shows that Black people (and Black folks with other marginalized identities) are incredibly resilient because our creativity is what liberates us from the problematic systems that plague our lives each and every day.

And that’s why kink calls to us.

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Paving Ways for the Future

For some of us, kink is a way of life, living this life 24/7 with live-in property or being the property of our owner. For some of us, kink is what we do to have fun, to heal ourselves, and to express ourselves in our own vulnerability. For some of us, kink is about being in control; unlearning how our bodies and our minds have been colonized and using our power to assert our bodily autonomy.

But this is only the beginning of Black liberation, sexual liberation, and Black sexual liberation. We are revolutionaries in our own right and making way for other Black queer kinksters to take their rightful place in this movement. With that said, it’s important that we give our flowers while we’re alive and to sink down deep in this moment to realize how important we are to the movement.

My flowers go to these amazing Black kinky queers who are paving ways for the future:

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And don’t forget that we’re now seeing Black kinky folks in the mainstream media, such as Mistress Elektra in the television show "Pose", and in plenty of podcasts, including "Big Black Girl; Small Kink World."

Conclusion

So whenever Black History Month comes around, know that there is a full and vibrant Black queer kinky world that is shaping liberation movements, one kinkster at a time.

*Author's Note: I use the word “queer” as an all-encompassing term that is both anachronstic in this context and, at the same time, wholly accurate because we see ""queer" as an anomaly.

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Marla Stewart

Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sexologist, intimacy/relationship/sex coach, speaker, and author. She is the owner of Velvet Lips, a sexuality education company, as well as Contract Liberation, a company focused on research for non-profit groups. As a Lecturer at Clayton State University, she teaches Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies.As the Co-Founder of the Sex Down South Conference, Marla aims to bring diverse groups together to learn and share their experiences in the...

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