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When Our Intersectionalities Become Personas


Recently, Lil Nas X was asked to help educate kids on the severity of AIDS as he is an out homosexual man. This is problematic for a few reasons. To get Lil Nas X to teach kids about AIDS assumes that AIDS can only be taught by queer people, and is still an illness that mainly affects queer people, perpetuating that stigma further. Asking someone to also teach others about an aspect slightly related to themselves is also as problematic as getting Black people to teach white people about allyship and racism when Google exists. Just because someone reveals a truth about themselves it does not mean they are the expert in the topic, that this aspect of them is their entire being or persona, or that they have a desire to inform others on these topics.

Minorities are often given the tasks of teaching others aspects about their culture, community, differences as if they are on spectacle or a show. I have said this before but Blackness, Queerness, Otherness is not for others to consume and should not be made palatable to a white audience. It is not my responsibility as a Black, Bisexual, Acadian-Senegalese woman to educate others on any of those aspects. While I appreciate interest being expressed about the different components that make me who I am, I owe no one explanations on why certain elements of my being are certain ways. Lil Nas X being queer does not make him a spokesperson for the Queer community; it also does not make him a sexual health expert or give him the credentials to be able to educate the younger masses about AIDS and maybe he doesn’t even want to.

While I have been Black the entirety of my life, a lot of the readers and podcast listeners will know that that specific aspect of my life has been in development and I would not say I knew much about my Black family or any Black/Senegalese culture until the last two years. Perceiving someone’s difference and assuming they know all about it is not only frustrating for the person being asked to spit facts about their differences, it also isn’t a good feeling to feel like a lesser Black person (or any minority/marginalized community for that matter) if you are like me, trying to be proud of your differences while simultaneously insecure about the lack of knowledge of have. In that regard, I would have little knowledge if people asked me about an Bisexual or Queer factoids. I simply know that I find both men and women and anyone identifying in anyway attractive sometimes and I’m okay with that! What I find ends up happening is that people who have intersectionalities are made to feel that they must defend it so often, and speak about it so frequently, that they not only wear their intersectionality on their sleeve but it almost becomes a persona. Lil Nas X has defended his Queerness so much that he isn’t just a talented musician, he is now almost always labelled as a talented musician who is an out and proud gay man. To me that isn’t fair. Racialized and marginalized people are told so often to defend these aspects about them from their white peers who may be racist, or prejudiced or bullies that it becomes a lot of our rhetoric, and conversations and slowly we are seen as our differences and not as people who can talk about them.

I understand the human race’s inherent need for curious and I don’t want to do anything to stifle that curiosity, but some questions are better directed at experts and not every radicalized person is an expert in their race. Not every Queer person is a specialist in Queerness. Google is free. I am not just Black, just mixed, just a woman, just Bisexual, just bilingual. I am all of those things and I do not know everything about all of those things. I know I love who I am, the knowledge I possess about these differences, but I am not Google – I do not hold all of the answers and unless I am inviting questions about these differences, I am not Google.

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