had my first meeting with a group of individuals that want to help start a bronx lgbtq youth group. we met at a community health center. our group of four turned into just me and this other latina queermo. that’s when i felt something electric snap into the room. like no bullshit, no talking just to talk, no saying the buzzy lgbtq words/phrases to impress each other: it was all heart and business. this person grafted a piece of their stomp-y, focused, and passionate ideas into my chest. when people do that just run with them. run as fast as you can until you run out of fucks and keep going until you feel magic.
so i’m running with it instead of running from it. sometimes i want to leave the Bronx so bad that I can’t breathe, that I feel like if I’m buried here my soul won’t ever rest. the other side of me is convinced that I can’t just be apathetic and inactive. walking the blocks with clenched fists and a hard stare only contributes to the unease i feel. better to dive deep and see what can happen when i don’t ignore emails, don’t get drunk cuz it’s Tuesday, don’t act like I have no damn sense. i want to see what I can do to make where I live better in some way.
DreamYard was the first step. They gave me a chance and I’m still down on my knees thankful to the heavens they did. But there’s space to do more. What if little weirdos had a place to go that wasn’t the internet or Manhattan? I’ve seen it. The Point in Hunts Point is the perfect example of an arts-center that’s lgbtq friendly. I wanna build something like that infused with a little of the friend-love-community I’ve picked up from A-camp. Why not share that out with the world? Why not make more places of love?
Mostly, I’m scared that I’m a big flake and that I’ll drop the ball or something. But mostly, that doesn’t matter. Building community and trying to do good work matters. Like fuck Miley Cyrus right now and all the brilliant minds forced to waste their time pounding out dissertations for the fucking internet to feed on about why her display of white ratchetry was no bueno. Like I’m guilty also guilty of spending too much time analyzing pop culture and forgetting that real life is happening. It’s like even when you write about people fighting the good fight, like all the queer and indie news outlets do, most people could give one half of one shit. i want to be less like that, like just a little more focused on what my people need, what I need.
I know this is all about creating a space for teens and i wish i knew the perfect way to do that. but shit I’ve just started down this road. I don’t know what people need yet. I don’t know if teenagers want a teen hang out spot when they could just internet to death. the worst thing to do is pretend to already know someone’s life, to assume they need your feminism, type of activism, sense of morality, pattern of speech, and/or hair texture to succeed. I don’t want to do that. Not even for a second. Teens and queers can smell bullshit a mile away. All I know is that if there isn’t ever a space for even one person who needs it then I fucked up. Then I can’t blame the Bronx for not being what I need it to be.
I’m excited to push forward and try to build something. If you build it? This is for you, Nena.