I know how important it is for brown and Black young people to see characters who look like them, and I know how much I longed for someone who looked like me and had a not-so-perfect home life to tell the rest of the world what it can actually like to be a biracial teenage girl.
Caster Semenya is a gold-medal-winning Olympic athlete from South Africa. She's an incredibly talented runner who's won dozens of gold medals at competitions worldwide. But instead of having her athletic performance attributed to natural talent and hard work, it has been scrutinized and coupled with assertions that she can’t possibly have accomplished what she has without cheating.
Who is to blame for this, you might ask? Just the usual suspects: sexism, cissexism, and white supremacy.
It’s Chanté, back with more sexuality (in color) and intersectionality. If you appreciated last week’s definitions but are still curious or you want to learn even more, you may also find this video from Taryn Crenshaw helpful.
Hey, hey, hey, it’s Chanté, back this week to continue the convo about sexuality and intersectionality. This week, I want to revisit a little basic terminology I brought up last time.
Hey! I'm Chanté Thurmond, and I'm the new curator of the Sexuality in Color blog, as well as Scarleteen's Growth and Advancement Advisor. Before I share a quote that's been in my heart lately, and a shortlist of a few exceptional PoC who consistently add value to the culture and to their respective communities, I want to share a brief backstory about my journey to Scarleteen.
Ever since puberty, I found my body to be a site of shame, something I desperately wanted to escape.
A transplant to predominantly white Catholic schools on Long Island, I was immediately deemed ugly. I had an older sister, but we were close enough in age that we were navigating puberty around the same time. As second-generation daughters of immigrant parents, we were on our own as far as navigating the personal and social meanings of our bodies.
Although I think of myself as South Asian, I was born overseas and have always lived in a Western country. Our family still carries many of our traditional values from back home and we have a large community here. I came out to my parents around 3 years after having my own realizations. The impetus for this was that they had started to look for marriage partners for me.
My family is supportive of my life, as long as they get to ignore the queer part. I know they can't handle it so I don't talk about it with them. As for my community of colour, the only one I've ever really been a part of is my mom's church family, and I know they wouldn't be able to handle it either.
Being queer and South Asian isn't easy; being queer and mixed is harder, because any community can put it down to the OTHER identity group. That said, my Indian grandmother has been incredibly supportive, and no one has written me hate mail or disowned me. I'm very grateful for the internet, and for the time I've spent in larger cities. Both give me a sense that there's someplace I might sort of fit in.