Reviews

Out and About

roni-simunovic

Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives by Nia King (artactivistnia.com) is an independently published collection of sixteen interviews, co-edited by Jessica Glennon-Zukoff and Terra Mikalson. The book collects material from King’s podcast We Want the Airwaves, in which King talks to queer and trans artists of colour not only about gender, sexuality and race, but how to make art, make rent and survive. With transgender conversations finally taking place in mainstream media, however imperfectly, work like King’s is indispensable in bringing to the forefront conversations that need to be heard. The collection is not strictly informative, and never preachy. It’s fascinating and entertaining, offering the voices of talented, creative, humorous people talking about their lived experiences and saying, this is who I am, this is what I’ve done, and here’s what we need to do. It’s prescriptive in the best possible way, marking spaces for growth within queer and trans creative communities and the world at large, unafraid to laud successes and call out failures. The interviews feel in-depth, plain-talking and genuine, featuring conversations with the writer/artist/performer Ryka Aoki on giving up chemistry to write poetry and getting published with a trans press; with the burlesque performer Magnoliah Black on body positivity in performance art and representations of Black femininity in media; with Yosimar Reyes, author of For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly, on self-publishing, collaboration and getting paid as an artist; and with Van Binfa, trans activist, on racial segregation and gay gentrification in Chicago, to name a few of my favourites. King was kind enough to send me a digital review copy, but I’ve since purchased a hard copy on Amazon. This is something I’m going to share with friends.

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