Category Archives: Introductions
About the people involved in The LGBT Colors Project
In much discourse today, there is this notion of colorblindness that has popularized the idea that we are, or should continue to strive to, post-racialness. This entire notion of us somehow being post-race is, as my anthropological fountainhead, Dr. Deborah Thomas, has said, “completely fallacious. It’s impossible. It’s not even desirable.” To argue for color blindness is to presuppose an inherent negativity characteristic of race itself and to ignore the historical dimensions of the construction of race and identity. It is within this theoretical matrix that I position myself as a student of anthropology, striving to decolonize my voice and scholarship.
Through my involvement in The Colors Project I seek to continuously develop my own, and others, understanding of privilege, and produce an assemblage of discourses that highlights our differences, but at the same time unites us within a multitude of resistance against the structural-violence braided throughout the political economy of life.
Although arguably hidden, the production of “others” has not ceased or dissipated, but instead, has been pushed to the background of the everyday logics of our biopolitic. Thus The Colors Project stands in opposition to the very logics that birthed it and in so doing, seeks to (re)produce its own space and prove that the subaltern can in fact speak.
Hello, my name is Antuan Johnson and I am Editor-in-Chief of The LGBT Colors Project. I am a junior majoring in Humanistic Philosophy in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. I am a pro-feminist and I have many interests in philosophy but generally they focus around the topics of ethics, morality, feminism, liberation, and law.
The LGBT Colors Project was founded for the unheard voices of the queer community; this publication is a liberatory project to recognize and validate the perspectives and experiences of queer people of color. This project will support the visions and dreams of queer people of color at Penn and beyond.
This past year I have been largely concerned with reconciling my identities as Queer and Black; I’m currently invested in understanding more about the intersectionality between queerness and blackness and what it might take to be a means of liberation in an act of resistance against hegemony and oppression.
I want to thank everyone who supports this endeavor. I am so fortunate and blessed to have such wonderful and talented friends working on this project with me; I thank each and every one of you. This project would not be possible without your brave and ambitious efforts.
I also want to thank any new visitors that may be browsing our website; the mission of The LGBT Colors Project is to project visibility for queer people of color and your visit is another necessary acknowledgement that we exist – not as distinctively queer or distinctively of one race, but as queer people of color.
My name is Mohsin Abbas (among many others), and I am a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Finance and Biology. My childhood and adolescence were split neatly in half between a small town in America and a big city in Pakistan, but that’s a story for another time.
Growing up, I didn’t think it was possible to be gay and South Asian. My time at Penn has taught me that the integration of these identities is not only possible, but also something that I can pursue with the support and love of countless people I have encountered. Having understood that my various identities do not represent a choice that has to be made, I now begin the work of reconciliation, of attempting to articulate what it means to be South Asian and queer. The South Asian community has a long way to go toward openly acknowledging its queer constituents, but I believe the first and most crucial step on this journey is simple: speaking out. A voice that demands to be heard cannot be silenced for long.
For me, The LGBT Colors Project is an opportunity to start a dialogue about issues that are too often ignored. I am inspired by the bravery and compassion of everyone involved with this project and thoroughly excited about what lies ahead. To anyone reading with something to say, welcome.
James Baldwin once said it best: “Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.” Baldwin’s powerful words remind me that there is a dire need for spaces for lgbtq-identified persons to share their stories and to continue breaking down barriers to full equality and access in our society. I am proud to be a part of such an inclusive, progressive culture at Penn and I am certain that The LGBT Colors Project will only perpetuate that culture.
My name is Charles Tyson and I am a graduate student in the School of Social Policy & Practice at Penn pursuing my Master’s degree in Social Work. One of my primary goals for working with The LGBT Colors Project is to serve as a liaison to both the graduate school community at Penn and the Greater Philadelphia community. Additionally, I am vested in sharing my own experiences as a black, gay man through this literary forum.
My interests include: mentorship, HIV/AIDS advocacy, service-learning and addressing social justice issues in the LGBT community. In my free time, I enjoy working with the Q-Spot initiative, tweeting (@cgtyson), traveling, spending time with my dog, shopping, watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, and reading.
Hey there! My name is Lexi White. I am a Penn sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.
As a true believer in the mighty power of words, I am honored to join The LGBT Colors Project. By taking on an editorial role, I aim to help bring light to important issues within and affecting the LGBT community at The University of Pennsylvania and beyond. Surely, words have the capacity to raise necessary consciousness and conversation. In working with The LGBT Colors Project, I hope to help foster productive sharing and understanding amongst my peers. A few of my personal hobbies include: shooting hoops, listening to live music of all kinds, writing creatively, playing acoustic guitar, and of course, reading powerful words!
Have a Vision. Spread Peace.
Hello everyone, my name is Elise. I am a student in the College and studying History. During my free time I enjoy writing poetry and reading about food politics. I am very excited to be a part of The LGBT Colors Project because it will shed light on creative voices that are not always heard in the LGBT community and often excluded from their ethnic communities, as well as demonstrate the diversity within the LGBT community at Penn.
Devin Salazar is a queer Latino from Houston, Texas. He is heavily involved with MEChA De Penn (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán) which in fall 2011 will host the East Coast Chicano Student Forum titled “Sin Cadenas: Deconstructing Gender, Identity, and Sexuality”. He is also an active member of Queer People of Color, Wharton Latino and the Wharton Alliance.
With an interest in marketing, advertising, and design, he hopes to contribute immensely to The LGBT Colors Project. He hopes that the magazine brings life to queer people of color at the University of Pennsylvania and becomes something people talk about. In his spare time Devin enjoys traveling, hiking, the outdoors in general, and baking and cooking. As a fourth generation Mexican-American of non-Catholic origin, he is also fond of discovering his roots, often for the first time, in terms of Mexican culture, history, and traditions.
is a pretty fulfilled person; is in an interracial long-distance long-term relationship; is a proud Canadian (not just for its gay marriage and Tim Hortons iced cappucinos, really); is some kind of geek-poet-activist hybrid that thrives on the Internet.
I hope the following is part of what The LGBT Colors Project expresses. It seems like we are new to Penn because Penn is new to us. Its people are ever-changing, and I hope for all queer folk and people of color that it is change for the better.
Take the dried essence of your traditions’ cooking,
reconstitute with rain from the windows of Van Pelt.
Add the distance between your house and Penn, lightly packed.
In a separate bowl, place the gap between you and your parents. Tamp down heavily, if necessary.
Cover with fine handshakes from new friends/possible dates.
Add a pinch of gay-on-straight crushes and a pinch of new vices.
Fold new freedoms in gently.
Combine mixtures and stir until the consistency approaches that of other people’s laughter.
Heat to 98 degrees. May occasionally boil over.
Season well with acceptance and maturity.
Add, very carefully, a drop of secret frustration.
Sprinkle over scintillating powder.
Serves 1-4000 people.
Hi! My name is Hector Kilgoe. I’m a student at the University of Pennsylvania in the Class of 2015, studying Religious Studies and East Asian Languages and Civilizations. I’m a Bostonian, but I love the City of Brotherly Love. I’m also a dancer in Penn’s premier Latin dance group, Onda Latina. I love to write poetry and read non-fiction books and essays about the lives of queer people of color as well as discussions about gender, sexuality, and their connection to race, ethnicity, and culture. I’m currently reading “Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood.”
To me, the Colors Project is both a vehicle for emotional expression and analytic discussion with respect to queer communities of color. Queer people of color need a place in which both their intellect and emotion can be expressed and celebrated. That is the goal of The Colors Project: celebration of the experience of queer people of color at the University of Pennsylvania and in the greater Philadelphia area.
My name is Adrian Rios and I am a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. I came to Penn from El Monte, California, where I lived with my little brother and mother. Because I am openly-gay and Mexican-American, I belonged to two very different cultural groups. I felt forced to pick one, as if I could not live through both. I tried to bridge my Mexican heritage and gay life together, and I am continuing that plan here at Penn.
That’s where The LGBT Colors Project comes in. As a queer person of color, I come from two minorities with voices that are typically underrepresented. Today’s existing publications focus on either LGBT or Latino issues (in my case), but never a combination of the two. LGBT Colors changes that. It provides a vehicle to express our opinions and experiences in one place, instead of having to choose between the two like we are so used to doing. We’re here. We’re queer. And we’re colored.