By Melissa Myre
As Black History Month came to a close, Ryerson held its fourth annual Queering Black History event on Feb. 28. Organized by United Black Students’ Ryerson president, Rodney Diverlus and Queering Black History month founder, Lali Mohamed, students came together to discuss the achievements and experiences of queer and trans people in the black community.
Queering Black History Month aspires to “re-insert the lives, experiences and achievements of queer and trans African, Black and Caribbean people.”
A panel of three recognized leaders in the LGBTQ and Black community consisting of: janaya khan, social justice educator, model and boxer, Monica Forrester, sex worker activist and identified transgender and Christopher Smith, black queer “student extraordinaire” from the University of Toronto, shared their stories with attendees.
“We don’t identify ourselves by who we are, we understand ourselves by what we are not,” khan said.
In addition to the panel speakers, photographer Jah Grey and collage artist Nadijah Robinson exhibited their artwork in hopes to encompass the suffering, determination and the triumph of coloured culture.
One work displayed depicted two black men attached at the hip, chained from behind and armed with golden bullets in the front, faced the fire arms and spat bullets in response to being a target.
“It’s a metaphor,” said Robinson. “If we fight back, we’re [still] the guilty ones.”
Black History Month was created by African historian, Carter Goodwin Woodson, in 1926 to ensure the “physical and intellectual survival of the race” in a developing society.
“We were black before February, and black henceforth,” khan said. “We don’t need to be afraid to show it all the time.”