Poet Adina Burke on how the queer and disabled communities have more in common than not

 

Minneapolis poet Adina Burke, who identifies as a bisexual woman with Cerebral Palsy, has heard it all when it comes to how folks react to her identities. Some of the worst responses have come from folks she’s dated and even outsiders who comment about her relationships. “My partner who is a cis male, gets high fives and thumbs up for doing things a normal loving boyfriend would do like help me with my coat and ex-girlfriends have gotten praise from their peers because of how inclusive they are being by dating me,” Burke says. “But I’m not a Mitzvah project.” While Burke’s partners are lauded for performing basic relationship duties, she has found that she frequently asks herself, “What do I have to offer?” and worries that she is burdening her partner with her disability. “I’m a person with a lot of great qualities, and I’d like to live in a society one day that views my partner as lucky as I am to have them,” she says. Continue Reading

Community Voices: Why choosing ‘with respect to’ instead of ‘regardless of’ can change underlying meaning

I have to admit that I don’t like the use of “regardless of” when it comes to talking about resources, opportunities and all those things that people should have just and equitable access to. What I mean are statements like “everyone should have access to employment regardless of their race, gender, ability, etc.” “Regardless of,” in those instances, seems to perpetuate that sort of colorblind/genderblind/blind-to-whatever state of mind. I mean, the phrase is literally saying that people’s identities, experiences, etc, should not be regarded when thinking of how resources, opportunities and whatnot are allocated – that everyone is “treated the same.” The thing is – and I’m only about the millionth person to say this – people’s needs and desires aren’t all uniform. Continue Reading

No cops, no racists, no phobias: QTPOCI claim their own Twin Cities nightlife scene

After fights broke out in Chicago during the 2012 Pride Festival, Phillipe Cunningham approached a police officer to ask about a safe route to walk home. At the time, Cunningham had recently transitioned and noticed during this interaction a different type of aggression and animosity directed at him. “The more Black and masculine I began to look at first glance, that’s when the aggression had an uptick,” Cunningham said. “That was my first experience interacting with cops as a Black man. It shook me.”

Cunningham, a queer, transgender Black man running for Minneapolis City Council in Ward Four, said many queer and trans people of color and Indigenous folks (QTPOCI) have stories like this – times when they were trying to have fun, ask for directions or simply occupy public space – and a police officer responded with hostility. Continue Reading