VA’s Blog

Black. Womxn. Lesbian. Queer.

by Verde Arzu

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”  – Audre Lorde

Maybe you’re wondering, “How’d she come up with that title?” It just seems too long or just a bunch of words used as click bait, huh? Well, you’d be right! And it worked, didn’t it? You’re here and you’re reading. But wait, before you go, there’s more! There’s more to why I chose those words for my first blog title.

Importantly, they describe who I am. I am Black. I am a Womxn. I am a Lesbian. And I am Queer. Queer is a name I’ve only recently come to accept as describing who I am as a person–a human being. I used to say, “I am not a lesbian!” And I meant it. I said this because I didn’t want to be placed inside of a box and limited by what society defined as a lesbian. I was more than that, I said to myself. First and foremost, I am a Black Womxn! I can’t walk into a room and hide that part of myself. To be perfectly honest, for a long while, I held the belief that lesbian belonged to white womxn. Was there space for me here in the “L?” In my world, I didn’t see much representation of Black lesbian womxn. Then, there was also the fact that growing up, lesbian was that no-no taboo word that you didn’t even say out loud.

Over time I’ve come to find power in the word lesbian. I’ve grown to accept and embrace that that’s a part of who I am. Now, my mindset is–forget what other people think or say. “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”  – Audre Lorde

So, when defining myself, I identify as lesbian, among other qualities. It’s been a journey similar to finding acceptance and comfort in calling myself a writer. It is simply who I am, regardless of what I think other people think about it. So, BAM! I am a lesbian.

Then, BOOM, in walks ‘Queer!’ To me, Queer is bold and brazen. It’s in your face because there’s really no box for it. I am old enough to remember a time when “queer” was offensive to people in the LGBTQ+ community, right? As a matter of fact, when I looked it up, I found many definitions for queer: odd, strange, unusual, peculiar, weird, eccentric, unfamiliar, atypical, untypical, different, mysterious, perplexing. It goes on from there, but, you get the picture! Descriptors that push queer people to the margins. However, it has been taken back with power and I love it! I felt like it allowed for more freedom. It’s been easier for me to identify as Queer than it had been to be a self-describe lesbian.

But, more and more “I am defining myself for myself.” And as it goes, I am Black. I am Womxn. I am Lesbian. I am Queer.


Interested in learning more on the history of the term, queer? Check out this article by Columbia Journalism Review. You can also check out this blog by, The National Archives.