Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

As part of RAZZ’s SHAG Week, Caitlin Barr had the privilege of interviewing creator Kia, the founder of the queer owned UK business Nudes By Kia, which turns “people’s own nudes into wearable art”. Caitlin and Kia spoke about the genesis of their business, and why they think that reclaiming and celebrating your body is so important. Their discussion follows: Continue reading Interview: Kia from Nudes By Kia

The LGBTQ+ Guide to Dating Apps

As a woman who has sifted through the depths of Tinder and Bumble, it really doesn’t take long to notice that the majority of mainstream dating apps remain directed towards straight folks; typically offering restrictive experiences for LGBTQ+ people. The examples listed below offer a refreshing experience for those wanting a break from heteronormative algorithms. Continue reading The LGBTQ+ Guide to Dating Apps

Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

From general terms like queer, to gay slang like cishet, there are so many labels now that the majority of people, both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community, have no idea most of them even exist. And yet, queer people often find that their label, or lack thereof, defines them both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, in many ways, this can be empowering, giving queer people validation and an opportunity to express their identity. However, the minefield of personal opinions, ignorance, casual homophobia and exhausted indifference which surrounds the concept of strategic essentialist queer identities means that the topic becomes a lot more complex. Despite being proud of their identities, a lack of understanding and even homophobia can lead to strategic essentialist views of LGBTQ+ people that are deeply problematic. Continue reading Strategic Essentialism and Queer Identities: Validation or Exclusion?

Taylor Swift & Pride Anthems

Until recently, Swift’s decision not to make political statements and attempts to appear politically neutral have caused some controversy among her fans in an increasingly politically divided America. In the past year, however, Swift has started to make moves towards revealing her own political views, supporting her local Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in the 2018 elections, and releasing her petition in June 2019 to campaign for the US Senate to pass the Equality Act, a bill aiming to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. Continue reading Taylor Swift & Pride Anthems

RAZZ Pride Icons: Arsham Parsi

Currently 38 years old and living in exile in Canada, Arsham Parsi is an Iranian queer refugee activist working to help his community in Iran. Parsi says that he came to terms with his sexuality early on and after a transgender friend ended her life, he decided he must begin to discreetly help the situation for Iranian queers. This work included helping a local doctor carry out research on HIV among gay and bisexual men in their city, before he turned his efforts to covertly advancing queer civil rights. In 2003 he started a Yahoo group chat called “Voice Celebration” which gained a total of 50 participants who could establish connections and lean on each other for support; all operated under a false identity (including Parsi) due to the dire legal situation for LGBTQ+ people in Iran, which still operates the death penalty. Unfortunately, in 2005, he found out that the Islamic authorities had begun to unravel his identity and were looking for “a gay activist named Arsham,” so he was forced to flee to Turkey where he registered as a refugee and lived for three months before being relocated to Canada. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Arsham Parsi

RAZZ Pride Icons: The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective

The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective was the first “out” organisation for lesbians, womanists, and women of colour in New York City and is now the oldest black lesbian organisation in the USA. They grew out of the Black Lesbian Caucus of the Gay Activist Alliance, officially splitting in 1974 and inviting Latina women to join (they would also later include Native American and Asian members). Original collective member Candice Boyce said that there “was no other place for women of color to go and sit down and talk about what it means to be a black lesbian in America”. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: The Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc Collective

RAZZ Pride Icons: Phillip Picardi

Phillip Picardi, if not already, will be a publishing legend. After completing his degree from NYU in 2012, Picardi began his career working at Racked and Teen Vogue. Two years later, he became senior beauty editor at Refinery 29 but just seven months into the job, Picardi returned to Teen Vogue as digital editorial director (this is all by the age of 25). He worked closely with editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth and creative director Marie Suter, transforming the publication’s branding and turning towards politics, social issues, and activism. Condé Nast said that during Picardi’s time at Teen Vogue, “traffic to has increased to more than 9.2 million unique visitors, up from 2.7 million unique visitors last year, mobile traffic more than doubled with an increase of 109 percent year on year, and video viewers grew 989 percent”. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Phillip Picardi

RAZZ Pride Icons: Brenda Howard

Brenda Howard was a bisexual, polyamorous, LGBTQ+ activist. In a movement that sadly has a tendency to erase bisexual people, Brenda Howard led a fierce fight for bisexual people and helped her LGBTQ+ peers admirably. Most notably, she coordinated a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, AKA the first ever Pride march. Otherwise known as the “Mother of Pride”,  she helped evolve the march into Pride Day, and then into Pride Month. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Brenda Howard

RAZZ Pride Icons: Bayard Rustin

Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand man, a tireless Civil Rights activist, and an openly gay man – Bayard Rustin fought throughout his life against prejudice, yet he still faces a great deal of historical erasure. Born in 1912, Rustin learnt and adopted Quaker values of nonviolence from a very early age. In 1937, he went to college in New York and joined the Young Communist League because of their progressive views on racial issues but left at the start of the Second World War when it began to emphasise support for the Soviet Union. His focus then shifted to socialism and he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in 1941. In 1944, Rustin was arrested as a “conscientious objector” because he refused to register for the draft, being so against the war as he was, and faced a number of other arrests during his time with FOR. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Bayard Rustin