Honey DijonRicardo Gomes

Honey Dijon

What’s your perspective on how Black identity has been embraced in popular culture? 
Popular culture seems to focus on one narrative of Black identity, when there are many. Most stories tend to focus on heteronormative stereotypes, entertainment, or slavery. While it’s important that these stories be told, we need to expand what Black identity looks like. Where are the stories on transgender sexuality and love, lesbian politicians, non-binary scientists, or queer designers, engineers, writers, and musicians? Black people have never and will never have one narrative when it comes to our identity. Our culture is too rich.
Where do you believe the future of Black LGBTQ+ expression is heading? 
There is still so much work to do. It’s vital that mainstream society recognizes the epidemic of violence against queer and trans people and the Black community. However, there are many people within the community that are doing great work in humanitarian causes and the arts. We need more mirrors of affirmation that show positive images of Black LGBTQ+ people as well as human rights issues. Ballroom culture seems to be resonating within mainstream culture at the moment, and that is important, but we need more political activism in our community so that our human rights are legally protected.
What do you want your legacy to be as a Black queer individual?
I hope that by living authentically and unapologetically, I can inspire others to have the courage to utilize their voice to its fullest potential — to make change and to show the world how much we contribute to it, and that our bodies have just as much value as any other human being on this planet.

Lazarus LynchCourtesy of Lazarus Lynch

Lazarus Lynch

As you grew up, how did you form a relationship with the various facets of your identity?
My relationship with queerness is constantly evolving. I am always learning how to love myself, every single day, in both simple and big ways. For example, showing up for myself in tender ways rather than with a tone of judgement has helped me in accepting and loving myself. I think I’ve come to a place in my life where I understand that I get to make the choices about my own life that make me happy. And while those choices may disappoint some people, if my intentions are good and to be at peace with myself, I have nothing to worry about. I mean, it’s easier said than done, but once you get to that place, there is no greater freedom. 
How has your Black queer identity shaped you in your career? In life?
I think about my Blackness and my queerness as two of my greatest superpowers. I don’t know how not to be either one of them. That said, I don’t think it’s my Blackness or queerness that has shaped my life; I think it was learning how to be free in my Blackness and queerness that has shaped my life. 
It’s funny; when I released my cookbook Son of a Southern Chef last June, the press kept referring to the book as “queer.” I never intended that or planned that; it just was. Being 
Black and queer is an honor. I don’t see it as suffering or taking up a hideous cross anymore. Life is too brief to give a damn. I think about my Black gay ancestors; I stand, sit, and kneel on their shoulders; I am always supported by them and by my faith. 
If you could speak to any Black queer individual, who would it be and why?
Langston Hughes. I’d love to know how his mind worked and possibly write a song with his poems. Or James Baldwin — I wouldn’t know where to start, but that man was a legend. He thought about everything so deeply. I would love to just hang and make him a meal. 
What do you want your legacy to be as a Black queer individual?
I want that all Black Queer people find peace within themselves to live out loud, boldly, lovingly, and gracefully. If I could leave any mark on this earth that inspires Black Queer people to do that, that would be a great legacy.



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