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How is everyone doing? I’ve really been enjoying the longer days and fresh farmer’s market produce. BLTs are my EOD treat.
This week we’re talking to a drag queen who is passionate about keeping their family together and the director of Good People Vote, a voting rights organization in Alabama.
We’re also looking for new Honey essays. Know someone with a story to tell? Forward them this newsletter and tell them to reach out!
‘Are these nails worth an argument?’: Why this Alabama drag queen works to maintain their family’s peace
“Sam’s parents still don’t know they do drag or identify as nonbinary. “You see these nails?” they ask, click-clacking the black acrylics on their hand. “They will be off my fingers by Thursday because I have to see [my parents] on Friday.” For Sam, rebuilding a connection with their mom and trying not to burn familial bridges seems to be more important than seeking acceptance from those whose own personal limits may never allow them to fully understand.
When asked how they reconcile this lifestyle with the “Be Yourself” message they often use with younger queers in the community, Sam shrugs. “Put everything in a balance…it’s important to know what battles to fight,” they explain empathetically. “Are these nails really important? Are these nails really worth me having an argument with my parents on my birthday? If it’s worth it for you to walk away and tell your family, ‘Fuck you,’ then do it. But that’s not the story for everybody.”
Your Voice: What I’m doing to make sure ‘Good People Vote’
Each week the Honey newsletter includes a column from women and LGBTQ folks in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. We’re always looking for more stories from you. Click here to learn more about how to get published.
By Tyra Robinson
Think about your local election period. You’re in your neighborhood, and you see a bunch of election signs, but you don’t know who these people are or what they stand for. Now think about Election Day. You’re in the parking lot skimming through the internet to get a quick glimpse of the ballot sheet and researching what you can on the other candidates aside from Congress and the President. Honestly, this is a lot of us. But are we genuinely informed enough to make a decision?
2020 was a difficult time for the world, but we were able to pay closer attention to all the pending laws and amendments that we might’ve missed, and we were able to see firsthand where they originated. With voter intimidation and voter suppression bills increasing, I’m reminded of how far we’ve come and what we stood to lose by being “comfortable” or misguided. Regardless of how hopeless everything seemed for a bit, we also witnessed many good people in communities make a positive impact. Seeing this inspired me to create Good People Vote, a call to action for all people who want to get more engaged in a fun and exciting way.
I’ve always been somewhat interested in politics; however, that’s not what led me down the road to social activism.
The idea behind Good People Vote was stirred by the desire to improve engagement within the community. Growing up, I did not learn about our historically thriving Black communities that were destroyed, and I didn’t feel a sense of community in my neighborhood. I didn’t know many of my neighbors, and I rarely witnessed neighbors looking out for one another or investing in the community.
I left my hometown of Montgomery to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a graphic design major, I began learning the impact of visual communication and was able to practice my craft with organizations and local businesses. After witnessing multiple instances of police brutality around the nation, I wanted to direct my efforts towards civic engagement and social justice for my final year. For my BFA, I created my first social justice installation titled “Unforgotten,” which centered on the deaths of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and Jordan Edwards. As I continued to expand this series, I also continued to partner with and support local organizations, focusing on causes that drive community engagement.
The Junk Drawer
The Junk Drawer isn’t really junk, but a curated collection of things from around the internet that you didn’t really know you needed, akin to the paper clip, flashlight, hair tie and the $2 bill that hang around in that one kitchen drawer.
Before Zaila Avant-garde, these Black spellers made headlines: Avant-garde’s win follows a longer history of Black girls reaching the highest level of spelling competitions, and facing discrimination when they got to the top (The 19th*)
Free the boob. “Why I’m never wearing a bra again.” The fall of the bra post-pandemic. (The Cut)
Writer and filmmaker couple Grey Chapman and Dane Sponberg document their experience getting pregnant during the pandemic in this insightful short film and essay. (The Bitter Southerner)
Big bows, the “Go to Church or the Devil Will Get You” sign, Gatlinburg, heirloom tomatoes… CAMP. This exploration may become a story at some point, but I’d love to hear what else you think is Southern Camp.
That’s all I’ve got for today.