Drag queen legend and civil activist Junior Mintt talks about the steps she’s taken in her work to make the Black trans and femme community be seen and heard

·3 min read

On this episode of In The Know: The Truth Is, legendary New York-based drag queen and civil rights activist, Junior Mintt (@juniormintt), sits down with Chella Man (@chellaman) and Aaron Rose Philip (@aaron___philip) to discuss her role as a leader for the Black trans and femme communities, as well as how those groups have been essential to creating change in the grander LGBTQIA+ rights movement.

Chella starts the conversation by asking Junior to “discuss how Black trans women and femmes have literally led the fight to queer liberation and change.”

Junior brings up early Black trans activists like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and says that these iconic leaders are the “reason we know how to create action the way we do.” Junior explains that while many early trans rights activists were pushed out of the Pride movement both for being trans and for being sex workers, “they still kept creating community.” To Junior, these fearless pioneers set the groundwork for the trans community today.

“I look around at the nightlife scene, the performance scene, and the theater scene, and all of these different scenes that I was a part of, to get to look at how now, people are taking up space without having to give up a piece of themselves, or give up a piece of what they want to do,” says Junior. “We all stand on each other’s shoulders while we stand on the shoulders of every single last Black and Brown trans sex worker, every single one.”

Junior hopes that the world that current Black trans leaders are helping to build can have a similarly powerful impact on future generations.

“The community that we are building now is going to be the community that’s going to allow queer youth sitting in their house right now watching this to be able to believe that they can do anything that they want to,” says Junior. “And not to say that it’s going to be easy, but to say that, baby, if you got that queerness up in here, you can overcome anything.”

After watching a powerful video in which trans activist Grace Detrevarah pays tribute to Marsha P. Johnson, Chella, Aaron, and Junior all agree that it’s essential to showcase older Black trans women’s stories, in order to highlight their perseverance and commitment towards fighting for trans rights.

“Getting to tell our stories, in power and in victory, is something that isn’t even for [anyone else],” Junior explains. “It’s for us. It’s for us to look at ourselves and look at her, and really be like, I could be her. I could do that. I could see myself in those shoes.”

Junior transitions from honoring the past to celebrating the present, by sharing some of the current Black trans activists that have made a powerful impact on her life and mission.

The first activist Junior mentions is Ceyenne Doroshow, the creator and founder of GLITS, a grassroots organization that provides support to members of LGTBQIA+ community around the world. Junior also mentions writer and activist Raquel Willis, who she says is the “person who taught me my power,” as well as Black Trans Liberation founder, Qween Jean.

Junior is inspired by her heroes of past and present, honoring them through her constant drive to advocate and represent the Black trans community.

“As a Black trans woman, every ancestor that I have, I know no matter where they were, no matter what situation they were in, they looked around at a world that told them they shouldn’t exist, in a time much more difficult than the one right now, and saw a reason to keep going,” says Junior. “When I look back, I look at all of the ancestors that it took for me to sit here where I am right now. There’s no way I cannot keep going.”

The post Drag queen legend and civil activist Junior Mintt talks about the steps she’s taken in her work to make the Black trans and femme community be seen and heard appeared first on In The Know.

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