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Can't I be seen? Can't I be heard? Black women queering politics in Newark

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What does it mean for a black female to negotiate urban space? How is her body read, her politics enacted, and her agency understood and interpreted? How do black women use their bodies and identities to challenge structural intersectionality in US cities? To answer these questions, I explore how black women embraced a set of oppositional spatial practices to resist the intersectional effects of misogyny, homo/transphobia, racism, and poverty in Newark, New Jersey. I reconstruct the creation of the Newark Pride Alliance, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer coalition that mobilized in 2003 and 2004, after the death of Sakia Gunn. Exploring migrations between ‘black women,’ ‘black queer’ and ‘black feminist,’ I examine how black women respatialized social capital and enacted resistance. Through semi-structured interviews and frame analysis, I explore how black women forged new relationships between queer youth and black vernacular institutions, and created political spaces in which honest engagement of issues of gender violence, poverty, and power could take place.
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Keywords: black feminism; black women; feminismo negro; geografía urbana; movimientos sociales; mujeres negras; política queer; queer politics; social movements; urban geography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota, 224 Church Street, 437 Ford Hall, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA

Publication date: March 16, 2014

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