A Space To Be A Queer Black Nerd

While Blackness and nerd culture have been intertwined since Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura in Star Trek, queer and trans nerds of color are rarely noticed. In comics, SFF, and more, we are either barely there or not there at all. As a result, sometimes I can't relate to the pop culture I consume and feel isolated as a Black queer nonbinary nerd.

Although I love comic books, Marvel and DC Comics have only a dozen queer characters of color combined. This means that Marvel and DC have only five or six queer characters of color each. To make things worse, neither company has hired queer comic creators of color to work on those characters, which says a lot about how they far they aren't willing to go to be inclusive.

Things could also be better in science fiction and fantasy. Black Girl Nerds recently posted an interesting list of queer women of color in SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy) TV shows, but I'm more into reading SFF than watching it. While there are pioneering QTPoC SFF writers such as Samuel R. Delany and Jewelle Gomez, it feels like contemporary QTPoC SFF is just getting started.

Not only is the presence of QTPoC in pop culture media low, it is difficult to find community with other QTPoC nerds. Before I realized that was queer, I found solace in nerdy entertainment sites made by and for male and female nerds of color. Afterwards, I started to feel overlooked because I felt too queer for nerds of color spaces and too Black and nerdy for queer spaces.

Based on my experience with online spaces dedicated to nerds of color, I've never faced any discrimination for my sexuality or gender identity. However, there are times where I wish I had a space specifically for QTPoC nerds, a space where I could express my crushes on female characters without fear, and be myself without correcting someone about my gender.

When it comes to mainstream queer culture, it is no secret that it is hella white and is usually associated with RuPaul's Drag Race. This oversimplification and erasure of QTPoC contribute to narrow ideas about what queer culture is and who is considered "queer enough". Whether in the past or present, it is important to recognize the impact of QTPoC in a variety of fields.

Despite the lackluster presence in mainstream nerd culture, QTPoC have been doin' it for themselves as indie creators. A SFF magazine I love, Anathema, is created by and for QTPoC writers. Mildred Louis, Joamette Gil, and Knaishia Grover, are just a few of my favorite QTPoC in comics right now. Meanwhile, the website and podcast Megasheen have been discussing all things queer and geeky for queer nerds of color.

Someday, I hope that there is a place that QTPoC nerds can gather to nerd out over Black bisexual actors playing superheroes and successful Singaporean non-binary SFF writers. Community is one of the most powerful things we can have as QTPoC because we have each other's backs and know we aren't alone. For QTPoC nerds, a community could make us feel like superheroes.

 

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