Qmmunity: Queer Black Womanhood

Local nonprofit Queer Black Women Alliance makes space for their community, plus more queer events

Queer Black Women Alliance's bowling night, Dec. 2022 (courtesy of Arijah Rashid)

Specific spaces are necessary, even in the already specific realm of queerness. Such is the power of nonprofit Queer Black Women Alliance, a local (for now) organization dedicated to elevating the mental health and business pursuits of LGBTQ Black women. They throw many delightful social events, like bowling nights, roller skate parties, and even an upcoming lingerie soiree just in time for Valentine's Day. This Sunday they'll be holding a family-friendly park get-together at Mt. Playmore, noon to 3pm, so queer Black women with kiddos can enjoy time with other adults while their little ones play.

QBWA first came about as a group chat, according to group President Arijah Rashid. A Navy veteran formerly stationed in Maryland, Rashid said her initial goal was to create a space of comfort while she completed her degree at UT-Austin. The chat's original name, Queer Women of Color Alliance, was later changed when Rashid found that broad inclusivity didn't garner what she needed from the group. "Often black folks are made to feel like they're not allowed to have a safe space for themselves," Rashid explains over email. "However, we have a very unique experience that is tied to our blackness and there's nothing wrong with that. The intersectionality of Queer Black Womanhood is special and something to be celebrated."

That recognition of queer Black women's unique experience is something grant writing director Nneka Izagbo was also looking for when she joined QBWA. Izagbo came to Texas from Maryland like Rashid and says she initially tried to develop a social life in her new home. "I soon realized what I wanted was community," she says, describing QBWA as "a space that will always be a safe haven to the community because it is filled with like-minded women that look like me; a space where I am always met with love and assurance as opposed to uncertainty."

Rashid soon turned QBWA from a group chat into its current nonprofit status. In doing so, Secretary Annette Ngene says that the space has created many opportunities for professional networking and personal friendships. "Eventually, we also hope to grow the alliance to reach various cities in the state, country, and internationally," she adds, "so that more queer black women can reap the benefits of having a healthy space like ours in a way that is accessible to them."

Q'd Up

Cabin Fever Comedy Shake off the winter blues with a comedy show "that evokes the nostalgia of summer camp." Hosted by queer comic Brandi Davis. First Fridays, 10pm. ColdTowne Theater, 1700 E. Second. $10. coldtownetheater.com.

Boobs B Gone Gender Destruction hosts a birthday party/fundraiser for their top surgery with tons of special guests. Plus: boob cupcakes. Fri., Feb. 3, 11pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. cheerupcharlies.com.

High Priestess Snow Moon salutations to the return of this witchy variety show with Irielle Wesley hosting. Plus: A portion of ticket sales will benefit Black Art Matters ATX. Sun., Feb. 5, 7pm. 1502 Brandt St. $20-25. highpriestessatx.com.

Sapphic Singles: Climbing All the sapphic bouldering buffs & climbing curious are invited to this meetup. First Sundays, 4-6pm. Austin Bouldering Project, 4477 S. Lamar. instagram.com/sapphicatx.

Cheer Up Charlie's Angels Drag goes full throttle, this week guest starring Anetra from RPDR. Pre-sale sold out, but limited door tickets avails. Sundays, 7pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. instagram.com/cheerupcharlies.

Transmasc Community Workout A trans-led workout that'll focus on creating sustainable exercise habits for transmasculine bodies. Mon., Feb. 6, 6pm. OutFitness, 404 Powell Cir. Ste. A. $20. outfitnessatx.com.

Pelvis Wrestley at Hole in the Wall On the first night of this new February residency, the lineup includes Emily Whetstone, Specific Thing, and Hong Kong Wigs. Plus: PW's "Susanna" video release. Tuesdays. Hole in the Wall, 2538 Guadalupe. instagram.com/pelvis_wrestley.

Vanguard: A Drag Revolution Host Hermajestie the Hung transports Swan Dive with out-of-this-world drag. Tuesdays, 9pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. fb.com/swandiveaustin.

Texas Lege 2023: Your Questions Answered! Join Transgender Education Network of Texas as they explain all the ins and outs of this year's Lege session. Thu., Feb. 9, 6pm. Virtual. Free but RSVP. instagram.com/transtexas.

Boyz on Film The Boyz of Austin go Hollywood with a drag show saluting rom-com movies. Thu., Feb. 9, 9:30pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $9. instagram.com/boyzofaustin.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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LGBTQ, Queer Black Women Alliance, Arijah Rashid, Nneka Izagbo, Annette Ngene

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