Trans Awareness Week: Queen Austin Empowers Black, Trans Visibility

Local rapper, advocate on the lifeline of trans pride

Ms. Amazing Head of Black Queer Lives Matter ATX (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Self-empowerment is key for local rapper and advocate Queen Austin, who performs as Ms. Amazing Head. Her 2021 EP, Attention Whorez, represents her first official release.

Austin has been making music for a little more than a decade, and calls this year’s EP a step forward from the singles and remixes she’s worked on previously The four-song album is rooted in Austin’s personal experiences, with songs like “INTTOB” (“I’m Not That Type of Bitch”) reflecting on her own experience in an abusive relationship The song, she explains, is an anthem to those who find themselves in abusive situations – whether those be work, domestic, or related to trans and homophobia. “INTTOB” is Austin’s call to the oppressed, and to herself, to say “I'm not [defined] by a type of scenario that society [tries] to paint over.”

As an Austin native, Austin has seen the city grow and change – from past days spent in friendship with the late Leslie Cochran, to more recently creating (and later disessembling) Black Queer Lives Matters ATX. For her, trans pride is a lifeline: It means unity and “being able to amplify multiple different backgrounds and cultures underneath the [LGBTQIA] spectrum” as she believes “all have stories and messages that we need to be told.”

As a black trans rapper in Austin, she says her artistry has been overlooked more than once by her community. “I find myself outside of the community majority of the time in regular Austin,” she says and points to how at the clubs she frequents on Sixth Street, there is little trans visibilty. More recently, Austin says she’s noticed that her own visibility in those spaces has opened the door for people from the queer scene to enter non-queer spaces and feel welcomed. “When I speak about community and speak about all, I know it sounds like a lot of work,” she says, “but I see a vision of all of us together, you know, no separation.”

Her most current project, Austin Queer Cultural Center, is a manifestation of that community advocacy, as well as the fulfilling of a need for strong Black trans and queer leadership in the city, says Austin. The center will seek to provide the queer community with both creative and general life-related resources. Austin heads up the project with the same eye toward self-empowerment that her music has, fueled in part by the vision she personally has of Austin’s future where the booming tech city “puts its money where its mouth is” by providing foundations and opportunities to its queer community that other major cities like Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles have. “Austin is next and it's my duty, my job to place us there.”

Recognized every year in November, Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 13-19) celebrates and uplifts the voices, experiences, and achievements of trans and nonbinary communities around the world. The week culminates with Transgender Day of Remembrance (Sat., Nov. 20), an annual observance honoring the lives of those who have been lost to anti-trans violence. The Transgender Education Network of Texas hosts its virtual TDOR event this Sat., Nov. 20, 6pm.

In celebration of this year’s Trans Awareness Week, The Austin Chronicle’s Qmmunity section spotlights members of Austin’s trans and nonbinary community with stories published daily online this Mon.-Fri., Nov. 15-19.

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