Why a Collective?
We believe it's through collective efforts that we make significant change. While often one person can’t change anything, a small group of people working together in deliberate, organized, and non-hierarchical ways on something that they all believe is important, certainly can.
We believe that in this current moment, in which we are increasingly fragmented and isolated from one another but wanting ways in which to come together, organizing as a collective will not only help us do more in the present but it is one achievable and important first step towards building powerful movements. We aim to work in a sustained and collaborative way with each other, as a small group in which all members share decision-making power, rotate leadership and responsibilities, and work collaboratively. We believe that collectives offer a promising approach to building something that we need in our movements and that can sustain us as people.
Working as a collective ensures that no one person, whether formally or informally, will hold more power and influence than other members and ensures that a wide range of experiences, voices, and perspectives are considered and play a part in the work we do.
Who is in the Black Queer Network?
Our individual personalities will remain in the background so that the focus can remain centered on the issues involving the Black Queer members of our community. We still welcome members of the Black Queer community who have an interest in joining our collective to reach out to us, especially Black Queer elders who would like to lend their experience and wisdom to our organizing as we explore additional circles of collective organizing.
Okay but really, who are you?
This has come up frequently. Everyone would like us queers to come out of the closet. An irony that is not lost on us. We have even had one particularly racist commenter ask if we were simply “a fat white disgruntled guy”. (We will leave it to you to imagine how we reacted to the racism, fatphobia, and aggression inherent in that comment)
However for now, we will not be singling out the information on members of our collective because of two reasons:
- We know that this removes the focus from our work and message. No one person has the power to speak for the collective and no one can say they have spoken to the collective when they’ve only had an informal conversation with their friend/associate.
- Care for safety. We have watched as the attacks have mounted and the searches and attempts to discredit and dismiss our voices because we are speaking out against abuses of power and long held ‘norms’ in our community. We have seen the damage that those in power can wreak through insinuations, rumours, open attacks on the jobs and reputations of people who speak out. We have seen and experienced the isolation, abuses and bullying that have occured within the Black community when people were outed as Queer and within the Queer community when BIPOC people speak out. There have been very real threats against us and we will not allow our members to suffer further harm.