A Community All on Our Own: Digital Spaces for Black Queer People (Abstract)

Black Queer (LGBTQ) individuals occupy a niche space in society. Not only do they belong to a community bounded by the shared experience of Blackhood in the world, but they also live in a space defined by the politics of sexual identity. To belong to two marginalized groups presents both unique challenges and special opportunities. Especially with the advent of the World Wide Web and social media, Black Queer people can coalesce in a digital environment where they can develop their own community, complete with coded language and particular attitudes towards the larger society. In this project, titled Black Rainbow, I will be researching Black Queer communities on Twitter (taking into account other social media platforms), placing focus on their sociolinguistics and politics. Black Queer people often do not use the lingo of their straight Black counterparts, but also don’t subscribe to the same politics as their White LGBTQ peers. From the phenomenon of the larger “Black Twitter” to movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, Black Queer people live their digital lives in ways we often do not consider in the mainstream. My goal is to shed a light on this oft-misunderstood community and highlight its position as crossroads of intersectionality from which we can learn about what social justice and community-building means to some of the most systematically disenfranchised among us.

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