April 2019

In a break from the usual, we’re beginning the month with a video shoot! We’ll be making a (tiny) cameo in Tasha’s music video for Take Care/New Place. Tasha has been one of our co-strugglers for years, and we’re honored to celebrate her by being a small part of this new piece, alongside some other Black women and femmes from Chicago who we’ve long admired and respected. Keep an eye out for the video drop!

We also appeared in a promo for The Coalition to End Money Bond. The coalition is calling for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices to open a public hearing, and is also hosting a People’s Convening on Money Bond in Springfield this July. Sign their petition, and support their work!

On Friday, April 12th we’ll be leading an hourlong Intro to Voguing workshop for students at Highland Park High School as part of the FOCUS on the Arts Festival. Prioritizing trans and queer students of color, this workshop will briefly ground students in the history of vogue as a form of creative rebellion, then make space for each participant to create and share their own phrase of movement. Passing on the practice of resistance is a key part of our own artistic process, and we’re excited to join forces with these dedicated students.

ArtsEverywhere, an online publication of the Musagetes Foundation, is republishing Vogue Is Not For You, an essay we wrote in 2015. To elaborate on how some of our teaching practices have shifted since we first wrote the piece, we’ll be sitting down with icon Pony Zion at the New School in NY on April 19th to discuss the history of vogue, our individual philosophies as instructors, and the distinctions between exchange, appropriation, and commodification. We’ll share the full article and interview here once they’re published.

BH

March 2019

We’re so grateful to our good judy Bria Royal who has designed the new logo for our website! Bria is a Chicago-bred, Afro-Boricua animator, illustrator, and general badass who’s work we highly recommend you spend some time with. Thanks boo!

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ll be teaching a specialized Intro to Voguing workshop for Jane Addams Hull-House Museum‘s Chosen Family Day on March 24th. This multi-generational session will be called Move The Way You Move, and will encourage participants to celebrate their own unique ways of moving, unfettered from judgement.

Hull-House was the first place in Chicago we showed the entirety of our solo performance piece Dancer As Insurgent. We’re grateful to be back in this supportive space, teaching students of all ages the liberatory roots of voguing, its message that in order to properly love ourselves and each other, we must show up and fight hard.

It’s a lighter month of freelancing for us, because it’s going to be a heavy month for the #NoCopAcademy campaign, which we have supported from its inception. Black and Brown youth have been fighting the construction of a $95 million police academy in the West Garfield Park neighborhood for a year and a half, demanding those funds be put into closed schools and mental health clinics, and all the other resources that prevent violence rather than punish it. As mayor Rahm Emanuel leaves office, the struggle is coming to a head. We’ll be supporting our city’s youth, and you should, too!

See you at City Hall on March 13th to say #NoCopAcademy!

BH

February 2019

In honor of Black History Month, we have an article in Teen Vogue titled “I Visited the Plantation Where My Ancestors Were Enslaved.” An emotional recounting of a painful experience we shared with our family members this past November, it offers both reflections on the violence of the trip we took together, and tips for young Black people considering making similar journeys to learn more about their past.

It’s a ways off, but we’re excited to share that we will be a contributing author to the forthcoming second edition of Trans Bodies Trans Selves! The book is meant to be a resource for trans communities and their accomplices in reimagining struggles for a liberated world, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Our chapter will be cowritten with Bay Area labor organizer Kung Feng, and address histories of trans resistance to state violence—from police riots of the 1950s and 60s, to contemporary battles like the Undocuqueer movement. Keep an eye out!

Our former colleague Dr. S Simmons has invited us to visit their classroom at the University of Chicago. On February 26th we’ll be leading a specialized Queer & Trans Resistance to Policing workshop for students in the Intersectional Approaches to Social Work with LGBTQIA Individuals and Communities course. Social work is a space that can save trans and queer lives, but too often feeds them directly into the prison system. We hope to help young social workers think critically about their role in cutting off the pipelines that run throughout their own field, and abolition as a collective project.

See you next month!

BH