June 12, 2020
My name is Jaypix Belmer, and I am a Black, Queer photographer who understands that being Black and LGBTQ has a power and a fate of its own. Sonny Oram, Qwear’s Founding Editor, and Rupi, Qwear’s Fashion Director have enlisted hundreds of artists and activists, sharing a platform where all LGBTQIA+ people are free to express themselves without fear of violence. Qwear, the fashion platform, has found a way of creating events and meaningful content online that make people feel heard and comfortable in their own skin, inspiring equal opportunity for all.
The queer fashion platform Qwear is producing Qwear Pride 2020: an all-day virtual festival on June 13th filled with speakers, fashion, dance, and music, which will be streamed on Qwear’s Facebook page. It includes a virtual fashion show that is the first of its kind. Open to people of all ages and abilities, it will be a compilation of homemade runway videos from people all over the world. This is a gravitating way to feel uplifted and seen for who you are during this time. Qwear precisely does not judge others by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Qwear’s goal to provide a platform for the community to share their stories through fashion, and glorify one’s individuality is always evolving to best meet the community’s needs. The festival will have a focus on LGBTQIA+ mental health, sick & disabled experiences, and healing. I wanted to ask Sonny how they are doing and how this experience was different from all the others.
Thanks Jaypix— we strive to make everyone feel included but it’s always wonderful to hear when we’ve succeeded. Personally, I feel both scared for the community and very fortunate to be able to help through Qwear. Since the pandemic hit we’ve been trying to provide more content than ever before for people who are stuck at home or feeling isolated, both through articles on our website, and the Qwear Pride 2020 festival.
We are concerned about the community's mental health, physical health, and safety, in particular those who are Black, Indigenous, and POC, as well as people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. We are concerned about everyone getting what they need, including basic needs like hormones, medicine, food, and shelter. We are devastated (though not surprised) by the country's response to the pandemic. The International Youth Indiginous Council spelled it out really well on Twitter: “It should alarm you that the government is substantially more prepared to go to war with its own people than to provide basic humanitarian aid, testing, and care to those same people during a pandemic.”
The government is spending money on murdering Black and Indigenous folk than helping these populations get their basic needs met.
Instead of having one featured speaker, we will be interviewing Black and Indigenous folk who are protesting police violence to share their experiences with us. In that sense, this event will be historic.
Pictured is Anjimile Yvonne, a queer and trans songmaker, who is Virtual Qwear Pride 2020's Featured Artist. Anjimile will be performing from 9-10 PM EST this Saturday June 13th at Virtual Qwear Pride 2020! Learn more about them at qwearpride2020.com
Photo originally posted on Qwear Pride 2020 Event Page on Facebook
I’m also really excited about the “QwearKiki” led by our team member Blessitt Shawn B. We’ve pulled together an incredible panel of speakers, all queer or trans POC, with either an illness, disability, or both, and we are dedicating two hours from 1-3 PM for them to discuss what’s on their mind. This type of panel is very rare to see in queer spaces.
We are also having musicians, dancers, and more speakers discussing mental health and learning your rights. The fashion show is going to be absolutely incredible. I had no idea what it would look like going into it, but the videos people sent in are just brilliant. I hope it will bring a lot of joy and a sense of community to everyone during a time when we are so separated.
I touched upon this earlier and I think we as a society need to seriously rethink the structures white people set up that allowed this violence to take place. The lgbtqia+ community is just as responsible.
It’s the people who suffer the most who tend to lead these movements because, I think, they feel they have nothing left to lose. We need to continue to look to the leadership of trans womxn of color and people on the feminine spectrum. Look at the board of your queer organization. If over half the people are white, you’re doing it wrong. If there are no trans women or trans femmes, you’re doing it wrong!
But the systems we as white people set up and continue to uphold are killing people of color, and they need to change. White people need to step down from positions of power into more support roles and hire POC instead. If you are a white person in a position of power like me, have POC make all the decisions and then carry out the labor necessary to make everything happen.
Cover photo originally posted on Qwear Pride 2020 Event Page on Facebook