On kink in queer spaces

Illustration by Carmen Johns

I found a dungeon that hosts events that are exclusively queer. Most attendees are people of color, and I walked in to the sounds of slaps, moans, and laughter. Leo, the “doorboi,” was dressed in slacks, a dress shirt, and a black tie. They told me I could walk right in, but to be prepared that Mx. Cele “was being fucked with knives.” Leo is biracial and has a side shave, roots dark and curls bleached blond and haloing their face. They’re a bratty bottom and a commanding presence. I trust Leo more than any cis-gendered dude bouncer. …


On survival and miracles

The first time he hit me, I thought it was by mistake. As if throwing a woman against a wall was the same as accidentally breaking a glass or scratching a bumper against a steep curb. Besides, I’d grown up seeing my mother beaten, so I thought maybe, just maybe, this was what love was.

The second time he hit me, something felt off. It helped that he did it in public. We were at a clothing store in the Village, and a throaty, tough woman, her Queens accent a bright mockingbird, told me I didn’t have to live that…

Randa Jarrar

Writer of the books A MAP OF HOME, HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI, and the forthcoming LOVE IS AN EX COUNTRY. Professor. Executive Director of @rawinews Muslim & Arab AF

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