By Oliver Price, staff writer
Indoor cheering accompanied by thumping bass could be heard out on the streets. Huddled together on the concrete floor, LGBTQA+ and allied community members gathered to celebrate poetry and music and to raise money for LGBTQA+ prisoners.
The event, held at Central Square venue Danger!Awesome on April 9, was organized by Black and Pink, a group of volunteers who raise funds to support the LGBTQA+ prison population.
“It is our job to support those on the inside,” Charles Jefferson, volunteer for Black and Pink, said. “[Prisons] need to be ripped down brick by brick.”
The main act of the night was internationally-recognized non-binary South Asian trans poetry duo Darkmatter. Based in New York and comprised of Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian, the duo voiced their opinions on a variety of topics ranging from feminism to race and manhood through spoken word performances.
“She tells me I am a disgrace to my family,” Balasubramanian said about their grandmother. “My white friends tell me my family is too traditional.”
Balasubramanian spoke on the status of white people within society.
“I want you to tell me more about your gap year,” they said.
Vaid-Menon criticized feminist self-centeredness.
“You don’t care about LGBT rights,” they said. “You care about yourself.”
Two freshman Wellesley College students, Rebecca Leu from Taiwan and Linda Liu from Beijing, performed a poem that dealt with the juxtaposition of cultures, professing a struggle of reconciling with cultural identities. Other guest artists included Boston-based musicians Yamamba, Haro Caz and Evan Greer.
Vaid-Menon transitioned into the topic of manhood, speaking about their father.
“When you call him a father, you cease to call him a person but a punchline of everything you hate,” they said.
Trying to lighten the mood, Vaid-Menon joked about Justin Bieber.
“I really want to create a nonprofit for survivors of his album,” they said, earning a screams of laughter from the audience.
Amid the supportive community and excited cheers, the message of the night remained clear.
“Until all of us are free, none of us are free,” Jefferson said.
Photo courtesy of DarkMatter