Abstract

At the heart of this project is an intergenerational dialogue, an elliptical tracing of languages and communities in their acts of reclaiming and renaming. In this dialogue the authors ask how does a linguistic archive of Black queer/trans culture, in particular the grammars of they, kiki/Ky-Ky, and fem and stud travel within and shape language and expressive culture? If the Black queer and Black vernacular overlap, how do we look to the creative influences of Black queer and Black trans historical symmetries and exchanges? Reexamining historical continuities and shared socialities of Black gender genealogies, the authors refuse the scholarly impetus to discover “new” nonbinary and transgender frontiers when Black working-class vernacular culture has always structured and enabled radical linguistic expression and gendered possibilities. Writing together, the authors transfigure intergenerational knowledges into a critical theory repositioning the terms of the debate and enabling possibilities for connections where there have only been closures. Talking Black to talk back to this current moment of ever-expanding gender narratives, the authors look toward Black epistemologies conveniently forgotten in current discourses of pluralized gender subjectivities.

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