Defying the Norms

See, ya know what's funny? Cishet folx walk around saying Yassss queeennn, throwing shades, or spilling the tea. Yet you gaslight and appropriate the Black LGBTQA? U got me drinkin my rose wine & drippin! Folx lookin’ just mighty fine in suits, sagging jeans, or non-feminine presenting clothes. Bulldaggers, studs, or masculine ladies got disgraced ‘cause they ain’t proud of the Lord’s works chile! We sipping our tea, dressin us up, fixin our hairs, and kickin it wit them while listenin’ and hearing our problems. When they strut out loud and proud, we shun them. We beat them. We outcast them. Lawd…. But u lovin gay men??? Make it make sense boo. U wanna know tha gender but misgenderin us in death. U askin us not to be neutral about our bodies but u be misgenderin us? My name aint Steve no mo; it’s Evelyn hunny. We gon dress however we wanna dress like Billy Porter! Be fabulous.


Video Description:

Background of stage where audience watching me. The voice interpreters which it is middle of aisle. I am wearing tan, blue shirt, wearing glasses, fade square hair and black transman. I am standing next to the chair and start ASL.

Video Transcription:

When I was born, my mom was thrilled to have a baby girl. Then she learned I was deaf, and she thought: “well, shit”.

Growing up, I had a tough life. I was involved with gangs, was incredibly isolated, being the only deaf person in the family, etc.

Looking at toy options growing up, I wasn’t interested in dolls, Barbies, etc. I wanted the soldiers. The GI Joe. The cool stuff.

I had a lot of cousins I would play with, but really only the male cousins. We played football, wrestled, etc. I looked up to my uncles.  They were tough, they horsed around a lot, I felt a real connection to them. The girls in my family? I just could never relate.

I remember one day getting ready for church with my grandmother, she told me I must dress up pretty, in a white dress, the whole nine yards. I was so annoyed. I wanted to wear pants and a nice shirt. I was scolded for sitting improperly. I can’t for the life of me sit with my legs closed properly, like a lady should. That shit ain’t comfortable!

All the while, growing up, I felt I had to keep my true feelings inside. I knew there was a boy in there and I wanted so badly for him to come out. I convinced my mom to buy me pants and t-shirts, things the “cool dudes” were wearing. That’s about when I turned to drugs and alcohol to help me cope. Other girls wondered why I didn’t relate to them – they looked at me and saw someone with boobs and a female body, but I preferred to just block that all out, to not acknowledge that even existed. I would curse them out and carry on as I felt inside. My mom tried to remind me that I’m a girl, and that I shouldn’t be hanging around with other boys. I would just take a deep breath and bury myself further and further inside.

The closest I could come to being able to express myself was when I came to realize I was attracted to girls. I identified as a lesbian, but I recognized that I had to be in control. I felt a need to assume the male role, so it never really felt like a true lesbian relationship. I didn’t feel like a woman, so how could it be? Don’t get me wrong, I had many strong relationships with women, but I could never quite relate to the female perspective. They would start talking about their periods and stuff – I HATED my period. When mine started, all I could think was “EEEWWW”! It was disgusting. This furthered my feelings of isolation. I just stayed home. As I grew older, I always dreamed of the day I could just be myself and dress to match how I felt; but I kept it inside and didn’t say a word. 

When I started attending the Deaf school, I dressed how I wanted, and I was accepted as I was. It felt so good. I fit in with the guys, no one questioned me, life was good. It felt so nice to be out in the world. But… there was still a disconnect. Outwardly, I could present myself how I wanted. But my body betrayed me. I had to make some changes. I wanted to take a knife and cut those breasts off my chest 

And I wanted to cut my wrists, too.

Fortunately, I met someone I could finally connect with, who felt the same way I did. They introduced me to the concept of gender, or being “transgender”. I didn’t know anything about it. Sure, gay, lesbian – I knew all that. Transgender was new to me. When I learned that concept, found that sign – I finally had something to express how I felt. I learned about hormone therapy, but still felt I needed to do something about my breasts. I ultimately had top surgery.

But still, the binary: male, female… it presents a struggle for me. I never had a father growing up. I was raised by my mother and grandmother. My mother, though – she always knew I was different than the others. Not only because I’m deaf, or because I’m black… but because I’m DIFFERENT.

I was raised as a girl, and I experienced that oppression and that discrimination that girls deal with every day; but I never really knew what girl felt like. I never really knew what boy felt like. I couldn’t. I struggled with this disconnect so much. I knew that transitioning would not mean that I would suddenly be a different person.

I’m still… who I am. I’m still Hunta. I’m the same person today.

The oppression of women, I can relate to that, what women go through. But I know that cis men see me as a peer, and they start talking shit about women, commenting about their pussies and their tits… wow. It’s disgusting. It doesn’t mean I want to return to being a woman, but it’s fascinating to think about how there was a time when men talked about me that way. I’ve been that person they’re talking about. It doesn’t matter that I don’t identify AS a woman, I still have a LOT of respect for women. Sometimes I feel trapped in between, not fully female and not fully male. I know I am perceived as male, and I hate that that means men feel they can shit talk women around me.

Women, on the other hand, feel they can confide in me. Of course I listen, and they think “of course you know, you’ve been through it.” They tell how men do whatever they can to tear women down: talking shit, bullying, beating women. I’ve experienced all of that. So when I transitioned, I didn’t just forget about those experiences or erase that part of me; absolutely not. That allows me empathy. Just because I look like a man, doesn’t mean you should treat me differently. I have been there. I know what it’s like, despite my gender identity. It’s even worse that I’m black!

Really, my biggest frustration: transition or not, I’m still the same Hunta. It’s crucial to have support from both women and men. For men, I try to educate, help them to understand that women have suffered a lot more than they have, especially black women or men. Add trans on top of that, and it’s a triple whammy.

But if you were to take my heart out of my body and really examine it, who would you find? Hunta. I am the same person, no matter what body I’m wearing. Why would you treat me any differently? I can’t abide a world like that. Why can’t people see that “gender identity” really doesn’t matter – we are the same person as before.

Especially for people who experienced life as a woman, being oppressed, discriminated against, raped, bullied, neglected… now I’ve transitioned to a black man. I know that experience of being bullied. Being looked down on, beaten, mocked, day in and day out. It still happens.

But when I die, this person will always be Hunta Williams. Don’t only see me; see my heart. See what I’m saying. Gender identity doesn’t matter. I’m the same person. There’s no room for discrimination.

Gender Euphoria in Dystopia - A DeafBlackQueer Drag Performance by Mondo Vaden (Performing as Mondo Millions)

Video Description: 

Mondo Millions, a light skinned Black person with purple and brown locs performs as a very masculine Drag King to the song "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars, the music plays throughout. The background is a light color, and it is visually nighttime. Mondo is alone, wearing a dark grey button up shirt with dark jeans. He dances with a chair and appears to be singing the song like he’s having a conversation with the audience. At one point in the video, he unbuttons his shirt to reveal a mesh black shirt underneath, with a large locket necklace and a chain necklace. He performs in a sensual but emotionally distraught manner, and picks up a flower at one point to help him woo the audience. The video ends with a short clip of Mondo Millions performing the same song in a nightclub, with an audience that is being very supportive of his performance and singing along to the song. The final view in the video is of a white text on black background message from Mondo that says, “Performing as a DeafBlackTrans Drag King has given me new avenues of self expression and gender euphoria. During quarantine, virtual performances allowed me to explore what it means to connect with my intersectional identity,  performing as my DeafBlackQueer masculine self, and being brave for ME, not just for a crowd. Thank you for being a part of my community, and part of my personal story. With Love, Mondo Millions”

Video Transcript:

If you ever leave me, baby
Leave some morphine at my door
'Cause it would take a whole lot of medication
To realize what we used to have
We don't have it anymore
There's no religion that could save me
No matter how long my knees are on the floor (oh)
So keep in mind all the sacrifices I'm makin'
To keep you by my side
To keep you from walkin' out the door
'Cause there'll be no sunlight
If I lose you, baby
There'll be no clear skies
If I lose you, baby
Just like the clouds
My eyes will do the same if you walk away
Everyday it'll rain, rain, ra-a-a-ain
I'll never be your mother's favorite
Uh, your daddy can't even look me in the eye
Ooh, if I was in their shoes, I'd be doing the same thing
Sayin', "There goes my little girl
Walkin' with that troublesome guy"
But they're just afraid of something they can't understand
Ooh, but little darlin' watch me change their minds
Yeah for you I'll try, I'll try, I'll try, I'll try
And pick up these broken pieces 'til I'm bleeding
If that'll make you mine
'Cause there'll be no sunlight
If I lose you, baby
There'll be no clear skies
If I lose you, baby
Just like the clouds
My eyes will do the same if you walk away
Everyday it'll rain, rain, ra-a-a-ain
Oh, don't you say (don't you say) goodbye (goodbye)
Don't you say (don't you say) goodbye (goodbye)
I'll pick up these broken pieces 'til I'm bleeding
If that'll make it right
'Cause there'll be no sunlight
If I lose you, baby
And there'll be no clear skies
If I lose you, baby
And just like the clouds
My eyes will do the same if you walk away
Everyday it'll rain, rain, ra-a-a-ain

I Hope You Get Ants by Mondo Vaden (Performing as Mondo Millions)

Video Description:

The Background is a pansexual flag with 3 stripe colors, Pink, Blue, and Yellow hanging against a white wall. In front of this is Mondo Millions speaking orally to the camera, he signs periodically. He is a lightly melanated Black Drag King, with a beard, with short purple and brown twists, pulled into a half up style. He is wearing small silver hoop earrings, a silver chain necklace, a black jean jacket with multiple pins attached to the front 1."Free Angela" with a photo of Angela Davis, 2. the trans flag (which is tapped mid video by Mondo), 3. a Black Panther on a blue background, 4. a pronoun dial pin with "he", "she", "they", set to "He". This jacket is worn over a black shirt with some lettering in white visible ("Lightly Melanated Hella Black"). There is a pink tint to the whole video.

Video Transcript:

Where were you when Trayvon died in the streets?

Where were you when we asked you to meet

Us in the middle?

You weren’t there.

Acting like you don’t care

but I’m here to say

White supremacy never left and it’s still making us pay

And I’m mad

I’m mad when you say All Lives Matter

When you say you love every color in the rainbow but black is not a stripe that the whiteness of refraction uplifts

You cannot see us rise in the sky

When the darkest thing about it is the clouds that cry like we do.

A thousand tears and you can’t see us bleed like you do

Because you don’t.

You are happy. You are whole, and it’s hard to see what’s wrong if the only path you see is yours

It’s hard to see us on the ground dying if your eyes are fastened ahead on the light of capitalism because seeing the blood on the streets is SO DISTASTEFUL when you’d rather taste the richness of your privilege on your tongue.

We’re sick of this

Racism, this insidious thing

We had to wait for Loving Day before 2 shades could swap rings

We had to wait for 1865 before we were all free

And just in case you didn’t know, we CAN’T agree to disagree.

We’ve had to wait for the white moderate to stand up and say ENOUGH

To admit that YES they swapped shackles for handcuffs.

Jim Crow pushed us aside, redlining drew crooked lines

And to this day, our deaths still tragically happen by design

How can we be free when privilege bold behind a baton comes crashing down to break?

The news is a daily trauma and I don’t know how much more I can take.

I stand here in the wreckage wailing underneath this stoic calm.

Why are you having a picnic when there’s a lynching going on?

Silva's Performance: Freedom by Korian “Koko” DeMont Thomas

Koko Pussycat & Freedom Performance CC from Scott Braucht on Vimeo.

Video Description:

A description of Silva, a Black DeafBlind drag queen, wears a blue bob-style wig, salt-pepper beard, wears a black leather harness, a black-silver metal spike arm cuff with a belt, a flawless make-up with long lashes.

Video Transcription: 

Silva, left-head pose with left arm up towards Silva's head. Turns around to the camera. Left arm fiercely sign with growl face expression. "SILVA!" Turns around left from the camera