We Dream a World: Black & Queer in Milwaukee [The Root]
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
How do we access joy, I wondered, if we aren’t consistently dreaming about it and making portals for its existence in our lives?
I was curious about how other Black, queer Milwaukeeans create community. So I arranged a brunch at my house with two people I adore: Lynnae, a 39-year-old teacher from the Midwest, and her best friend, Kwame*, a queer 33-year-old doctor and Milwaukee native I’ve come to know better through thrift shopping—and later, salmon BLT sandwiches from our favorite restaurant.
Over plates of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sautéed spinach, and cherries, I asked them what it means to them to be queer, bisexual, black and professional in Milwaukee.
Charmaine: How do you all find community here in Milwaukee?
Lynnae: I come to your house and invite people over for food. But I don’t have a place that I go, where I like to mingle with people. I was going to the gym pretty regularly, but I didn’t make the effort to meet people or to expand the relationship beyond, “I recognize you, you’re the grunting guy.”
Kwame: How Charmaine has formed community [here] is pretty impressive for me, here in Milwaukee. The first time I came over here, I was like, ‘Look at all these beautiful black people.’ I can sense that there’s some queerness here, but everyone’s definitely not queer. But it’s queer-comfortable. If someone from California came and did this, did that here in my city, what am I doing wrong?