QPOC and Dating

 

 

Dating can be complicated for many people, but especially for us as queer people of color (QPOC), for whom the process of meeting others to form uplifting and supportive relationships is complicated by the many intersections of our lives. The effects of racism, sexism, and other oppressions are highlighted and made glaringly apparent through dating and intimate encounters. The micro and macro aggressions that we experience at bars, on apps, in person, and online, leave lasting impressions on us as we seek to create and form connections. Our relationships should leave us feeling empowered and uplifted not damaged and disheartened. In our daily lives, we move through many spaces that deem whiteness as most desirable. These spaces are full of people unfamiliar with our unique experiences, which leads us to choose to spend time with those who share our same intersectional experiences, and who, at times aid in the understanding of our own selves.

 

The fear of being alone, and the desire of being wanted are very real experiences for QPOC living in a world that devalues us. Often times we allow people into our lives who are not the best for us, or keep connections with people for far longer than we other wise would due to those fears. However, when we are forming meaningful connections we  want to be critically aware of abusive or unhealthy habits that may be directed at us, such as gaslighting, deliberate lack of communication, cheating and passive aggression. We are better able to recognise when people may need to be let go from our lives when we acknowledge our fears and recognise the unhealthy or abusive habits a person may be displaying.

 

Being a queer person of color doesn’t magically absolve us from replicating oppression in our communities. The experiences of QPOC with the many different forms of violence and oppression around dating can become internalized by our communities.When dating, it is important that we look critically at how we perpetuate these systems through our actions and behaviors, and work to create spaces that allow us to openly communicate and process the many things that we, as QPOC, have experienced and internalized with our lovers, partners, and sweethearts. We do this by looking critically at ourselves for places where we have internalized and replicated oppression and then work to break down those behaviors and beliefs. We must also cultivate the ability to recognize when we have caused harm to others and earnestly and openly acknowledge that harm. Don’t wait for other community members to point out places where we can do work, but when they do, be open to receiving and internalizing feedback. No one is perfect, and as QPOC raised in a racist, sexist, violent, and oppressive world, learning to undo the internalizations is ongoing process.

 

Additionally, we want to ensure that we are not looking to individuals we share connections with to be our therapists or doctors. This creates a system where we are passing the energy of oppression from one person to another allowing it to stay in our communities and grow. Instead let’s work to build habits that allow us to talk openly and honestly with our loved ones while moving that energy out of our communities, and leave space for our partners, lovers, paramours and ourselves to grow and heal from trauma. We can start by asking the people we are close with if they are in a place where they can hear and help us process, and leaving room and space for them to tell us no, by recognising when we need and feeling empowered to tell those close to us when we are not in a space to help them process their experiences, ensuring there is a balance where we talk with others not just about our struggles but also our successes and the light within us, and share healing resources, such as competent therapist, or counselors, with each other. Our relationships, however they are structured, should feel empowering and fulfilling for every person involved.

 

 

To read more content like this, or to learn about our upcoming events follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

3 (Free) Steps to Increase Your Cyber Security Protection

By Jae Lin

For many of us, an ever-growing portion of our lives is online these days. The internet is often a place of connection and solidarity. Sometimes, it’s the first place we really find community as queer and trans people of color. The internet provides information, content, and discourse that is relevant and updated in a way that can’t be found in many other forms of media.

However, with this increase of engagement and data comes an increase in vulnerability. Online harassment, account hacks and takeovers, and generally harmful behavior has proliferated alongside the expansion of the internet into our lives. Particularly as queer people of color who are often activists, organizers, or simply called to defend our very existence online, our presence may be targeted as a group or specifically as an individual by those who are resentful of our resilience.

You deserve to exist in online spaces without having your privacy and personal information violated. As with many things, prevention is the most effective tool for increasing your cyber security. It can be exceedingly stressful to feel vulnerable or violated, but at the same time internet security can seem very daunting and intimidating. You don’t have to take it on all at once. Here are three free and relatively straightforward steps you can start working on today to immediately enhance your safety and security online.

Avoid Logging in Via Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc

When making a new account on certain platforms, you may have noticed that there is often an option to “Login with Facebook” or Google or any other widely used platform. While it may seem convenient and quick, this often requires you to accept many permissions that hands over data on your profile, personal information, posts, and sometimes even private messages.

Instead, sign up with a unique login and password for every account you create or manage. The challenge is, however, remembering so many unique and secure passwords, which brings us to our next point.

Use a Password Manager

Using the same (or variations of the same few) passwords creates a huge vulnerability for your online profiles and accounts. If any one of your accounts get compromised, that security breach spreads to all accounts that share that password or login.

Password managers allow you to use highly secure and diverse passwords for all of your accounts because they store all of your unique passwords and account logins in a virtual vault with enhanced security. As a result, you only need to remember you master password to the password manager, which you can make extra secure. (We recommend using a passphrase that includes many words and characters.)

Not only does using a password manager make your accounts more secure, it also makes accessing them more convenient. No more repeatedly failed password attempts trying to remember password variations; most password managers include extensions that will fill in your login information automatically (once you’ve signed in with your master password). And if you don’t like the feeling of putting all your crucial login information in one basket, you can use multiple services, or keep some vital accounts (like bank or work logins) individually remembered.

There are many free password managers that can help you bolster your cyber security like LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

Enable Two Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication (2FA) refers to using two separate levels of security to unlock an account, usually a combination “something you know and something you have.” A password would be the “something you know;” the “something you have” can be a multitude of different things but these days is most commonly your cell phone. For example, some accounts will text you a code after you enter the correct password. This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts and you should use 2FA whenever you can. Even if someone discovers your password, they would also need to obtain your cell phone in order to log in if you have 2FA enabled.

These three things just scratch the surface of cyber security, but they are relatively accessible and free. It is powerful to take your internet security back into your own hands, knowing that there are steps you can take to protect yourself.