Front Page NewsLocal NewsPride 2021

A Forum for TQLGB+ Communities of Color

The Mahogany Project’s livestreamed “We Got Pride” series seeks to educate and empower.

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Members of The Mahogany Project, Inc. (courtesy photo).

To uplift TQLGB+ communities of color, The Mahogany Project Inc. (TMP, Inc.) has organized a series of inspiring livestreamed panels, interviews, and conversations that audiences can join and learn from. The “We Got Pride” virtual series runs June 22 through July 15 on TMP’s Facebook Live. 

TMP, Inc. was founded in 2017 by activist Verniss McFarland III after the death of Chyna Gibson, a Black woman of trans experience and a cherished local performer. McFarland III created the group to reduce social isolation, stigma, and social injustice in TQLGB+ communities of color. 

To further that mission, the local nonprofit has created virtual spaces where healthy and positive community dialogue can occur. 

Event coordinator Darrien Dyrell, who uses they/them pronouns, says, “Online, queer individuals face so many negative conversations. This was our way of creating healthy conversations surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community in the digital space.” 

“We Got Pride” will kick off with “Forty(plus) and Fab!” The event allows trans people who are at least 40 years old to talk about becoming middle-aged. Dyrell says this conversation is important because the lives of so many Black trans women are cut short due to overlapping forms of oppression.

On June 24, audiences can attend the “LGBT Youth Town Hall” discussion. Dyrell is especially looking forward to this event because it is an opportunity to better understand what youth in the LGBTQIA+ community need so organizations like TMP, Inc. can create spaces where they can prosper.  

“Since we are a service to the community, I want to hear from the community about what exactly they need, and what ways we could serve them with the work we’re doing in this world,” they explain. “It’s important to ask the youth in the community, ‘What do you need from the community?’ instead of coming up with things we believe they need.”

Audiences can join conversations and witness demonstrations about queer sex in TMP, Inc.’s “Sex Ed. 101” on June 29. The event was designed to promote HIV/AIDS awareness with talks about not only PrEP, condoms, and safety measures, but also about pleasure.

During the “Player 1: Gaymer” event on July 1, people can learn from and contribute to dialogue with queer people in the gaming community, which often ignores the perspectives and needs of LGBTQIA+ gamers. 

TMP, Inc.’s “We Got Each Other” event on July 6 will allow people to discuss the prevalence of addiction in the LGBTQIA+ community. “We wanted to make sure we had a safe space to invite people to open up about addiction and sobriety,” Dyrell says. 

The third-to-last event, “This Is Us” on July 8, sets the stage for conversations with people who are sexually attracted to trans people—for example, straight men who are attracted to trans women. Dyrell says this conversation was created to educate and end stigma.

Folks can attend “‘Guy Chat’: Queer Men Edition” on July 13 to better understand and express what it means to be both a man and a member of the TQLGB+ community.

The virtual series will finish with a variety show designed to highlight local queer creatives such as poets, rappers, and makeup artists. The event will also present the Rising Phoenix Award to a young person who has contributed to and made their mark in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Dyrell hopes people recognize the amount of effort that TMP, Inc. has put into creating “We Got Pride.” They also hope attendees leave the series with a better understanding of issues in TQLGB+ communities of color. “We are very intentional about all the work that we put out into this world, and we are striving toward a safe place for the LGBTQIA+ community.” 

For more information, visit themahoganyproject.org/ and facebook.com/TMPHTX.

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Lillian Hoang

Lillian Hoang is a staff reporter for OutSmart Magazine. She graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in journalism and minor in Asian American studies. She works as a College of Education communication assistant and hopes to become an editor-in-chief.
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