Atlanta LGBTQ+ Couples Featured In Jamal Jordan’s ‘Queer Love In Color’
“How can you believe in something you’ve never seen?”
It’s a question that plagued a young Jamal Jordan during his formative years in Mobile, Alabama as he acknowledged his same-sex attraction as the thing that made him different from some of the other boys in the Gulf Coast community that he called home. The something that he’d never seen was queer couples of color. It would be decades after a young Jordan’s initial realization of the erasure of Black LGBTQ+ couples in mainstream media that the adult journalist would take control of the narrative in a viral story for The New York Times, and the subsequent book by the same title.
Released in May 2021 by Ten Speed Press, Queer Love in Color features photographs and stories of couples and families across the United States, Canada, and South Africa. The collection offers an intimate look at what it means to live at the intersections of queer and POC identities today.
“I traveled tens of thousands of miles across the world to meet queer couples and families of color for this project,” writes Jordan in Queer Love In Color. “Their stories range widely, but one thing kept coming up. The feeling that on some level, finding love, felt impossible.”
Atlanta was one of several cities that Jordan visited, ultimately interviewing five local couples that made it into print. The Reckoning was able to connect with two of the couples. Jordan’s book opens with a somber reflection from Aimee, an Atlanta Black lesbian who appears with her wife Denecia, (Jordan’s couples are only identified by their first names in the book), in a moment that reinforces the need for Queer Love in Color to exist.
“I never saw Black queer people as objects of desire,” Aimee tells Jordan.
“I never thought that someone would want to love me or someone who looked like me. I thought for a very long time that my only hope in finding companionship was to convince a white person to love me,” she says.
Aimee’s reflection isn’t hyperbole. But one that is likely to resonate with many queer couples of color who are severely underrepresented in media compared to their white counterparts.
The visibility of queer people of color is especially important for queer youth, as Jordan notes in an interview with PBS News Hour.
“I don't think that I'm overstating it and saying that for a lot of people, particularly younger people, it can really be a matter of life or death,” says Jordan.
“In tying the stories in the book together, I learned just how common it was for the people in it to feel they'd grown up and never heard a positive thing about being a queer person of color or actively had people tell them that they had less value, their love would be impossible. And I think that there's such a radicalizing power of being able to say, look, there are people like you. They exist all over the world,” he says.
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