Home Institution

Williams College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


Black femme bodies face multi-axial oppressive forces resting on their racialization, gendering, sexuality and possible other factors like socioeconomic status and ability. I interviewed 3 queer-identified Black femmes between the ages of 18 and 35 that are based in or work out of the Cape Town area. Femmes is defined as trans womxn, nonbinary femmes, femme lesbians and femme bisexuals, effeminate mxn, or any other femme-identified queer person. The purpose of this project is to investigate the possibility of a liberated Black queer future as an embodied practice within the context of the Black Capetonian queer community. Participants were selected through a ‘snowballing’ method of sampling. The method I selected was one-on-one semi-structured interviews with 3 participants. The 3 participants described a synthesis of compassion and conversation coupled with drastic changes in how gender roles are normalized as methods for achieving a liberated Black queer future. Their embodied practices for achieving this liberation range from merely educating the individuals around them about queerness to curating healing-oriented spoken word spaces for queer subjects. Additional areas of research would include redoing this study with a more diverse population or, more generally, further investigation into Black queer futurity in Cape Town.


Africana Studies | African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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