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  • Writer's pictureJenia Browne

A Bit About Me, Summer Preparations, and Research Topics

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

I have always wanted to have a blog. I have a million things to say and nowhere to put any of it. But after working on this blog for a class final, and deciding to sign up for a research practicum, I figured it was the perfect time.


Now, a bit about me: I have always loved being Black, and I have always loved being queer. I am a non-binary lesbian. I am also a Black woman. An unusual distinction to some, but I live, breathe, eat, sleep, and speak as a Black woman. But I myself do not feel comfortable in western confines of womanhood and femininity. Being non-binary gives me the space to breathe comfortably and explore who I truly am - whether that is masculine, gender neutral, or hyper-feminine.


Identifying as a lesbian has ignited fire in me. I love being a lesbian. I love meeting other lesbians, finding community with other lesbians, saying the word lesbian. Too often, it's a dirty word. You're expected to simply say "gay," or finagle another way around it. But I am a lesbian. And I am infinitely proud of it, and everyday I am thankful to be apart of the LGBTQ+ community.


Being Black has obviously defined my life. Growing up in predominantly white, right-winged areas, it was hard to celebrate. There was no Black Student Union at my high school. In fact, there was only about 80 Black students in my graduating class of 575. Although Northeastern is a PWI, I have found so much solace in Black communities on campus. I am in love with everything to do with Blackness. Its variances and the uniqueness within it. There is truly no single Black experience, but there is a deep-rooted, possibly ancestral, connectedness between Black people. To feel it is to feel belonging. It's to feel understood and loved. I had never felt as heard and loved as when I read Audre Lorde, or bell hooks. I seek that feeling whenever I find new books by Black women or queer folk. There is a level of understanding that could never be replicated otherwise.


Now that we know a bit about me, it's time to get to this research project. I am excited, and I am scared, and I am grateful. I am excited to continue research work and writing research papers, as it is my favorite part of college and my academic experiences in general. I deeply enjoy learning everything I can about a topic and being able to tell everyone I know about it. The skill involved in cutting down hours up hours of research into 10-15 pages is exhausting and exhilarating. Even better when you get to present and display your work, to inspire and teach others and see the fruits of your labor.


I am scared because, in short, research is scary. I am frightened of getting something wrong. Of messing up a quote or citing an unreliable source. Of losing touch and having a messy topic. Losing sight of my goal. Procrastinating. Falling into the executive functioning traps laid by my ADHD. But in the end all of the struggle is worth the final product. Or at least that's I'll tell myself.


I am grateful because most undergraduates don't get to do projects like this. I am grateful for everything and everyone that led me here. I am grateful to Dr. Régine for not only mentoring me through this process, but for being an amazing professor (twice!). I feel like something truly great will come from this.


Finally, I'd like to share my EXTREMELY rough ideas I've been workshopping for this research practicum:

  • Self-Expression and Identification in the Black, Queer Community

  • Black Lesbian Identities, Expressions and Communities

  • Black, Queer Literature as a Rebellious Practice

  • The Transformation of Black Queerness in TV and Film

  • Gender Queer Identites in the African Diaspora

  • Access to Healthcare in Black Queer Communities

  • Where did We Go? Colorism in Media and Film

  • The History of the Black Queer Community and the Dyke March

I have no idea what I'll choose, and if it'lI even be on this list, but I can't wait to find out.


Signing off -

Jenia

 






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