“Kòktèl” and the Diversity of Masculinity by Zarita Zevallos

We’re RONIEBOND.COM a beauty, style and culture community from London. Every once in a while, we tell the stories of the international girlsdem. Here’s Zarita Zevallos, a Haitian Photographer based in New York.

Her project Kòktèl focuses on the diversity of masculinity and in this particular piece, she speaks to transmen about their identity. In a world where poisonous leaders consistently seek to threaten and divide identities, preaching hate and inequality, it’s more important than ever to amplify the voices of suppressed groups.

Kòktèl (cocktail in Haitian Creole) is about exploring the diversity of masculinity. When you think of a cocktail it brings the idea of colour, flavour and the experience of different elements blended together for a tasteful experience. I wanted to visually express that with colours and movement. The thread bending, crossing and extending around and over his body sometimes expresses the turmoil in which different men find themselves, other times it represents the way men spin the web of their individuality. Who am I to speak on behalf of a gender that I do not identify as, therefore I let those who do, speak.

Don’t deny them of freedom because they are different than you:

“I feel like there’s a lot of violence attached to hypermasculinity. I am a black queer cis-man, and I had an uncle tell me as kid, that if anyone [of us] was gay, he’d beat you. When you hear that, you develop shame for yourself, you internalise homophobia; you are silenced in your house. It’s ironic that it happens in the home that reminds you how much you’re loved.” – Axandre, 29

We’re all fighting for the same things; freedom and equality under the umbrella of human rights.

“As a Black Man of Transition, I say this instead of Black Transman because I identify as a man: being transgender is simply a part of that identity just like in addition to me being 5’8”, tatted, having long hair, etc. Yes I identity as both a Black man and as a Black Transman for transgender advocacy purposes but that’s not all that I am so I prefer to be known as a simply a man of transition.

I mean after all all humans are in transition.

Due to all parts of my whole I am often confronted with this ideology of not being perceived or respected as a man and or not being included in the black fight for equality simply because I am a man of transition. It troubles me that often the black community is unable to accept persons of difference especially when it comes to people in the LGBTQI community when we’re all fighting for the same things; freedom and equality under the umbrella of human rights.

This is something I grapple over daily because the black community cannot progress and get the rights that ALL BLACK PEOPLE deserve if LGBTQI persons are not respected as crucial members of the fight. Take for example PRIDE events : a lot of black people are ignorant to the fact that it’s actually a celebration of black history just as much as it is about a person’s gender/sexuality freedom. If it weren’t for Black Transwomen there would be no PRIDE celebrations across the nation as they were the ones who fought the police and risked their lives for the freedom of LGBTQI persons but indeed this is a crucial part of black history as well, that is not noted or mentioned simply because of the identity.

The black community often refuses to accept the true identities of even prominent Black writers and authors such as Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde, etc. because there is a notion that what they did for the black community is more significant then their sexuality when indeed it’s both very relevant for why they felt the need to be authentic and share their stories with the world. ” – Sir Knight, 29 (@BlackTransTV)

Words by Zarita.

You can view her visual project here infi-nerdy.com/koktel

Follow Zarita on Instagram @infi_nerdy_/

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We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Zarita for reaching out and sharing her work and story with us and we urge you to do the same. Email us, info@roniebond.com. #InternationalGirlCrew

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