Supper Club with Kickbaq

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On September 27th, Techartista hosted the launch of Kickbaq, a group dedicated to celebrating queer people of color in St. Louis, during their Supper Club dinner series.

The following is a message on Kickbaq’s founding by Britt Zuniga.

As a biracial Latinx queer person, launching Kickbaq came after years of identity struggle and closeted sexual and gender identity for the sake of ease and assimilation. Born to teen parents, my grandmothers played a significant role in raising me. As they are both immigrants to the United States, I was taught to be grateful for my space in this country and to do what is necessary to survive. Work hard and take less than you give was the mantra growing up.  While this mindset taught me a good work ethic, of which I am proud of, there was no room for creativity, self-exploration and certainly not queerness. I followed the path I was expected to live, became successful by conventional, capitalistic measurements and still, I was unhappy. Cripplingly depressed and unable to continue in my chosen career path in the non-profit world, I impulsively packed up my bags and moved to St. Louis.

St. Louis is where I searched, found and created myself. No longer bound to the watchful eyes of my family, I was able to try out different careers and explore my sexual and gender identity. My parents knew I was bisexual but we kept that secret from mi Abuela y Meine Oma. It wasn’t until I came out to my parents as non-binary that I felt the resistance of my queerness from family. I quickly learned the emotional attachment my family had to my long hair and feminine presentation. I learned I was allowed to be “a little gay” so long as I looked and performed as the cute little girl they all knew. Suddenly androgynous, my father could hardly look at me. Rather than a celebration of my journey, I was met with, “do you confuse yourself with all this gender and sexuality flip-flopping stuff”? My family means well and I consider myself a lucky queer to still be invited to family gatherings. But, I suddenly realized I don’t want to be at family gatherings. If I cannot be my truest self to my family, I will no longer participate. Thus, Kickbaq was born.

Kickbaq provides a safe space for queer people of color to celebrate every aspect of themselves. After talking with many QPOC friends in St. Louis, I discovered how many of us feel the need to compromise our racial identity to fit into the queer scene here. Similarly, closeting or minimizing our queerness is oftentimes necessary to fit into spaces dedicated to people of color. Kickbaq’s goal is to provide meals, self-care programming and act as a community of resource sharing at no cost to queer people of color.

The Supper Club event was a magical blend of old friends reconnecting and new friendships blooming. Many of our Kickbaq dinner guests have described feelings of “floating”, “glowing” and “rejuvenation” after that evening. This is no testament to me; this is the natural and inevitable beauty that comes from dreaming of safe and inclusive spaces. I believe in the power of storytelling and thus have shared my story here. My greatest hope is that Kickbaq can play a role in uplifting the stories and experiences of queer people of color so that we may have a seat at every table, not just the tables we assemble ourselves.

Supper Clubs is an invite-only dinner party series, in which TechArtista and partners curate a group of 20-30 people for a free-dinner party based on a common interest.  This is designed to facilitate connections and movement within or around a certain industry or area of focus, like local government, health, wellness, and special interests groups. Contact TechArtista if you’d like to coordinate a supper club dinner for your community.

Laura HeyingComment