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Living and Performing ‘Femme Queen Joy’

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Rosa Isabel Rayos, 28, is an Afro-Latina transgender rapper whose purpose is to make music that uplifts, helps and encourages Black transgender girls — together with, at occasions, herself.

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“Everyone who raps solely raps about what they know,” stated Ms. Rayos, who goes by Ms. Boogie when she performs. Her motive simply occurs to be very clear: to hook up with different trans individuals who want a reminder that they need to really feel security, love and pleasure.

“It’s crucial for me to middle my work round spreading that ‘femme queen pleasure,’” Ms. Rayos stated. “It looks as if the correct factor to do, to create on an emotional degree, to make the issues I wanted and proceed to wish to listen to. I’m gifting myself, too.”

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Black transgender girls dwell beneath such fixed menace of violence that the American Medical Affiliation declared the wave of murders of trans people last year an “epidemic.” “We’re on the very backside of the totem pole,” Ms. Rayos stated, “proper subsequent to the cisgender Black lady.”

Media protection of trans life is minimal and normally depicts tragedies that stem from harassment and discrimination. This makes the uncommon optimistic depictions of trans individuals all of the extra vital, in response to advocates for the trans group

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Steven Canals, a creator, director and government producer of “Pose” — a tv present concerning the L.G.B.T.Q. ballroom group in Nineteen Eighties New York Metropolis that features trans forged members — recalled being approached by two younger Black trans girls, who have been extras, in the future on set.

“One in all them grabbed my hand,” he stated. “With tears of their eyes, they have been like, ‘As a younger woman I had a need to be an actor however as a result of I’m Black and trans I at all times felt like that’s by no means going to occur for me. I let the dream go. Being right here on this set has allowed me to dream once more.’”

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Raquel Willis, a transgender activist and a former nationwide organizer of the Transgender Regulation Middle, additionally emphasised the significance of optimistic popular culture and media illustration for trans individuals.

“When you might have been so maligned and marginalized, you haven’t any selection however to think about a greater world or think about a fuller life as a result of you might have been compelled to seek out that in a few of the most tough circumstances,” Ms. Willis stated. “We have now to recreate ourselves, whether or not for ourselves or to navigate a world that it usually looks like different individuals have tried to create for us.”

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Born and raised within the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, Ms. Rayos started performing within the warehouse rave circuit in New York Metropolis six years in the past and located that she felt empowered onstage. She had beforehand walked in New York’s ballroom scene, and used that have to develop a definite physicality and presence that melded rap with ballroom. On the time, Ms. Rayos carried out beneath the title Jay Boogie.

As her reputation grew so did her success. She started touring to completely different cities and nations and was the topic of admiring profiles in Vice and different publications, however the life she was attending to expertise didn’t match how she felt.

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“I used to be in a really divisive place in my life,” Ms. Rayos stated. “I used to be torn.”

Performing supplied an outlet for her gender expression. “In some ways, earlier than, it felt like preparing for a efficiency and entering into the glamour was a possibility for me to really feel nearer to my womanhood,” she stated. “I might actually sit up for it.”

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In 2018, Ms. Rayos got here out publicly in a letter revealed in Paper Magazine, writing: “In a sensible world, I might be a ‘trans lady,’ however on this planet that I’ve constructed for myself and my family members, I’m merely myself.”

What adopted, onstage, was a change to an effervescent performer that Ms. Rayos conjured by mixing a little bit of her mom’s tenacity, a punch of Grace Jones’s confidence and several other spoonfuls of Cunning Brown’s Brooklyn pretty-girl aura.

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The intense self-assuredness she hopes to embody isn’t meant to masks the fact of the risks she and different trans individuals face disproportionately in america and around the globe, however to fly within the face of it. “My pleasure and willpower of self doesn’t exempt me from being focused in any method,” Ms. Rayos stated.

She does really feel an obligation to study the tales of different trans girls and to battle for them, she stated. However she can also be engaged on letting herself benefit from the second. She has a brand new single, “Fem Queen,” an upcoming album, and was just lately featured in Vogue Mexico.

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“I’m excited to only make issues and proceed to inform my story, to create extra and provides extra items to some queens,” Ms. Rayos stated.



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