While every month is an opportunity to uplift the history and voices of Black people, Black History Month specifically gives us time to refocus on the history of Black people and celebrate Black brilliance.
In the colorful LGBTQ community, historical and contemporary Black leaders risk everything to create change, often times without recognition for how they have shaped history. This month, we invite you to learn about inspirational Black leaders and celebrate the excellence of our growing leaders within the community of Point scholars.
1. Star Udenze (she/they), Riverside City College, Nursing
Star struggled to come to terms with her sexuality since she was 11 years old, growing up in a religious home with immigrant parents. She feels this has taught her a lot about herself and pushed her to create safe spaces for the LGBT community ever since. By the time she reached high school, Star was fully out to her school and immediately began supporting the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and creating events to showcase LGBT youth for the first time in the district. The GSA also worked to normalize remembering LGBT history by creating chalk murals every month to showcase past contributions erased by history. Star’s biggest project was the Seed’s Showcase which featured the art, spoken word and talents of the LGBT community and which is now a tradition for her high school GSA.
Although she lost friends and risked being outed to their homophobic parents, Star managed to safely make it into college to pursue nursing and art so she can work to address the disparities in healthcare the LGBT community faces every day. Star says that being a part of the Point Foundation is what will truly help her make this possible.
2. Xoë Sazzle (she/her), Columbia University, Women's & Gender Studies
Xoë Sazzle is an artist, activist, communicator, digital dreamer, contemporary collaborator, and a Caribbean queen. Her activism for the past seven years in Trinidad has included performing as drag queen Mizz Jinnay and creating safe spaces for queer people. She also creates contemporary queer Caribbean culture and ensures continued representation of the LGBT+ community across all spheres of new media. Through her artistry with Mizz Jinnay, she created queer musical anthems that have spread far and wide across Trinidad and the Caribbean diaspora. The respect and admiration amongst the local community enabled her to make the transition into more formal roles of activism. She currently serves as co-chair of PrideTT, an organization that galvanized the first public Pride parade in 2018. She also serves as the Community Liaison Officer for the Trinidad and Tobago Transgender Coalition.
Xoë plans on leveraging her ivy league education to further the work of improving conditions and bolstering community resources for trans people in Trinidad and Tobago. Legislation is needed for gender markers, thereby enabling our trans population to integrate smoothly into society and gain more equitable access to employment, healthcare and social services. Xoe wants to develop fun activities for the trans community, in liberated spaces where the community can exercise their minds and bodies.
3. Kelvin Moore (he/him), University of California, San Francisco, Medicine
Kelvin has lived many places, but considers Kingstree, South Carolina home, as it holds generations of familial history and serves as his primary place of formative growth. Moving through this small town as a Black gay child, he experienced a great deal of bullying. Stifled by the social intersections of queerphobia and anti-Black racism, Kelvin found escape through his studies.
In the fall 2015, Kelvin entered Brown University as a Public Health and Biology major with a particular interest in the humanist and social justice aspects of medicine. While at Brown, Kelvin served as an LGBTQ sexual health advocate and spent much of his time investigating social barriers to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake in LGBTQ youth. Of note, he partnered with faculty at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and published several findings on how the lack of confidentiality protections under a parent’s insurance policy negatively impacts LGBTQ youth’s willingness to take PrEP. During this time, Kelvin learned many invaluable lessons; most important, he learned that there exists great power in focusing on human narratives when encountering and examining the total health of an individual.
Following the completion of his undergraduate studies in 2019, Kelvin gained employment as a Clinical Research Coordinator working on several clinical trials with an emphasis on improving preventative HIV care for queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) living in San Francisco. As an incoming medical student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine for fall 2021 admission, he plans to continue centering QTPOC health in his medical studies and advocacy.