Poet using spoken, written word to provide hope and understanding

An Austin poet and author is on a mission to use spoken and written word to bring awareness to the Black queer community during the month of June for Pride Month.

A 2015 study from Trans Equality shows Black LGBTQ community members were eight times more likely to experience mental health struggles.

It’s because of those struggles, KB, who identifies as non-binary, says it’s even more crucial these days to have things like gardening as a way to address and care for their mental health.

"A little tomato is growing. It's been raining so we haven’t had to water a lot," KB says, showing off their backyard box gardens built by their partner. "Yeah it's really awesome to come out here everyday and kind of like see something new growing."


It’s a form of soul therapy as KB takes up the work as a poet and leader in the queer community.

"I’m a Black, queer, non-binary miracle meaning like, there’s so much in the world that is against, who I am at the core, but I’m here and so I’m happy to be here and I try to stay in the joy," KB says.

Inside their home office, KB works on thor new book about their journey as a queer Black person.

"I write a lot about blackness, being Black in America and specifically being Black in Austin, Texas," KB explains. "I write a lot about queerness about trans-ness, a lot about all of all things existing at the same time."

Existing is part of a difficult story KB is on a mission to share about the struggles and wins as a non-binary person of color.

"So much of at least my life has been like hitting on top of glass ceilings and just being told well, this is just what you got to do, to get to this place, but what if it wasn’t?" KB said.

Every keystroke is one word, one letter closer to being seen.

"Yeah I have the "zine" out now it’s for sale, it’s called ‘A New Relationship to Pain’ I have a couple of poems just about gender," KB says about their self-published mini-magazine filled with poems.

"It’s called, ‘How do identify yourself with a wound’" KB says as they prepare to recite part of the poem. "I am a woman only under certain conditions, when needing a hand moving furniture, ladies' night at the poorly lit bar when the bouncer touches my lower back…."


They’re words of vulnerability, something KB says is necessary for understanding and acceptance.

"I'm leaning into vulnerability and specific stuff leads to more universal understanding," KB said.

It’s a way to show they too are on this human journey called life.

KB was recently named a Pen America Fellow to continue their poetry work.

They also head up Embrace Austin, an organization helping build bridges between the queer community for economic development.