Sex education should not be considered one size fits all. The realization that systemic racism affects even our most intimate perceptions of self dawned on writers Ella Frost and Nana Adae-Amoakoh in the fall of 2016, leading them to create Black Fly, a zine that adroitly focuses on sexual health and identity for POCs. This spring the duo published their first issue, and it’s packed not with anatomy diagrams and STD symptoms lists, but rather multimedia accounts from artists around the world on how sex manifests both positively and negatively in their lives. It’s an impressive collection of voices, and the submissions Frost and Adae-Amoakoh received from England to Virginia to Brazil suggest that there needs to be more publications in which POC sexuality is discussed.
Here are some of the Latinx artists and educators who Frost and Adae-Amoakoh tapped for Black Fly Zine’s first issue, as well as its upcoming workshop series starting on July 12th at Mexico City’s Anonymous Gallery, a follow up to a series the team hosted in February at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in partnership with the gal dem collective.
Best known for her mermaid alias Lia La Novia Sirena, García’s hauntingly soundtracked performances feature beautiful fins and aquatic features (venue permitting) that present the notion of a world beyond binary gender mapping. In her work, she transforms into a mermaid to explore their mythic status as harbinger of mankind’s doom, but also of transgression and creativity. García’s vocal work to this end is momentous, making connections between mermaid’s loss of vocal chords (remember Ariel’s voice-free seduction of Prince Eric? Muteness also affected the mermaids in Han Christen Anderson’s fairy tales) and the eventual vocal tell of their birth gender that trans people know all too well. For Black Fly, García will be taking a more didactic approach, hosting a corporeal methodology workshop on July 19th that will seek to communicate aspects of the trans experience in Mexico to participants via emotion.
This Veracruz-born beauty was recently signed to Mexico City’s full color modeling agency Guerxs, but it is in the photos he takes of himself where multitalented photographer Alan Balthazar’s true eleganza shines. For Black Fly Zine, he contributed a series of suggestive self portraits shot in his aesthetic, plant and cat filled apartment in Mexico City’s Juárez neighborhood — not coincidentally the site of his most frequent Grindr activity. Alan’s exposition of his Afro-Mexican body is an important clapback to the persistent falsehood that there are “no black people” in his country, and sex-forward focus of the images is a bold statement in a world driven by respectability politics.
Consider the power of your ass; such is the message of radical body educator Granado, a Brazilian-born baile funk dancer who is currently based in Mexico City. Jenny is an instructor at Punto Gozadera, the capital’s vegetarian feminist cultural center, where she teaches some of her classes on desculonización, her theory (reminiscent of Fannie Sosa’s twerkshops) that certain rhythms can be used to loose the grasp of colonialism. She’ll be bringing the course to the Black Fly Zine series on August 2nd. Granado is also an experimental film director, the founder of the Filmaralho collective, and took a trip earlier this year to the US-Mexico border in order to record a gleefully unsubtle message pertaining to Donald Trump and his offensive foreign policies.
Maite has long been a proponent of building power through frank discussion of sexuality — she was a core member of the Tijuana-based Chicana feminist web community Sad Girls Y Que, whose tens of thousands of followers were addicted to the group’s on point intersectional memes and resource sharing. Since the Sad Girls retired a few years ago, Maite’s been steadily building her career as a writer and musicjournalist, but did something a little different for Black Fly Zine’s first issue. She wrote a heartbreaking and at-times hilarious bilingual essay on her experiencing crossing the border to go to San Francisco for an abortion. Sample prose: “i can’t claim to be the first bloody person in a bloodied skirt making an appearance in the financial district, right?”
Bless the illustrators drawing us a better world, and bless Jovan Israel for his genderqueer cholo lovescapes, like the ones he contributed to Black Fly’s first issue. Jovan’s etchings have adorned everything from sexual health pamphlets distributed by the Mexico City government to flyers for the queer perreo party he created with his best friend La Mendoza, Mami Slut. But “Espinas y Rosas,” his recent debut solo show at Punto Gozadera, was not just hyper fashionable assemblages of kittens, chokers, shaved heads, fishnets, baseball hats, and individuals spanning the full range of the gender spectrum. What Jovan does is use his timely drawings to expresses preferences and hopes for the future that you won’t often see reflected in mainstream Mexican society.