Adrienne Maree Brown once wrote that “pleasure is a measure of freedom,” and we like to think of the guests in this episode as Pleasure Activists! In “Pleasure (Re)Defined” we explore the politics of pleasure, pushing back against the cis-het “standard” of what is acceptable, and redefining what pleasure and desire look like for these individuals. Ericka Hart takes you through her “fucking curriculum,” and Devin Michael Lowe & Morticia Godiva share how polyamory gives them fireworks! We also asked the community about their pleasures, and their responses are everything! Special thanks to our community members for participating!
Part 1 - Ericka Hart: 3:00
Part 2 - Morticia Godiva & Devin Michael Lowe: 20:12
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*Show Notes and guest bios available at www.letsgetbacktoqueer.com
Mentioned During Show:
“Black women have a 31%* breast cancer mortality rate” - source
*= According to the CDC, During 2010–2014, breast cancer mortality was 41% higher among black women than white women. - source
Ericka Hart M.Ed., D/s (she/they) is a black queer femme activist, writer, highly acclaimed speaker and award-winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Her work broke ground when she went topless showing her double mastectomy scars in public in 2016. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University's School of Social Work and misses Whitney more than you.
Morticia Godiva (Her/Shey, like the chocolate!) is an artist residing in the Bronx. Since moving from Florida, she has been working creatively in NYC. Godiva wrote, produced, and starred in her first film, “Feeling Like an Orchid”; the film tells a colorful tale around a polyamorous relationship. This past Spring, she released a film titled "Boomerang"; the experimental film is an Ode to Fem Queens. This August, Long Wharf Theatre is set to produce “Poly Pockets”, an Afro-futuristic play that Godiva wrote. In addition to the arts, Morticia serves as the Director of Client Services for the Black Trans Travel Fund; a black trans led collective that redistributes wealth to Black trans women all over the world.
Devin Michael Lowe (He/They) is a community organizer invested in the liberation of Black and trans people from the constraints of capitalism, white supremacy, and cis-hetero-patriarchy. He holds a passion for moving resources to his community and is committed to helping to create a world where Black trans people are not just seen, but respected, protected, supported, and valued. With an understanding of the need to center the most marginalized, and for trans masculine people to be working in communal solidarity to support Black trans women, Devin is the founder and current Executive Director for the Black Trans Travel Fund.
Brandon: So...I wrote a poem for y’all, it’s a haiku or whatever. Y’all wanna hear it? It’s called Pleasure Redefined.
To dance in orbit
Around lavender kissed words
And cocoa brown skin
Now, let’s get back to queer.
[Let Get’s Back To Queer theme music by Byrell the Great]
Brandon: Welc-, I can’t even get it out, that’s how corny it is. Welcome to Let’s Get Back To Queer, a podcast that aims to hit that g-spot in your mind, that was so corny... I’m your host Brandon Nick.
Brandon: Last year, I read Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown, shoutout to AMB, the book is pretty amazing. If you haven’t, I recommend you do yourself a favor and get into it. As she describes in the book, pleasure activism is the work we do to reclaim our whole, happy, and satisfiable selves from the impacts, delusions, and limitations of oppression and or white supremacy. For me, it explores the ways that we can use pleasure as a compass to navigate life.
Quick story, I was gifted her first book Emergent Strategy, which you should also check out, the weekend before Pleasure Activism was released. I found her twitter and saw she released Pleasure Activism, went to Strand to buy the book on Tuesday, found out she was doing a book reading at Bluestockings on Thursday and rushed over there after work. Bluestockings was PACKED bewts, like, I was standing right outside the entrance door listening in as hard as I could. I found an interview she did with The Laura Flanders show where she reads an excerpt from the book, The Uses of the Erotic by Audre Lorde.
[Clip: AMB interview at Bluestocking]
This book really helped me gain new understandings of pleasure and language for my desires in life. That’s what today’s episode is about, people who redefined what pleasure looks like for them while discovering and exploring their desires. Later we’ll hear from a fairy tale couple made real. But first, a look at titties.
Part One - Ericka Hart
If you google “double mastectomy” and search the images you’re more than likely gonna see white women. But if you do see any Black woman, chances are one of them is Ericka Hart. Many moons ago, the world was gagged by a photo that went wildly viral of her going topless at Afropunk. The cause of all the gaggage, and the reason this photo went so viral, were the noticeable scars across her breast. I sat with Ericka Hart to talk about how she’s reclaimed her body and defined sexiness.
Brandon Nick: When do you feel sexiest?
Ericka Hart: Um, I've been thinking about this question a lot. When do I feel sexiest? Probably when sheets are clean and they're on the bed and I've just taken a shower and I get in the bed naked. Um, anytime I'm twerking, um, whether it be good or bad, but whatever I call twerking, whatever my body is doing when it is gyrating, um, I feel sexy.
Brandon: Ericka is breast cancer survivor and a very respected sex educator who knows what she’s talking about and what she’s doing. She approaches sex education from two truths. That gender and sexuality are fluid, because they are. And that Black women and marginalized bodies have historically been a site of violence in the medical world, which we also know is true. But before she was the Google of sex, she was a young child who was just discovering the touch of her hand.
Hart: When I discovered masturbation, uh, and I discovered it very, very young and I didn't know what it was. Um, so it was like around the time that I discovered porn and me and my like neighbors would like essentially masturbate together, almost like a circle jerk, but like kids. But that was the first time and it was innocent. We did it in complete secret. We didn't know what we were doing. Um, but we knew it felt good and that was it.
Brandon: And she continued secretly masterbating until she realized that someone had found out… Her auntie had a bible that sat out in her home. It was one of those dual sided bibles, where one side was the good word, and the other was a simplified translation, like an Old Testament for Dummies. Ericka’s auntie would occasionally have her read this bible. And this one day she does.
Hart: And on, on the layman's term side it said masturbation is wrong. And I was like, shit, Jesus is speaking to me, is telling me that I have to stop. And that was literally the first time that I was like, this is wrong. Like I really felt like Jesus can see me and now I should no longer be doing this because it's wrong. It's in the Bible. I shouldn't do it.
Brandon: Did you stop?
Hart: Hell No! You know what I would do? I would pray. I would pray afterwards. Like, please God, I don’t wanna go to hell!
Brandon Nick: When she was older she attended an abstinence-only school. And even though she was still masturbating, she knew very little about sex, but she knew it was happening aroung her. She wanted answers.
Hart: The teacher won't talk about sex and I don't understand why, um, we all thought that she had a vibrator in her desk. And, um, we would walk into the class and she had the, the, um, the Blackboard outside of it. That was like, what is sex? It was like in the hallway and it was like this anticipation of what is about to happen in this classroom that's different from our math classroom, our science classroom. She was like, so we're going to talk about sex today and all I have to say is that you're not going to have it until you get married. And I was just like, well, we don't know what it is. And this was around the time of AOL dial-up. It like literally just came out.
So I just would Google things and I would ask people questions and I would be in chat rooms and I would just watch people's dialogue and then my friends were having sex and I was like, well, nobody is talking to them about what they're going through, they’re talking to me.
Brandon: And the more they talked to her, the more and more interested she got in learning about sex. In high school, she became her friend's personal ask jeeves, like a Black Dr. Ruth. And one night, she got a call that would put her knowledge and expertise to the test.
Hart: Like my best friend's mom put me on the phone when she was screaming at her daughter about not going on birth control and I had to convince her mom to let her go on birth control and I was like 13. And from there, like from high school, I've just said, you know, I wanna, I wanna I want to either teach sex ed or be a sex therapist. And I think for a long time I said I want it to be a sex therapist because I was, I loved Oprah. So I was like, I want to be the Oprah for sex.
You get a dildo, you get a dildo, you get a vibrator, you get it! I would love that. Like I want people to come on my show, be confused and get their life because I answered their questions.
Brandon: Fast forward to 2014. She’s a 20-something living paycheck to paycheck while in grad school. Newly engaged and planning her wedding with her soon-to-be-white-wife. Later that year she finds out she has bilateral breast cancer, which means they found it in both breasts. Picture it, going to get fitted for your wedding gown with surgical drains sticking out from your breasts. That was Ericka’s reality, planning a wedding as a newly diagnosed cancer patient. It’s worth mentioning that Black women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any ethnic group in the US. So there was a lot on her plate, and her mind. But it was in those still moments during treatment that she was able to be reflective.
Hart: Well literally in chemotherapy you just sit, there's nothing else to do. You can, you can watch TV, you can read a book. And I loved watching TV, like Regis and Kelly. My thing was always in the morning, so like 9:00 AM I would just watch Regis and Kelly. And it, you, you, I would try to go somewhere else, but I still had a lot to think about. Like, who is this person that I'm with, that argument that we had so long ago, what happened to that or you know, I don't really feel happy, so, so much sitting and thinking and being sedentary that when I finished chemo it was almost like a out of a coma.
Brandon: The complications surrounding how Ericka and her wife navigated her illness and disability took a toll. A year and a half into being married, they divorced. Ericka no longer wanted to live in a world where her illness felt like a barrier for connection and interaction. She also no longer wanted to be with a white person.
Hart: Like, I'm no longer on airplane mode and I don't want to be here anymore. This all feels strange. Um, it feels strange to be with a white person. Like it was almost like, um, like at Ebony, my partner now says your soul returned.
I can't say that I didn't have on Black and I'm proud when I was going through breast cancer, but I feel like it wasn't as celebratory as it is now. Like, I feel like there is a lot of internalized anti-Blackness that I've had to undo over time that again, when that soul returned, it was like, where the hell you been? Like okay, we're back.
Brandon: Black in action, Ericka was redefining what pleasure and joy looked like for her. During all of this, she’d been working as a sex educator.
Hart: As a sex educator, I've always been here for Vulvas and vaginas. And breasts, not so much. Like I've, I've never been really connected to my breasts. So there wasn't really a moment to mourn anything.
I think now as somebody who wants to have children, there is a mourning of the fact that I won't be able to breastfeed. I want to fucking whip my titty out and do that. And make the world uncomfortable so my child gets nourishment. Like that is something that I deeply want to share that experience. And it's sad for me that I won't be able to.
Brandon: Cancer had taken more than her breast. The possibility of being able to breastfeed was just one of the things she was mourning. Because of cancer, her libido dropped and she’s almost completely lost her sex drive.
Hart: So sex was something that was very important and I started to feel like fatigue and tired, um, and not sexy. And I was like, that's so strange. I think I tried to masturbate with maybe like a magic wand or like a bullet vibrator or something and I just wasn't feeling it, which is bizarre because I fucking love a magic wand. But it just wouldn't come. I just didn't know, no pun intended *laughs* or pun intended.
Brandon: Typically when someone is in chemotherapy, the oncologist gives you a thick ass stack of papers with side effects detailing what can happen to your body while you’re in chemo. Things like bone loss or potential infertility. But Ericka wasn’t seeing anything in her packet about her lack of sex drive. So what’d she do?
Hart: Back to the internet again. It was like chemotherapy can lower your libido. So I went to my doctor, my oncologist, I think I texted my oncologist cause we text. I was like you have to tell every patient this. You know, you have to tell them that there could be vaginal dryness, um, loss or lack of libido, um, fatigue. Like just, just a lot of things that are related to your sexual self if you wish to be. Like, we need to know that those things may change, you know. And that our bodies will change because this is a, you know, a treatment that is designed to kill almost every cell in your body. So it can pinpoint cancer, but it's not like, Oh, there's the cancer. Let me get it. It's every cell. So any cell that was there to produce lubrication, your vaginal walls doing that, it's not going to do it anymore.
Brandon: And so Ericka, aka the Oprah of Sex, figured if doctors weren’t going to inform breast cancer patients about these issues, that she would. That she’d take matters into her own hands.
Hart: So I created a whole fucking curriculum for people living with cancer to experience pleasure, um, pre-diagnosis and when they're going through treatment and post diagnosis cause there's so many changes to the body throughout that time.
Brandon: And in this fucking curriculum?
Hart: A big one is like to mourn what has happened and to discuss it, go to therapy. Like deal with like the emotional aspect of it. Don't try to skip over that.
Kink is a big aspect of that. So finding ways to heal through pain, um, breast cancer or any type of cancer can be very painful. And what I say is non consensually and, and obviously you give doctor's consent and there's, you know, painkillers and all this stuff. But none of that is fun pain. So like being spanked or being flogged or maybe even being punched in fatty areas on your body feels really good to reclaim the pain that you went through.
Brandon: She also recommends lube. LOTS of lube. And trying sex toys. Another tip, trusting someone enough to submit to them.
Hart: A good thing to know is that the sub is always, is really the person that's in control. Um, people think the Dom has the control, but I actually, yes, but the sub is actually the, that's in control because when the sub says no more or stop or more, the Dom has to listen to that, right? So being a submissive and having someone like literally take care of your every wish and desire is also like a really great way to heal because so much sometimes a lot of survivors have to take care of everything and everybody, we hold emotions for this person and that person. It's such an honor for me to submit cause It requires a lot of trust of another person, um, to be taken care of.
Brandon: Ericka is a pleasure activist, down. She was able to not only reclaim her sexual pleasure and what it meant to her, but also help other cancer survivors reclaim their pleasure as well with her fucking curriculum, haha I love saying that.
Brandon: What is something that you take pleasure in or something that brings you joy?
Ericka: What's pleasurable to me is taking an Uber. That's pleasure that I can access, not getting on that fucking accessible ass, over-policed smelly train. Like if I have not been surrounded by people, not saying, excuse me, bumping into me. Um, you know, people like asking me if I want to buy this or buy that and walking past police, which is a trigger for me. Like if I don't have to do all that, I'm more likely to be aroused by the time I get home.
Brandon: And in terms of loving her body, if you follow her on IG, you know she loves to give you bawdy.
Hart: Photography has always been a way for me to reclaim my body. So lots of selfies, lots of like timer set, nude sessions. Um, also just like being in the mirror and just looking at my body nudely. And I just, I kinda, I like my scars. I just, I like how they look. I think they're pretty.
Brandon: For you, what is the future of pleasure and desire? What does the future look like for you? And this could be like be for you personally or you know, existentially?
Hart: I can answer it existentially cause it would also be for me. Is the end of white supremacy. The end of the prison industrial complex, the end of classism, the end of sexism, the end of the gender binary. Like all of these things, um, ending so people can actually get free. Cause the ways that we get constrained are oftentimes within these systems. So having those melt away, um, by whatever activism happens or educational sphere needs to be in place is how we get free. Um, and it's how we access pleasure.
Brandon: Literally, all of that. Be free. We’ll be back with more after this break.
Shannon: Whats up y’all, I’m Shannon Joy and pleasure is a very big deal to me. I take pleasure in the simple things in life, waking up late, having my morning all to myself, doing my yoga, eating a delicious meal, kiking with my friends, and occasionally going out and shaking my ass. We reached out to some folks in the community to find out what y’all take pleasure in, and here’s what they had to say.
Community Member #1: I absolutely love taking candlelight bubble baths with lemon, rosemary, lavender, and a nice ass playlist. And every now and then, there’s some sort of fun pleasure toy in there. If you know what I mean.
Community Member #2: Something that I take pleasure in, during the lockdown I got deep into my YouTube premium, like, audio books. And I’ll like, on one tab, I’ll put a cute book on, and then I’ll go to my spotify and put on a playlist that’s good for reading. And just be. That’s pleasurable to me.
Community Member #3: What brings me pleasure is my baby’s big, warm, chocolate cake. Taste so good, when I eat it he smiles.
Community Member #4: I really take pleasure in setting intentions. Like really thinking about the magic of what it means to say I really want this and I’m going to let myself have it. Like, bitch do what you need to be good, to be well. All of that. Like that is pure magic to me.
Community Member #5: Something that brings me a lot of pleasure is watching um, blackheads getting popped on Youtube, so acne videos. I don’t know why but that really satisfies me and relaxes me. And it’s really gross, but it brings me a lot of pleasure.
Community Member #6: One thing that I take pleasure in is the conjoining of spirits. So whether that be through community, through friendship, through intimacy, that’s one thing I take pleasure in.
Community Member #7: In this body-ody has been committed to another body-ody going on 9 years, August 2nd. And something that truly gives me pleasure is when she touches the small of my back, chiiiiile! She be cooking, or I’ll go wash my hands and it just be so subtle. Or I’m walking by and she start to touch- and light and delicate touch but it feels so meaningful. And I’m like *makes noises*. It’s, it’s beautiful. So yes, something that I love as pleasure is feeling my babe touch the small of my back.
Part Two - Devin & Morticia
Brandon: Part two… Boxes. They’re meant to store things. Books. Clothes. Old memories. A package. A child’s imagination. Identities? Not so much. But in Amerikkka, where straight people don’t want our sexuality shoved down their throats, where people think being bisexual means your being greedy and want you to choose, how are we as Black queer and trans folk carving out the space to define who and what we are? Audre Lorde once said, “that is how I learned that if I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies of me and eaten alive.” What does it take for us to create our own fantasies? To choose who we love, and how we love, irregardless of what society deems normal?
Devin: If monogamy was the only option, I would feel extremely limited. I would probably be unhappy.
Brandon: That’s Devin Lowe. Devin, like many of us, spent his formative years being told by family, friends, music, movies, and TV, who he is, what he is, and how he should love. Devin had to unpack all of those boxes he’d been placed in and even when he was discovering newer versions of himself, he had to navigate through the shame to make sense of how his desires factored in.
Devin: I did find myself attracted to men but for a long time I did not want to acknowledge that, to myself or others. Before I came out as trans, I was, um, identifying as a stud, or like I, people would call me like a butch lesbian. At that time I felt like because I was trying to present in this masculine way that I could only be attracted to feminine people, um. Um, and then after, um, coming out as trans and transitioning, that kind of even magnified a bit, I think that I felt like I was only allowed to, um, date or express attraction to femme identified people. Um, otherwise people would question my, my gender, um, along with my sexuality. But it's very interesting how much growth that I have gone through in my life because now, um, as a like queer, pansexual person. Like, uh, my partner is trans. Like obviously I'm attracted to to trans feminine folks. I'm attracted to all folks on all across the spectrum.
Brandon: Growth. We love to see it. And speaking of love, corny segue, I know, BUT speaking of love, I wanted to know about his partner.
Morticia: Uh, My name is Morticia Godiva and my pronouns are her, shey, like the chocolate.
Devin: Morticia is actually, uh, my first polyamorous relationship. Before I had always been monogamous.
Brandon: Awww… Morticia is his first. And they are definitely bae goals. They are so fun and adorable and loving. If you know them or seen them on social media then you know what I mean. When I first sat down to interview them they had recently celebrated their second anniversary. So they uploaded this video and well… I’ll just play a clip
[ASMR Video clip]
Brandon: So I wanted to talk to Dorticia... Devin, Morticia… hmmm, I don’t know. I wanted to talk to them about their relationship and the beauty of these two people loving each-other.
Morticia: Before dating Devin I really, like Devin is my first partner. Um, mhmm.
Brandon: That is so sweet!
Morticia: I had only courted dated, been sexually involved with cis people, cis men specifically. And so being with another person of trans experience, it's been affirming in every way that it could possibly be.
Brandon: Wow. Devin is Morticia’s first relationship and Morticia is his first poly partner. So, I gotta know, what is the story of Mevin? Nevermind, how did this story of firsts begin?
Morticia: So I’m gonna take you to a time…
Devin: We met in a museum. It's like, I know, isn't it beautiful? I know she thinks it's a fairy tale. We actually met through Indya Moore. I was like going to hang out at the museum with Indya and she brought Morticia along and...
Morticia: It's funny cause I, before I moved to New York, I had seen this, I saw this, this, um, this video, this live of like Indya that kind of went viral and it was Indya talking about cis men and they're attraction to Trans women, blah. Anyway, so we became Facebook friends and then, um, I think just like the Algorithm Devin, Devin popped up. And so
Brandon: the people you may know.
Morticia: Yeah. And I was like, I probably do know him. Well I'm trying to get to know him. And I had seen Devin online. And so when I met Devin in person with Indya, I was kind of just like. Like, I don't know, it was flirtatious enough. To where I remember him touching my, I, I remember how his hand felt when, I remember him touching my hand when he was, I don't know, I feel like you had, you said something along the lines of like, I hope to see you again or something like that. But, um, when we actually touched, um, when we were getting ready to part, um, I remember like us looking at it like us seeing each other and from that moment I decided, well actually I don't know that I decided in that moment. The Virgo in me is just like, you're going to have to show me and if I don't see it, then I'm not, I'm not having any, I'm not buying it. I don’t want it.
Morticia: Indya and I had had a few conversations. And they were like, Oh, you should talk to Devin. And so I was like, cool, imma talk to Devin. So I slid into Devin's dms...
Morticia: Hi Devin, this is Morticia. Um, hope you're well. Uh, hope like, would you like to go out for a cold bevvy or something like to that effect? I remember using the word bevy cause I was like it's cute.
Devin: This girl asked me out for soda.
Morticia: I said bevvy. And then we went out...
Devin: And then we found each other and she tryna take, she was like where you wanna go? I was like, when I realized she was talking about an actual soda pop type shit, I was like, I thought we were going for a drink!
Morticia: It wasn’t that -
Devin: Like let’s find a bar right over here
Morticia: It was that I didn’t know Devin yet. And I was like this man could have battled addiction, alcoholism. I don’t wanna trigger nothing, let’s go get tea or water! Like...
Devin: Like I thought you meant a drink, drink.
Morticia: So when he said that I was just like, yeah like whatever, we can go out. But I just wanted to be PC when I asked him to go out.
Devin: Yeah, so I took her to a bar near my job and…
Brandon: So after several rounds of drinks, and finding out that they are both lefties. They queerily walked the gritty streets of NYC, hand-in-hand until the moon came out to dance. And the most magical part of the night?
Morticia: Kissing under the fireworks in Manhattan.
Devin: It wasas 4th of July. And so there was literally fireworks as we kissed. It was amazing.
Morticia: Our first date set the tone for our relationship. I was just able to like, experience a romance that in my head was fairy tale and I was like having that fairy tale moment that like, ahh, so that was nice.
Brandon: Morticia and Devin, sitting in NYC, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First come loves, then comes sike nah sike nah, but it is really beautiful to hear them love on one another. I asked Devin how has it been being in a polyamorous relationship?
Devin: What I've noticed throughout the years that we've been dating is that the fact that I have the option of being open and having the option to like, explore and, and have other intimate relationships, it actually makes my desire for other relationships less prevalent. And I think that people kind of like taken back by that they think that, oh, like you're poly, like yeah, that just means like, oh, you want to like go and fuck everything. And like, that's really not the case. The fact that I have the freedom to choose makes me want to choose her so much more.
Brandon: Polyamory confuses some people, in a similar way that bisexuality is often looked down on. But polyamory isn’t new by any means. Long before our society’s puritanical views on love, sex and gender, before agriculture was so prominent, many cultures practiced polyamory. But being poly doesn’t mean folks are afraid or don’t want commitment, the same way being bi or even being pansexual doesn’t mean folks are greedy. For many, like Devin, these identities are liberating practices that move away from the rigid norms of heteronormativity.
Devin: Those words have been very freeing for me. I think that pansexuality, um, recognizes, uh, the, the limitless possibilities of my attraction. I refuse to be confined by society's expectations of like who I'm supposed to love or who I'm supposed to fuck or any, anything in between that. Then me being polyamorous also recognizes the, the limitless, the limitless possibilities of my love. Like the way that I like to explain it to a lot of folks is my love is not an hourglass. Um, and my ability to love one person does not at all take away from my ability to love another. Um, and so both of those things combined. Um, I think they really define me because I often defined myself as like, um, the limitless possibilities of man.
Brandon: Did y’all hear that!? The limitless possibilities of man… sounds so freeing. Makes me think of a line from Pleasure Activism, that pleasure is a measure of freedom. This is also the case for Morticia who says that her journey up to this point has also been quite liberating.
Morticia: I would say my healthiest, um, one of my healthiest relationships, like going into it, it's, it's crazy. Just like identifying as, as a femme person, thinking that it was appropriate to, or that it was, you know, ideal to seek out someone who was quite masculine to have some sort of happily ever after. And I think that shifted, I'm actually not quite sure when that shifted, but I think coming to New York and being able to see other walks of life, um, kind of like helped give me a little more language to it and I was just like, oh, Duh.
Brandon: As someone who is also partnered, I’m occasionally asked what are the quote unquote secrets to success. I have my thoughts, but I wanted to hear what they’d say.
Morticia: Communication, like a fuck ton of communication, all of the communication that could possibly happen. Um,
Brandon: You laughed, you agree?
Devin: Yeah, that was going to be my first word as well. Communication, honesty, I think that’s important, transparency. You can like slash those.
Brandon: And I’ll add to that, I think keeping friendship as the foundation is really important. That’s what works for me and Donja. And watching them, I can tell that that’s a part of their formula as well. One thing I really admire about them is that by choosing each-other they’ve also chosen themselves, going against what society deems acceptable or normal and defining what love and happiness looks like for them. Because it's what they deserve. As Devin beautifully puts it:
Devin: I think that us as trans people, it's really hard navigating a world that tells us that we don't deserve the love that we have and that, um, that it's like something like unheard of or unexpected or out of the ordinary. On one hand I want to say that our love is extraordinary, which it very much is, but at the same time it's not out of the ordinary in the ways that like us as trans people are absolutely capable and deserving of like this miraculous fairy tale love that cis people are, you know, told about their entire lives, you know, from like every little Disney movie or you know, Romcom like that we see on television. Like we deserve all those things and like those things are possible. And I think that we have that.
Brandon: Devin and Morticia, our very own fairy tale love story. Complete with all the magic and the laughs and adventure, and fireworks. The fireworks!
Morticia: I think I get a lot of fireworks from, um, our friendship. I think being able to see him as a friend and a partner and a lover, um, really gives me fireworks.
Devin: I like to love my partner publicly. I'll literally like jump on top of some like statue in the middle of the city and like yell out, I love this woman because I do. And I love seeing the smile on her face. I love, um, I love doing almost anything that brings her joy, that allows others to see her joy. Because it's what she deserves.
Brandon: How do you feel in those moments when Devin proclaims his love in front of the world?
Morticia: It's so mixy - because… I love that. I love that Devin wants to proclaim his love for me. Um, but internally
Devin: She hates it.
Morticia: I want so badly to be like...
Devin: Get down!
Devin: I mean, this is the most beautiful, freeing, loving relationship that I think I've ever been in. I feel so incredibly accepted. I feel like I'm not judged for my attractions. She meets my needs, you know, and those needs are not just sexual, but also emotional, mental, spiritual, like all of these things. Like she leaves me with room for my own growth. I feel like I grow more and more each day with her. And I mean, she makes me just as happy as I think that I make her. Yeah. That's beautiful.
Brandon: That is beautiful.
Morticia: You better not make me cry. *Shannon laughs*
Brandon: That’s our show… Special thanks to my pleasure activists and today’s guest Ericka Hart, Devin Lowe and Morticia Godiva. And a big shout out to the OG pleasure activist Adrienne Maree Brown for her brilliant work! If you’re listening, I hope to one day give you a hug. Your book really shifted how I walk through this world. And I thank you!
Let’s Get Back To Queer is produced by myself, Brandon Nick, and my great great grandchildren Shannon Shird and Glenn Quentin George. This episode was edited by myself, with sound design and engineering from Evan Joseph.
And a huge thank you to you, the listeners for tuning in to another episode of Let’s Get Back To Queer. If y’all liking what you hear then please, please, please, share it with all your peoples, and your people’s peoples and tell them to get in! Also, it’s not too late to join us on Patreon and get some dope bonus content! Check us out at lets get back to queer dot com to support! Byeeeeeeee….