At the heart of this episode are two former roommates having a candid conversation around how Tina ruined their relationship. Because Tina not only affects the person using the drug, it also has consequences on the folx around you as well. In this episode Chris Johnson shares how GMAD led the charge against crystal meth amongst Black gay men; Jacen Zhu talks about his sex life on tina versus without it; and our host has a heart-to-heart with his old friend Willie The Genius.
Enjoying our show? Then please support us by joining our patreon! www.patreon.com/letsgetbacktoqueer
If you can’t support monthly, consider buying us a coffee @ https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lgbtqpodcast Or CashApp/Venmo: Brand0nnick with the note “LGBTQ”
And be sure to follow us on IG @letsgetbacktoqueer and Twitter @lgbtqpodcast!
Mentioned During Show:
Crystal meth is the third most frequently used substance amongst trans women. - source
According to the LA Times, “the jury found Buck guilty of every charge in a nine-count indictment that also accused him of maintaining a drug den, distributing methamphetamine & enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution.” - source
In fact, there’ve been many of studies done, including a 10 year study by the American Psychology Association, that found that graduates of students who were involved in these programs actually went on to use drugs. - source
millennials use painkillers more than any other generation. - source
And nationally, more than two thirds of all drug overdoses are from opioids. - source
And oftentimes, the facilities that they go to for help aren’t equipped to assist them. (in relation to Black trans women) - source
Brandon: Y’all I got my fan on cuz it’s hot as hell in here so if y’all hear it, y’all just gonna have to pay it but... I got a dad joke. Actually it’s a zaddy joke. If you’re daddy fine, get him to call me so I can tell it to him. Now, let’s get back to queer.
[Let’s Get Back To Queer theme music by Byrell the Great]
Brandon: Welcome to Let’s Get Back To Queer, I’m your host Brandon Nick.
[Crystal Meth Soundscape]
Brandon: When I first moved to New York, I didn’t know anything about crystal meth. I remember once telling a guy that I love to party, cuz I saw “party and play” in his profile, but I didn’t know until we hopped on Skype that party with the capital T meant tina. Soon I realized that all the pnp’s, and the diamond emojis that I saw on Jack’d were synonymous with crystal meth. That’s partly what today’s episode is about, crystal meth aka tina… this invisible epidemic. But it’s really an episode about reconciliation.
Crystal meth is a combination of chemicals that causes hyper excitement. It’s been around for a long time, white gays started taking it in the 90s. And since then the drug has evolved and silently moved its way around communities.
To help me understand the use and culture around Tina a bit more, I went to GMAD, Gay Men of African Decent, one of the oldest organizations servicing Black gay men, and spoke with Chris Johnson, the Program Manager and Substance Abuse counselor, about what he’s witnessed and why people abuse subtances.
Chris Johnson: A lot of our community experienced a great deal of depression. And part of their, um, intake of substances is around, they want to feel different. They don't want to feel the anxiety that they feel when they come into social circles or when they're going into the bars or when they haven't been introduced to the gay community and they want to navigate it or they want to integrate in it. And so what they do is they smoke marijuana or they drink some alcohol because it helps them negotiate those spaces.
Brandon: Okay, I get folx having a good smoke session or taking some liquid courage to loosen up. But what Chris noticed with Tina is that it isn’t simply a drug that helps you feel better, it’s highly addictive in comparison to weed and alcohol, and a far more dangerous substance to use when negotiating spaces. Let me backup for a second. Slight history lesson. Around 2016 GMAD had a lot of men coming in and complaining about crystal meth and Chris notice there weren’t any spaces designed for Black gay men to get help. There were spaces for white gays but we know how triggering and unhelpful those can be. So he started a program called Black Diamonds at GMAD, and eventually caught the attention of the NY Times. This put a spotlight on the issue that many at the time hadn’t considered to be a Black thing.
Johnson: Now, how black men began to get engaged is, because I know with what I hear is that we didn't have access, but there were white male communities with the money, with the access. And there's an element of power dynamic that was going on where they would put the drugs and make the drugs accessible, make the money accessible, make the pills accessible. And their power dynamic was controlling the Black men that they wanted to be a part of these sex environments and circles. And that's how they got inundated. And I'm sure that's how that spiraled down into if I only did that when I wanted to do sex work or when I was working with the community, not of my own, of course now I was going to bring this back into my community.
[Ed Buck news report montage]
Brandon: In 2017 Ed Buck made national headlines when a Black gay man named Gemmell Moore was found dead in his apartment from a crystal meth overdose. Six months later, Timothy Dean, also died of overdose in his home. As of August 27th, Ed Buck was convicted of several charges related to Moore and Dean’s overdoses. According to the LA Times, “the jury found Buck guilty of every charge in a nine-count indictment that also accused him of maintaining a drug den, distributing meth and enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution.” We truly hate to see it. And this is just one instance of a person using their power and privilege to prey on Black lgbtq folx. Since the initial headlines back in 2017, many other victims have spoken out against Buck and others like him who prey on Black queer and trans people who are susceptible to addiction. This includes sex-workers who would be offered more coin if they took Tina. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how Tina affects the trans community. Crystal meth is the third most frequently used substance amongst trans women. And oftentimes, the facilities that they go to for help aren’t equipped to assist them.
Like most drugs, it provides users with an escape, a crystal meth high can last upwards of ten hours, and provide what I only imagine is similar to the old energizer bunny commercials. A sense of immeasurable pleasure and joy. But also like most drugs, the long term consequences of Tina are far worse than the pleasure that the high gives. It can destroy your dopamine pathways, it can cause cardiac problems and it can also cause severe psychological effects on your nervous system.
Johnson: It's called a substance induced psychosis. It may, it has levels of paranoia. Uh, they think people are after them. Um, they isolate and stay in spaces for a very long time in the, um, navigate because they're paranoid. And that's one of the things I learned about crystal meth immediately, like the long term use of it that was happening. And then after that 36 hour period where you using these substances, then you have a crash. Because you're no longer taking drug. And your body's going to crash and you may need three or four days or however long or week to recuperate to start all over again.
Brandon: The risk of this drug and its rollercoaster of sensations, the chase of the thrill, climbing to its peak and the exhilaration it creates as you ride it, feeling all the sensations as you experience the high, and then.... Nothing. You want more. The ride is over and you're left waiting, wanting that next thrill.
Even though there’s not much research on Tina and HIV, when you consider tina’s hazardous relationship to sex, its not hard to connect the dots about the sexual risks involved with using it.
Johnson: So if you think about the prevalence in the community, if a person is inundated with drugs and substances, they're not taking care of their health mostly. Or the drugs is inducing other problems that could be impactful to their health.
Brandon: What he’s basically saying is even if you are undetectable and not transmitting the HIV virus, or if you are on PrEP, you still run the risk of catching STIs. Even more so for those who engage in condomless sex. Which is one of the ways folks can become addicted to Tina.
Johnson: A lot of young men may not have been engaged in or were engaged unbeknownst to their awareness and if they were engaging in sex, someone could have put it on their anus and that's how they were introduced to it.
Brandon: It’s called booty bumping. It’s like someone putting something in your drink but instead of your drink it’s... you. Some folks will also do what’s called tinkle tweaking, where you can get high from drinking the piss of someone who’s taken the drugs.
An as well-informed as Chris is, he nor I have ever used the drug so this conversation can only go but so far. I needed an inside perspective, to talk to someone who’s lived through it.
Jacen: The first time that I actually used crystal Meth, uh, it was, it was exhilarating. Like, and I don't want to romanticize the use of crystal Meth, but it was by far the most intense thing that I've experienced. Something about crystal meth that really just taps into the mind and it really just makes everything feel amazing.
Brandon: That’s Jacen Zhu, some of you might recognize him as Undetectable Man. If you’re like me, some of you may recognize him from his work in adult entertainment. Jacen has been pretty open about his journey with crystal meth on social media. It started with his campaign, Take Down Tina, which he created after seeing a teenage boy on the apps talking about partying, with the capital T.
Jacen: And when I started using, like it, they were not that young, like using or if they were, there was no one like within the DMV area that I knew of. Um, and so it was kind of just like eye opening for me, although I was actively using. I guess it was also a part of me that was just like, I just need to out myself, too. And if I do that, maybe I can start like my process of recovery.
Brandon: I assumed that a lot of folks' first time using the drug was through a white man. But Jacen tells me that his introduction to tina happened in DC with this Black gay couple he’d met in a club and would occasionally have threesomes with.
Jacen: What made me decided to smoke it, and this is, uh, you know, in hindsight was that I was naive. Uh, we were, we go to the club and then, you know, after, you know, you've had, you know, a few drinks you want to find someone to hook up with possibly. Um, and so they were the people I hooked up with. I honestly had trusted this couple, because what I was looking at it through was, you know, sex goggles. And so, uh, I, hooked up with this couple numerous times and eventually, curiosity killed the cat. Uh, and, and I decided to take my first puff. I smoked it of course, first.
Jacen: My relationship with them, it, it grew, and that was because we were using together. And the way that they kind of presented it to me. They said, don't do this with anyone else, you know, uh, be able to know your limits. They told me they had really strict rules. Like they were very like, super safe. They were very into harm reduction of using this drug.
Brandon: Okay pause, quick lesson. Harm reduction has been around for decades and while there’s no universally accepted definition for it, one definition says it's a range of public health policies designed to lessen the negative social and physical consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal. Yes, I just read that off Wikipedia. In this context though, it’s basically a practice that acknowledges some folks are going to use drugs, and instead of shaming them out of doing it, protocols and structures are put in place to reduce the greater risks of the drug. A common example of this is how in some major cities, pharmacies have needle exchange programs to try and prevent the spread of diseases passed through blood from dirty needles.
Harm reduction is different from teaching that practice abstinence, where they get users to stop altogether. Harm reduction cultivates horizontal power dynamics where the drug users are not coerced, but are the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use. And unlike most versions of the 12-step program, harm reduction isn’t based in spirituality, and doesn’t demonize drug users for relapsing. The messaging around some abstinence-only initiatives can be harmful and toxic for folx seeking help. Remember DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education?
Brandon: No shade, their anti-drug messaging didn’t do a good job of convincing folks to not do drugs. In fact, there’ve been many of studies done, including a 10 year study by the American Psychology Association, that found that graduates of students who were involved in these programs actually went on to use drugs. Today, millennials use painkillers more than any other generation. And nationally, more than two thirds of all drug overdoses are from opioids. I think the cold-turkey abstinence approach does work for some, so it’s not without merit. But harm reduction serves as an alternate practice, filling in the gaps that abstinence based programs have created. Though, for Jacen, his so-called system of harm reduction wasn’t cutting it. Because the more they used it, the more he became addicted. Eventually all three of them broke up. But his relationship with Tina held on like a literal bad habit that took a lot of work to try and shake.
Jacen: I guess I had to kind of deal with that and start processing that and asking myself, why? Why do you, why do you want to go do this? You know, are you feeling depressed? Are you feeling unwanted? Do you feel like you're, you're not enough? Are you upset about the situation in which you're in? What is making me want to feel this? So It made me think. So I was like, okay, well, do I wanna do crystal meth? Or do I not want to do crystal meth because I can't have people, you know, seeing me like this. I can't be a mess in front of people. And so then I started having to clean out certain people and certain things. Um, and even certain sexual acts, you know, I just, because I know that it possibly could lead me into a place where I don't want to be a, and I don't want to be able, you know, to be in that position to be using again.
Brandon: Like I know part of the answer is addiction right, but why did you continue to use it, like what made you want to continue to want to use it?
Jacen: What made me continue to use it was the connection it had with sex. The first time was great, but what no one tells you is that you’re not going to experience the first time every time. Uh, and so you'd become in this pattern of chasing this dragon. Um, and that's what it was.
Brandon: We’ll be back with more after the break.
Brandon: Welcome back. When we left off, Jacen was talking about how the vicious loop of seeking that feeling of the first high is why he kept using tina. This pattern of chasing the dragon eventually led him to the hospital.
Jacen: My mom and dad, uh, were in the hospital with me because I was like very close to like, uh, OD status, uh, overdose. Uh, and they had to pump me with like these pills and everything like that. And it was just such an ordeal, uh, and just a hot mess. But that didn't stop me from using, you know. I mean, I laugh at it because it's like, Oh god, it's crazy. But no, I didn’t. I remember having to spend time in a 72 hour, uh, detox. And, you know, I, I was a little bit more manageable, but eventually I started using again, not as frequent of course, but you know, here and there. And so that's when I really knew I was addicted. My rock bottom for me was more mental, uh, because, uh, crystal meth had really done some harm to my mental health, left me with schizoaffective disorder, um, and uh, major depression disorder.
Brandon: Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder that combines the effects of schizophrenia, like delusions or hallucinations, with severe mood changes. Methamphetamines can heighten the current conditions of mental disorders like depression and anxiety, and even cause folks to suffer from manic mood swings. So for Jacen, it’s very important to maintain a certain level of physical and mental wellness, recovery is not a one and done thing.
Jacen: No, recovery is a ongoing thing. No. Like to believe it's a one and done thing, uh, is to be naive. It is something that you have to deal with for the rest of your life. And even when you think you're not dealing with it, you're dealing with it.
Brandon: Thinking about his career as a porn actor and seeing crystal meth’s relationship to sex, I was curious if Jacen ever mixed business with pleasure while on the job.
Jacen: What people don't realize is that on set, like you're working, so you have to kind of be in the right frame of mind because you have to sign documentations. Uh, you have to possibly be in positions that are going to be uncomfortable. So you have to be able to take directions. Sometimes you're gonna have, uh, a B roll with scripts and things. So being, like, high on crystal meth. Like, I mean, people do it, but it's not gonna bring about a great experience. And so for myself, I always prided myself on, in air quotes of, of not being high on the job, until it was that one time.
Jacen: We should have been done, but we had to do an extra day because, you know, it was situations that were happening with the other model. But I was still willing to risk it because I was like, you know what, I'll start as soon as you know, I'll start getting high as soon as they leave out and then we'll be okay. That was a, that was a false reality. You know, I stayed up most of the night trying to jerk off and had no success with that. And then when it was time for me to shoot the next day, y’know, it did hinder my performance because of course I couldn't get hard for a second. So then we had to worry about that. Um, and then also, I wasn’t completely in the right headspace to shoot again as well.
Brandon: Like looking back I guess looking back on that moment, how did that make you feel? Knowing that you I guess weren’t performing at your best.
Jacen: It sucked. I'm like, dude, you were like, shit faced there and uh, that's not cool.
Brandon: But now, now that he’s not using, he’s having better sex. As an adult entertainer, he’s explored various markets to perform in, moving away from the tropey DL interracial Black fetish porn and into BDSM. He tells me that the sex he has now is more liberating and enjoyable than when he would get it popping on Tina.
Jacen: Sex when I was using was just wasn't real. Like... and I'm being so honest. It’s that we're all sitting around trying to, you know, get our dicks hard and we're just doing things and saying things because we're so amped up in the porn and in this moment that its really no sex happening. So it's really, it's really boring. And it also, you know, they say that it allows you to be a true self, but like, I don't think that's really all that true. Like, yeah, it allowed you to get a little bit more freakier, but it doesn't really allow you to have, you know, very positive sexual relationships. And now not using and having sex, I've explored, you know, BDSM and, and really use that as a, a vehicle of outlet for me. Uh, because being kinky and, and being into fetishes gives me more, uh, power and control and makes me feel like I'm being more positive and proactive with my sexual health. Because everything that we discuss, we have to talk about consent. And we have to make sure things are safe. And so now really a lot of my sex, yeah, it's a lot dirtier now, but it's real. Uh, and it's safer and it's a lot healthier and, and, and it's a lot more fun to be honest. Like, and I remember it.
Brandon: Jacen is living a better life that’s filled with better sex. And if you want, and if you're 18 or over, you can see all it on his onlyfans!
During our conversation we spoke about how addiction can impact interpersonal relationships. He offers this advice for those that know someone going through an addiction.
Jacen: What I tell people, like if you like personally have not dealt with any addiction like, it is, you can put yourself in that person's shoes, but so far. Because addiction is sometimes irrational. Y’know, And I've seen people, relationships sever apart because they just couldn't handle it. And I always tell people, it's like, well, only handle what you, which you can handle, but never stop being a friend. You know, never stop loving that person just because where they're at.
Brandon: Mmmm. Never stop being a friend… That hits differently when you know you’ve been that person. While working on this episode I kept going back to when I had stopped being a friend to someone that I love. Honestly, this episode was inspired by that experience. So, I reached out to him.
Willie Dean: It’s so funny though too. I thought of you as I was leaving out a train station I saw this old white bitch who look like she looked like one of the golden girls and I started singing, thank you for being a friend. Oooooh!
Brandon: That’s Willie. Aka Willie the Genius, my old Brooklyn roommate. When we lived together he was using crystal meth. His addiction had damaged our friendship and after we moved out, we stopped talking for a good while. Since then we’ve made up, but we never really stopped to talk about what that experience had been like for us. So we met up and ducked into an empty room for an impromptu brother to brother.
Dean: Imma cry. I feel a cry coming on. I’m gonna cry.
Brandon: I know, I know a cry is gonna happen. No shade, which is why I was just like, let me prepare myself. So I guess jumping straight in, how would you describe our friendship?
Dean: I would describe our friendship as a complex brotherhood. And for those of you who can't see, Brandon literally just took his finger, licked it and rubbed something off on my arm. That is exactly how I would describe our friendship. The fact that we can, I feel like we're, we are, we've been through being friends, through being roommates, through being brothers. Um, I don't know if there's a word that exists for that. Um...
Brandon: We judies.
Dean: We really are judies like, we really are judies. For me it was a real period of growth. For real.
Brandon: Like now looking back on all of that, that I do think that it's strengthened our friendship and our brotherhood, um, and our bond cause like, it's very seldom that we actually get to see like people that we're really close with really in the trenches of something. Um, and then like dealing with it in processing it and like being there, even if I wasn't always like present, but like being there or trying my best to be there.
Dean: I think you cheat yourself out of this experience slightly because you were there more than you think you were.
Dean: Yeah. You are very present. For instance, um, I'm just gonna transition into with me using, using crystal meth and, um, you showed up for me and didn't even know you were giving me certain paradigms to exist out of, like. So when you first moved in Brandon, um, there was a moment when, um, when I was like, listen, before you move in, I want you to know, you know, I use crystal meth. You know, it's an addiction, yada, yada, yada. You know, uh, if I'm able to be a little vulnerable here though, it still a situation where I was like, look, you don't, this won't bleed over into your lifestyle. Cause I think I said to you, uh, you know, I need to figure out how to, how to come out of this and you were like, or how to live with it. And when you said that to me it was like, shit... I didn't even think about - it never dawned on me of what if this is something that will be a part of my life moving forward. And I just need to be. I need to see what my life will look like if I am just an addict and I'm going to carry this. And that was incredible because it wasn't, it wasn't filled with judgment. It wasn't saying stop. It wasn't saying do it. It was just saying, this is where you are. And for some reason I never brought myself to the present moment in that. You get what I'm saying? And by me unpacking that and being able to research that, it's, I would say that really started me on the journey of coming out of it. I would literally say that was what kind of led me out of the cave. And so for me the addiction I often say now that it saved my life. The addiction saved my life because it forced me to confront all of these traumas that I had been carrying throughout my life. Realizing growing up a fat Black boy in Houston, Texas. Um, I was not allowed to, I was allowed to be the fat funny friend, which made an incredible fucking personality, right? I'm just saying, it created, my character was next level. However, there were some experiences that I didn't have. Like I wasn't able to be desired. I can only be fat and funny. I couldn't be
Brandon: Fat and fuckable.
Dean: Fat and Fuckable bitch, I'm about to get a shirt made. Yes. Damn it. I see it already.
Brandon: I think in, in transparency, uh, you said that it saved your life and I understand it in practice and in theory, um, I guess more so theory. But then I'm taking to like those moments when I felt like it was actually killing you. And part of me, part of me bringing this also cuz like, I just, I also just don't want to glamorize it, like it's harm free. Oh. So like when you said like how it saved your life it literally took me to the moments when I, I would actually have to wake up and make sure you got in.
Dean: Thank you for making that distinction because I do not want it to sound and to anyone ever, um, that, uh, that it is glamorous. Hell no. That shit was hard. It was hard as fuck. You get what I'm saying? It literally took me to hell. And by hell, I mean, uh, it took me to being alone alone a lot, eh, you know, hell, I lost weight. The way I even got introduced to it, literally, I'm online maybe Adam for Adam something one night. You know, feeling low but not too low, but feeling, feeling, like, you know, whatever. Guy hit me up and he's like, oh, you know, you want to party with - party with the big T - that's what they call it. You know what I mean? And I was like okay okay, you know whatever. I never tried it before, but I ain’t afraid. You know, I’ve done shit. And I remember though, I remember not realizing I was high until like awhile. I was like, Oh fuck. I was like, Oh, you know, I was like, Oh, I don't feel it. I was feel shit. And then all of a sudden it's like, wait a minute, nigga, four hours have gone by and I blinked. What the fuck happened? And then you blink again and then shit, two years just went by what the fuck. Um, and of course I'm, I'm, I'm, you know, making this very poetic, but if I'm just being real honest, like, um, in the beginning I remember being very sex driven. Like me just getting high and it ha- and feeling like I was having amazing sex. I'm not Jesus. I'm not here to save anybody. Um, I am here to just give my fucking experience, right? Uh, it's not for me to tell you not to go. I would tell you if you do try crystal meth is going to be rough as fuck and it's gonna be hard as hell to get the fuck out of that shit. That shit is not made for the weak of heart.
Brandon: I think for me, and part of it is just like I think, I dunno, I guess because I was on the outside of it. Um, it registers different. So like oftentimes, like I actually have to remind myself, I have to actually dig or I've had to dig to find like the good moments that I knew we had. But like with the times that we lived together, I knew it wasn't all bad. But literally when I think about Bushwick or bedwick where we live.
Dean: Uh uh, don’t you do that. Bed-Stuy bitch, don't you do that!
Brandon: Think about us being roommates in Brooklyn. I literally just go back to the separation. I think that, um, for me crystal meth was causing. Part of it was like you had just said being in a room for days on end, um and me and I guess us having to just like navigate around it. Like this nigga was high or like this nigga is high. Um, we probably won't see him until next week. Um, which wasn't always comfortable for me having to like live with somebody and then feel like they don't exist. To like live with my brother. Like my longest standing friend in New York and feel like on the other side of this wall there is nothing. Nothing. There's nothing.
Dean: I did not even realize that my addiction was causing you that much pain because you never… said anything
Brandon: I think a real big part of that was not, not knowing how to like express my discomfort. All I could, all I literally think about was how uncomfortable it was living there. And I didn't know like that there was space for us to come out. Cause after a while they really did become, I am living with an addict.
Dean: I'm happy that you didn't say it because it gave me space to be able to do it without feeling judged and it created space for me to be able to come back to you later. You know what I mean? Cause if I would've felt judged, then our relationship probably would've severed.
Brandon: I guess also just a lot, a lot of it was fear, like fear that I couldn't process and fear that I was like, I couldn't like talk to you about it because you were like in the throws of it all. So I couldn't be like, Willie, I'm actually really concerned for your life and your wellbeing. I'm like, well and I also couldn't say that like when you closed the door I actually feel like you're closing me out and like you're not letting me in and I feel unloved and like, I don't belong. And like also like there's nothing that, and like there's nothing I can do to like help you.
Dean: I'm sorry now, like I did not know you were feeling like I just didn't know.
Brandon: And I guess I'm also sorry, I wasn't around for your like recovery.
Dean: So you actually were around for the recovery.
Brandon: I was?
Willie: Well you are, bitch. You literally are around.
Brandon: What was that moment for you when you actually realized enough was enough?
Dean: Okay. At the complete end for me it became not tied to sex anymore. Like I literally will not have sex while high. I would only get spiritual, cause that's where I was at the end. At the end I told Spirit, listen, I am no longer if I keep accessing the spirit world by getting high it's going to kill me and this drug is going to kill me. So I need to no longer be able to access it when I'm high and only be able to access it when I'm sober. And then for me, immediately, it was just all my things were gone. Like as far as all my, um, my triggers, like I'm not triggered anymore. Every now and then something will happen and it will run by my mind that normally you would deal with this by getting high. But now you can sit in being mad. Now you can cry your ass on a train. If you need to, now, if you need to fucking have a moment, if you're pissed at someone, do not harm yourself. Let this bitch have this cussing out, turn away and leave it there in that moment. You get what I’m saying?
Brandon: How’re you feeling now? I’ll ask you that.
Dean: I'm feeling great. I'm feeling a magical, magical than a motherfucker. I'm happy. I'm having fun. I've always loved myself, for the first time in my life though, especially during the addiction, I didn't like who I was. For the first time in my life, I like who I am. I like Willie, I like my motherfucking rolls. Bitch, I like my fat ass. I like Willie!
Brandon: I'll say having seen you before, during and then like now just you shine different and your light and energy is different. Also really glad that we've actually gotten to get to this point.
Dean: I'm going to encourage you to tell the story. I think for a generation of queer folk to come, Afro queer folk, um, trans gender nonconforming binary. Fuck it all, bitch. I'm everything. This is the only responsibility I'm gonna take on. Is I owe it to them to at least be honest and open. So I'm encouraging you to tell the goddamn story. Let's create new paradigms to show up for each other. Shame never works. Shame only creates more shame and more guilt. So let's not do that. I love you Brandon. I really do.
Brandon: I love you too Willie.
[Black guy in wig singing thank you for being a friend]
Brandon: That’s our show. Now, I don’t want to come off as preachy but this is the PSA portion of the show. Because, no shade, crystal meth is a serious issue in our community. So If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, please seek help. Without shame. No shade. No one is going to save us except us. You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 800-662-4357. And check out our show notes for other resources and organizations that can help.
Special thanks to my guests Chris Johnson, Jacen Zhu and Willie the Genius.
Let’s Get Back To Queer is produced by myself, Brandon Nick, the sultry and sassy Shannon Shird, and the genuine, quiet, gentle Glenn Quentin George. Editing by myself, with sound design and mixing from Evan Joseph. Thank you to the homie Divoli S’vere for the song DCM you hear in the beginning of the episode.
And a huge thank you to you, the listeners for tuning in to another episode of Let’s Get Back To Queer. If you’ve enjoyed Let’s Get Back To Queer then please support us on Patreon so we can continue telling stories like this! See y’all next time. Byee.