Rachael | Director of the Rainbowhouse Brussels and LGBT+ activist | Passionate about destroying the patriarchy and the gender binary | Lover of her chosen fam | Dancing, music, reading and sci-fi movies and literature | Brussels, Belgium
1) THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS? Understanding that productivity is not linked to my worth and that my job needs to take up less space and a totally different priority in my life. I've understood that being with a chosen fam and the people who appreciate you is more important than anything. Surrounding myself with people who truly care for my well being is key moving forward.
2) THE WORST THING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS? I don't know if it's really bad considering the pandemic and people having lost their lives in this period but the worst thing is working whilst also going through a burnout. 3) YOUR BIGGEST WISH FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? My biggest wish for the nearest future is for our society to not to return to how it was. That people understand that this is the new way that our society needs to function. Focusing on care and less on capitalism. 4) YOUR BIGGEST WORRY FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? I think about how long white people will no longer consider BLM trending. How long it will take for white people to collectively shift back to making Black existence in this society next to impossible. Now it's cool to say and shout BLM but what has this actually resulted in. My worry for the future, both far and near, is for the conservation and care of Black lives. Especially Black lives that are also queer and trans. 5) A CONTEMPORARY WOMAN YOU CURRENTLY ADMIRE?
This is so hard because I am blessed to be surrounded by so many talented women doing so many good things. I admire Adeola Naomi Aderemi of Distinguished Diva @adeola.naomi @distinguisheddiva. She curates this space for Black women giving us the ability to take ahold of our own narrative. It is a place of love, healing and communion. 6) A ONE-SENTENCE MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN? Be a sister to everyone, of all races, gender identities and abilities but never speak in their place.
A few more questions about the current situation (Covid-19, lockdown, black lives matter protests, politics, finances, mental health, health, and so much more): You can also send one single answer to the 3 questions combined. 7) THE WORLD HAS BEEN CHANGING DRAMATICALLY IN RECENT MONTHS, HOW ARE YOU COPING? Well I want to say I'm not coping and that's ok. I'm doing my best because that's what's expected of me. But what I actually need is 2 months off from my job so I can finally focus on myself. During this entire covid period I've been putting out continuous fires at work. Adaptaing and finding short term solutions whilst bracing myself for the long term issues. I've had help for certain things. I have a team that listens to my concerns. This I cannot ignore but I know that the responsibility of the survival of my organisation falls on my shoulders. This also underlines what's really wrong with our society. That we're always asking the victims of systemic oppressions to come up with the solutions for power imbalances they never caused nor control. These power imbalances remain upheld and inflict on-going violence whilst the victims look for solutions. They also restrain the amount of change the victims can implement. This is wrong. The way our society looks at this is wrong and this is something it needs to admit. If it doesn't then we'll continuously have these pointless conversations. Radical honesty is a necessity for the world, the white world, to move forward.
8) WHICH CHANGE OR EVENT HAS AFFECTED YOU THE MOST / HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU PERSONALLY?
The BLM events have definitely shown me that I need to focus more on Black joy and just being with my community. It has given me a new sense of pride of being Black.
9) WHAT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT THE RIGHT NOW?
How to pay rent and utilities.