THE MILANS: Kim Katrin & Tiq Milan
If you are unfamiliar with the Milans, this radical couple has brought trans and queer love amongst communities of color and intersectional approaches to human rights activism to the forefront from their speaking engagements, writing and simply choosing to love out loud. The Milans could be seen on NBC News and OUT Magazine advocating for love outside of the margins. They serve as inspiration to anyone who has ever felt their “kind of love” is less accessible and acceptable.
On LGBTQ activism as a form of radical self love & partnership:
Kim: Once I started doing activism and deconstructing and unlearning the things I had been taught and learning about colonization, racism, sexism, ableism, and about the way Black women have been targeted for hundreds of years I think that understanding those things were really integral to my forgiving myself for what I perceived to be my own failing, but were actually societal ills.
I think in that it allowed me to deconstruct all the things I knew about love, relationships and people telling me what kind of relationships I should be in.Once I was more authentic with my own self love, I was authentic with my own desire.
Tiq: I think for me the advocacy and the activism isn’t just about the think pieces, being able to talk about the theory and doing the workshops; for me, it’s something I have to embody everyday. Me becoming the man that I want to be taking, this journey as a trans person and really coming into my own as my most authentic self and being as visible as I can as a black man. Particularly as a black man on the binary who is really thinking deeply about challenging toxic masculinity.
Kim: In terms of our romantic partnership, I feel like we put our powers together to try to do something important with our bodies. I think that as Black queer people my body is my instrument; it is the site from which I do all my activism.
My body by virtue of who I am is a political site.
On ways activism has strengthened their partnership:
Tiq: I think our activism strengthens us because we are both having this shared experience where we are both empathetic to what is happening. It is important for us to be really self-aware and to understand what is happening in the world around us and to understand what is happening to Black people. That is something that we are both really passionate about.
I’ve been in relationships in the past where even having conversations around activism or things that are politically charged were really just shut down.
On ways others can better love themselves by taking action:
Kim: I think that it is important to practice and understand interdependence. Interdependence, for me, is recognizing that we are all deeply connected. And how can we act in service to some of the connections that we have in the universe, based on the social location that we have. Depending on the access to power and privilege and oppression, we have different relationships that we need to honor.
When we get into being good to other people in those kinds of ways, it can make you feel really connected and really valuable. I love being queer. I feel connected to a really special community. I love being a Black girl. I feel really connected to this special powerful, community that goes through difficult things, but we are unique and blessed.
Doing work in those spaces, I start to really learn and value so many different kinds of communities, not just my own, but so many different communities that are marginalized. This allows me to look at the world in general with a lot more love and a lot more compassion. Which gives that love to myself. Which ultimately is one of the lovely by-products of engaging in activism.