The Right To Feel Comfortable

Isabella Chan, Editor-In-Chief

Who are you? A question people often stumble over when asked to respond, resulting in maybe one answer. But for Tenaya Taylor, their answer is a no-brainer.

“I am an activist —I guess that’s what people call me— an organizer, a rapper, an artist, a model, I write grants, I work with kids, I cook a lot, I’m an entrepreneur, I have a business,” Taylor listed on. “I definitely do it all and the reason I do it all is because I really hate capitalism.”

Taylor, a guest for Central Connecticut’s LGBT Center, discussed the various injustices of racial identities, disabilities and queer identity and how these struggles shaped them into the person they are.

“I’d rather be poor for a little bit, figure it out and try to prevent the things that happened to me from happening to other people cause it was harmful,” Taylor stated further. “The racism and homophobia and just all the violence that I experienced while trying to have some upward mobility, because I grew up poor and black and it took a lot of learning and trying to fit into this mold that whiteness and capitalism tries to make you fit into.”

They recalled moments of feeling “attacked” and uncomfortable in their work environment for their hair and identity. Taylor noted “black and brown people shouldn’t have to face that when we’re just trying to do what we love to do and be in these institutions.”

During their presentation, Taylor recognized several influencers, like music artists Frank Ocean and Lil Das X and transgender disabled model Aaron Phillips, for their bravery and ability to embrace both their black and LGBTQ identities. Deciding to the same, Taylor began to use social media as their platform in order to advocate for social justice within the Hartford area while also embracing the various parts of their identity.

“I just decided to use social media as a tool, I find a lot of opportunity through Instagram and Twitter for my music, my art and model, so I also use it as a platform to spread messages so it can go out there further,” Taylor said. “I also take social media with a grain salt because people are mean but it’s a great way for movements, like Me Too, Black Lives Matter, just to start. The reason why I’m involved is because my identity kind of just intersected.”

Throughout the lecture, Taylor incorporated ways for not only themselves but for others to feel comfortable. For instance, she added introductions of every guest in attendance, rearranged the furniture to allow everyone to have visible access to the presentations and asked if anyone in the audience needed them to speak up in order to properly hear.

“I talk about disability a lot and accessibility. There’s ablism that runs rampant in institutions and that prevents a lot of people from getting to the work that they need to go to, even stairs, a lot of things that people don’ think about,” Taylor said. “I definitely advocate for disabled people and differently-abled people because, you know, we all are going through it in some way and there’s no disability hierarchy.”

Those in attendance participated in a few interactive activities in which they described their own version of a safe space, whether that meant having proper resources for clean water and food, or clearer distinctions of what a safe space for people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community should offer. Overall, many were looking for improvement on ways to make safe spaces more accessible to all identities.

CCSU offers a safe space for all. For those looking for more LGBT information please visit the LGBT Center located on the third floor of the Student Center, PRIDE Club also holds meetings at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in Phillbrick room. Students are also welcome to visit the Africana Student Organization in the Africana Center, room 008, of Marcus White. CCSU’s Black Student Union meets at 7:20 p.m. every Wednesdays in Sprague Carlton room while the United Caribbean Club convene at 7:30 on Tuesdays in Philbrick Room.

For more information on clubs and organizations on campus that support various identities, please visit the