Rebel is Rebecca Carroll's regular column on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC, or participate in one of Rebel's monthly conversations in The Greene Space.


In the four years since Laverne Cox became the first transgender person on the cover of Time magazine, queer people of color have exploded into the mainstream. From writer and director Lena Waithe, MTV’s trailblazer of the year, to the radically beautiful new FX show Pose, which explores the lives of queer youth of color in the ’80s and features the largest transgender cast ever for a scripted series, gay and transgender folks are being centered and celebrated in unprecedented ways.

But I’ve been wondering whether the community will be able to maintain its momentum in the face of contemporary politics — and especially now that the conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

So I invited writer and activist Darnell Moore to come have a conversation. Moore is the author of “No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America,” a deeply poetic meditation on growing up during the 1980s and 1990s. It is an offering, he says, in the hope to provide “a sense of what it might mean to grow up in the Age of AIDS, in the age of hip hop, post-Reagan and what it might mean to come to a true sense of self in the midst of all of that.”

Moore, who is black and gay, has written a book that captures the ache not just of coming out, but of becoming who you are: “We’ve been denied love. And some of us have sought out what we could to fill the gaping wells drained dry by a society that taught us to hate ourselves. But like cunning magicians, many of us have learned to break ourselves out of our cages even when those attempting to master our lives keep fervent hold of the keys.”

Listen below to my conversation with Moore about how he thinks the LGBTQ community will survive under the current administration.

"What I think, in this moment, is necessary is for LGBT-centered folk to realize the battles for a more progressive, transformative future cannot be won by single variable politics. If you only worry about LGBT rights, and a rolling-back of those rights, but not worry about Roe v. Wade or worry about any of that race-based measures that can impact people of color, black black LGBT folk, brown LGBT folk, undocumented LGBT folk who are not white, then you lose," Moore told me.

Rebecca Carroll is a cultural critic and Editor of Special Projects at WNYC, where she develops, produces and hosts a broad array of multi-platform content, including podcasts, live events and on-air broadcasts. Rebecca is also a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and a regular columnist at Shondaland in addition to Gothamist. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw, and her personal essays, cultural commentary and opinion pieces have been published widely.