by Princess Harmony Rodriguez
BGD’s Crush of the Month is a feature where we choose the most swoon-worthy and inspirational QTPoC whose work and flair has left us inspired and blushing. Then we interview them so our amazing readers can join us in crushing, fanning, and absolutely swooning over these amazing QTs.
This month’s crush is Anthony Williams. He’s a writer, the Editor in Chief for Afrikan Black Coalition, and a co-creator of the Twitter hashtags #BlackWomenDidThat and #MasculinitySoFragile. He passionately defends Black women and trans people, calling on black men to fight misogynoir and transmisogyny. His work on masculinity is particularly required reading. A talented activist, Anthony’s writings have dealt with some pretty heavy topics but one common thread ties them all together: his passion to defend Blackness and Black people from a world set against them.
Has it gotten hot in here, or is it just us? Without further ado, here’s Anthony!
Princess: First things first, your hashtags. I get squicked out when I get more than a few retweets, so having a hashtag go viral – let alone two – is a lot. How was the reception to the hashtags for you? Did you receive a lot of pushback?
Anthony: Well, #BlackWomenDidThat was received a lot better than #MasculinitySoFragile, I can tell you that much. With BWDT there was a celebration of Blackness and when the pilgrims got mad and inevitably created #WhiteWomenDidThat, it was quickly trolled by Black folks talking about the rather unconscionable things that white women have done.
#MasculinitySoFragile got me called a pawn of bitter feminists, a faggot, a death wish or two. One of the issues, too, was less about pushback and more about a distortion of the message. Folks kept writing about the way masculinity plays into gendered products rather than talking about the violence that is the byproduct of toxic masculinity.
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Princess: To challenge toxic masculinity as you have and to see how it connects to social injustices requires a lot of looking inward and challenging internalized norms. How did this journey of yours begin? What set you down the path of standing up for women and challenging your own internalized bullshit?
Anthony: Being real with myself, it’s only been in the last three years that I’ve been conscious about consistently looking as inward as I have. I’m lucky to have been raised by a Black mother who keeps me in check, but I’m also a cis man with the ego of a cis man living in a cisheteropatriarchal society. So for the longest time, I was one of those queers who thought he was inherently better because he was queer, rather than realizing I can commit a lot of violence too. So for me it was multiple points of entry. Seeing how my mom was treated, seeing how differently I was treated in South Africa, taking academic courses that introduced me to intersectionality and the work of women of color. I’ve always been surrounded by brilliant women of color, but I think I actually started listening and reading what they were saying in the last three years.
Princess: Let’s shift more towards romance. Knowing what you know about toxic masculinity, what does this knowledge do for you in the bedroom? How have you removed the toxicity from whatever your hookup or relationship rituals are?
Anthony: Consent and ownership are probably the most clear markers of removing the toxicity from romance. I’m 27, and I’ve been dating since I was about 16. When I reflect on past relationships I realize that I was emotionally manipulative, with consent never really being talked about by either party in the relationship. I had one partner who felt rejected because there were two times I didn’t want to have sex. In my relationships in the past year and a half, I’ve tried to really rid myself of the fucked up idea that a relationship means complete ownership and continual consent. These were ideas I was taught through social scripts and didn’t realize until I surrounded myself with people who are willing to have these discussions.
Princess: A lot of people have an idea of what they want their partner to be like. Do you have any requirements for your partner? Do you like em tall? With a beard?
Anthony: Haha, this is a funny question. I’m 5’ 7” so most of my previous partners have been taller than me, but that’s not a requirement. And often I have more “DON’TS” than “DOS.” I don’t do well with a partner who drinks or uses drugs frequently. And cigarettes are an absolute no-no. I also don’t date white men anymore, prefer Black men, but I’m open to men of color as long as they are educated about anti-Blackness. I prefer a man with brown or darker skin, facial hair is great but not required, I usually like men a little older than me, and they gotta be able to both listen and hold their own in a conversation with me. I talk a lot, and I process through talking, so if my partner is too quiet it’s a problem. Also they have to really like to cuddle or be fine with me wanting to cuddle with them. And they also have to be generous; completely selfish folks don’t draw me in, although there is definitely a time and place for selfishness.
Princess: What’s your love life currently like? Do you have a partner? Are you looking?
Anthony: I do have a partner. I try not to talk about his business because that’s his business, but he brings me a lot of joy. He’s Black (yay!) but he’s younger than me, something I typically avoid. He’s funny, attractive, silly, and surprising in ways that I really enjoy. We met near the end of last year and played a game of cat and mouse for awhile before finally committing to a monogamous relationship a few months ago.
Princess: For our last question, let’s talk about music! What’s songs have you been playing lately? What’s your favorite album this year so far and why?
Anthony: I’ve been playing a lot of oldies, actually. “Meeting in the Ladies Room” and “Saturday Night Love” have been on repeat lately. But in regards to albums, it’s gotta be Lemonade. Many Black women have written about it much better than I could, but to put it simply: Lemonade makes me feel feelings. Beyoncé’s artistry really came through with this visual album in a way that I still can’t get over. This woman is brilliant. Beyoncé? That album? The Formation World Tour? She is, hands down, one of the best performers of our generation and if folks don’t want to recognize that then I really don’t know what to tell them.
Princess Harmony is an afrolatin trans girl who speaks in the language of fire. She’s also unapologetic weeb trash that likes anime, video games, and visual novels. Go figure! <3