New exhibition recognizes Caribbean queer community

Members of the Caribbean Equality Project (from left): Mohamed Q. Amin, Sundari — The Indian Goddess, Andy K. Bishun, Krishna Ramsarran, Theo Brown, and Steven Rose.
Ryan Tiscareno

The Queens Museum is honoring the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the borough at a new exhibit this month. “The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens” is a multi-media display chronicling the history of the queer community from the 90s to present day. One of those images in the exhibit is of members of the Caribbean Equality Project (CEP), a Queens-based queer advocacy organization that will be celebrating their inclusion in the presentation with a tour of the display as part of their monthly meet-ups, said the founder and organizer of the group.

“Queer talk is our way of providing a guided tour and during this event we are going to discuss four features in the museum,” said Mohamed Amin. “‘The Lavender Line’ documents the history of activism and movement of organizations in Queens with audio, video, and photographs.”

He said that the group is especially proud of their placement in the project, especially as the sole queer Caribbean organization, highlighting not only him, but the team that helped get him to that position. And it was only right to celebrate them too, he added.

“The Caribbean Equality Project is the only Caribbean-focused agency featured in this exhibition and when I was selected to be part as an activist — I wanted to also share members of my team,” he said. “Throughout the exhibit there are sections that have individual activists or elected officials, but once you get to us, it’s a group photo.”

This fact is one of pride for the CEP, he added.

“We are incredibly proud but also humbled — this hasn’t been a very easy movement and it has been very struggling to some degree, but our monthly support group is the first of its kind directly targeted to support the Caribbean LGBT community,” said Amin.

He noted that the growth of the group and the space they provide for the borough’s LGBT community has come a long way, and is continuing to expand.

“When we started a year ago we only had five members who came regularly, but now we have 20-23 active members who come every month, and the program itself is growing,” said Amin.

At this event, members of the queer community along and the public will tour the exhibit with CEP, to be followed by a discussion. The change of environment for the meet-up was a great opportunity to try that, and give people a chance to learn a few things about how far the movement for gay rights have come, and what how the queer Caribbean community operates their cultural and sexual identities, said Amin.

“We also wanted to take our members out of the normal setting and we wanted our July session of ‘Unchained’ to go outdoors, and have a conversation with members on what it means to be LGBT and Caribbean, and what it means to our struggles,” he said.

“The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens” at Queens Museum [Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 23 at noon. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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