Zarita Zevallos is a Haitian photographer and architect based in New York. Zarita portrays different aspects of masculinity through Kòktèl. Kòktèl, the Haitian creole term which translates to the cocktail, is about exploring the diversity of masculinity. A cocktail is defined as a mixture of often diverse elements or ingredients. Zarita wanted to visually express the diversity of masculinity through thread bending, colors and movement. Her photography expresses the turmoil that different men experience, it represents the way men spin the web of their individuality. Masculinity has been socially and biologically defined. Men have had to create and mold their personalities around the norms and sets of values associated with society’s masculinity. As the current millennial generation breaks out of the confined boxes set by society, artists depict the journey of individuality through different forms of expression. Men within different communities like the LGBTQI community are now able to express and create their own forms of masculinity.
Who am I to speak on behalf of a gender that I do not identify as, therefore I let those who do speak. Don’t deny them of freedom because they are different than you:
“I feel like there’s a lot of violence attached to hyper masculinity. I am a black queer cis-man, and I had an uncle tell me as a kid, that if anyone one was gay, he’d beat you. When you hear that, you develop shame for yourself, you internalize homophobia; you are silenced in your house. It’s ironic that it happens in the home that reminds you how much you’re loved.” – Axandre, 29
“As a Black Man of Transition, (I say this instead of Black Transman because I identify as a man: being transgender is simply a part of that identity just like in addition to me being 5’8″, tatted, having long hair, etc. Yes, I identify as both a Black man and as a Black Transman for transgender advocacy purposes but that’s not all that I am so I prefer to be known as a simply a man of transition. I mean, after all, humans are in transition.) Due to all parts of my whole I am often confronted with this ideology of not being perceived or respected as a man and/or not being included in the black fight for equality simply because I am a man of transition. It troubles me that often the black community is unable to accept persons of difference especially when it comes to people in the LGBTQI community when we’re all fighting for the same things; freedom and equality under the umbrella of human rights. This is something I grapple over daily because the black community cannot progress and get the rights that ALL BLACK PEOPLE deserve if LGBTQI persons are not respected as crucial members of the fight. Take for example PRIDE events: a lot of black people are ignorant to the fact that it’s actually a celebration of black history just as much as it is about a person’s gender/sexuality freedom. If it weren’t for Black Transwomen there would be no PRIDE celebrations across the nation as they were the ones who fought the police and risked their lives for the freedom of LGBTQI persons but indeed this is a crucial part of black history as well that is not noted or mentioned simply because of their identity. The black community often refuses to accept the true identities of even prominent Black writers and authors such as Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde, etc. because there is a notion that what they did for the black community is more significant than their sexuality when indeed it’s both very relevant for why they felt the need to be authentic and share their stories with the world. ” – Sir Knight, 29 (@BlackTransTV)