Outside the XY: Queer, Black and Brown Masculinity is an anthology of more than 50 stories, memories, poems, ideas, essays and letters--all examining what it looks like, feels like, and is like to inhabit masculinity outside of cis-gendered manhood as people of color in the world. Read these passionate, complex autobiographical glimpses into the many layers of identity as the authors offer olive branches to old and new lovers.
The ground-breaking anthology was the brainchild of the bkyln boihood collective who brought together the unique voices of a movement to share often neglected experiences across queer and trans masculinity.
Morgan Mann Willis, the lead editor on the anthology, explained how the book came about. “Images have always been our primary vehicle of storytelling for bklyn boihood. We produce an annual calendar, manage visually-driven social media platforms and build archives of visual art from our community. But the way we connected and grew was born out of words and stories. This anthology is a web spun of words that explore love, sadness, regret, sex, support, hard questions, ideas and dreams for black and brown bois of color all over the world.”
bklyn boihood, now in it's sixth year, is a collective that champions the healthy, engaging and transformative identities of black and brown queer bois, transmen, AGs, studs, butches, doms, masculine of center lesbians, third gender and gender non-conforming people. "We are a collective and a family who works really hard to make room for the fullness of who we each are and how we identify. Masculinity and the way we've had to navigate it is a huge part of our lives. Most of us found each other pre-tumblr, pre-twitter, pre-instagram. Pre-androgyny as fashion. We connected with one another through words and stories. They weren't always eloquent or pretty," says Morgan Mann Willis, the anthology's lead editor, "but they were ours to tell."
The commitment to the collective's roots ensures that the anthology does not read like a textbook; more like a confessional. It reads like a bunch of bois got together and started sharing the experiences of their lives. "This collection is the resource we wish we had access to growing up. It just continues the tradition of building real connections through vulnerability and honesty--and makes us accessible to one another and we need that desperately. This book is a part of ensuring we are never erased from the consciousness of this earth," says Ryann Holmes, co-founder of bklyn boihood and an anthology contributor.
The goal of the anthology was to be uplifting, to consider and explore the authors’ various masculine identities as non cis-gendered males, or those traditionally born with the "XY" chromosome, which the collective considers “a radical act of self-love and affirmation.”
Said the editors, “Outside the XY has been a labor of love, honesty, writing and representation in ways that as a collective, we never dreamed possible. We are excited to share this book with the world and grateful that the contributors shared their world with us.”