February is a significant month for several reasons. As we celebrate Black History, we also observe the violence teen dating often entails as this month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It is estimated that 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. Additionally, it is reported that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Therefore, it is important to begin a conversation about the importance of healthy relationship practices to break this cycle. BlakSyn was up for the task- and they educated members of the Pride Center community about the importance of consent during the “Kinky People of Color: The Facets of Consent” event.
BlakSyn, is a queer non-binary man (they/him), a practitioner of BDSM, a sex worker, an author and a Philadelphia transplant hailing from Chicago. At the event, BlakSyn broke down the facets of consent in simple yet effective terms. Consent comes with a side order of the acronym F.R.I.E.S. In other words, consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and the terms of consent are specific. Furthermore,Blaksyn also explained how the facets of consent should be applied in regards to marginalized communities such as the LGBT+.
Members of the Pride Center community were not only engaged with BlakSyn’s presentation- but were also intrigued and inspired by BlakSyn’s various projects. For instance, BlakSyn’s project, BlackandBrownandBlue, was created by and for QT/BI(POC) in kink/fetish settings to combat the lack of representation of marginalized individuals in various media. You can learn more about BlakSyn and their work by visiting their website https://blaksyn.wordpress.com/
Tina Cortes, also affectionately known as “Peaches” by friends and fans alike, delighted members of the Pride Center community when she traveled to Highland Park for a discussion event about her work as an illustrator.
However, Tina is not your typical illustrator- she has not only shared her experiences through her autobiographical comic strip “Peach Fuzz”, but has also delighted fans with her “Dr. Zesty” series, that centers around pin-up, titular characters and their sexy, horror-themed antics. Both projects have inspired cosplayers around the world to dress up as her characters, and have inspired fans to create their own fan art of Tina’s characters. Above all, Tina’s work has allowed her to serve as a beacon to the LGBT+ community around the world.
For this past discussion event, Tina discussed her life and her path to becoming an accomplished illustrator. She answered questions from the group, and excited fans with personalized giveaways. She also stayed after to enjoy pizza with members of the community before her journey back to Philadelphia. Tina’s visit was certainly a great start to 2019, as we all eagerly await to see how the stories of her characters evolve in the coming year!