Portrait of Esther

Esther, a black queer woman in Berlin

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Esther from New York to Berlin

Esther was born in Germany, near Cologne. At age three she moved to New York City, grew up in neighborhoods of Jamaica, Queens and the Bronx, and lived there all her life. Then she started traveling in Europe and moved to Berlin. She is now studying German to resume her studies in graphic communications. She misses New York. For what reasons? Relations with people are simpler, where one can be oneself unlike in Berlin where people are colder.

Portrait of Esther

American, Nigerian & German Sinti

Her father is Nigerian and her mother is German Sinti. Since Esther grew up with her father, she was raised in the Nigerian and the American culture. She sees herself as she does. She’s not familiar with Sinto culture. However, she would like to know more. In her family, there is a book that commemorates the memory of those who died in the genocide. The older people are still as marked by the Holocaust as Esther says, especially since they have never been able to benefit from psychological support. They were considered racially inferior in Nazi Germany. Several thousand Sinti found themselves in the concentration camps, victims of all the atrocities inflicted on them.

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Today, media is still portraying Romani people in a negative way. They are people who are marginal, who cannot integrate, who do not respect the rules. She sees it with how her family is treated and when asked about her background the surprised, mixed reaction of some people, who still have prejudices. Regardless of these Sinti origins, she is not ashamed.

Being black and queer

Sexism, racism, and transphobia also affect the LGBT community. Being queer is more inclusive to minorities within the LGBT community and is a way to refuse this binary vision of sexuality and gender identity. It is not conforming to heteronormativity that society defines as normal. The personalities that inspire her? The personalities that inspire her? Audre Lorde, Laverne Cox, two famous black women queer, from different periods who are models of success.

 

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Audre Lorde – Robert Alexander/Getty Images

 

Laverne Cox photographed by Janell Shirtcliff

By seeing these models, some people may feel better about themselves.  Although there are known influential personalities, queer people remain invisible in the media. Her hopes? That in the future queer black and people of color representation will be normalized not just in media but everyday life and that they will not have to justify their existence.

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