A QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) visibility company is archiving the authentic narratives of queer black and brown folk as a social justice initiative for public broadcasting and social networks. We were lucky enough to chat with the ever inspiring founder of Safewordsociety, Kristen McCallum.
Tell us your story: Who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Kristen McCallum and I’m a queer black woman living in Brooklyn, NYC. I’m from a town in Westchester County called Mt. Vernon, NY and I’m a writer, producer, speaker and entrepreneur. I’m also a Virgo, which should help explain why I do so many thing haha!
What was your motivation behind SafeWordSociety?
It all started with The SafeWordSociety Podcast, which was the first project of SafeWordSociety. If I’m being honest, all I wanted was for people to hear the kinds of discussions my friends and I would have. I think people expect that we don’t do anything but struggle and while that’s a huge part sometimes… it’s not everything. We live full lives, and I wanted to share that. I also selfishly just wanted to meet all of the cool folks that were out there having experiences they wanted to share… a shy woman’s dream for making friends I suppose!
Why is QTPOC visibility important to you?
It’s important to me because I’m tired of having to just take what I get, honestly. I can barely enjoy any kind of media because the consistent omittance of QTPOC+ narratives is exhausting. We’ve always been here and yet finding quality representation is scarce… over it.
From a blog to a podcast to a game, what has been the most surprising part of the journey you're on?
Being on it. Having the audacity to see a gap and decide that I’m the person to fill it… no one taught me to think that way. I’ve grown through that surprise though, a lot. I used to let it hold me back A LOT because I didn’t take myself seriously. Now, I’ve proven so much to myself and I’m in a better space to be surprised sometimes and keep it moving.
Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?
I’m really inspired by everyday people who are using their experiences to create roadmaps for others. I’m constantly drawn to folks who just want to help and create spaces for healing. I’m just very inspired by authenticity and resilience.
How can the community follow and support your upcoming projects?
Support for me looks like folks purchasing products, coming to events, booking me for events and spreading the word about the work. We also love donations so we can keep doing this good work, slide to our venmo @safewordsociety and show us some love! Follow @safewordsociety on Instagram, Twitter and FB and our website is www.safewordsociety.com. To follow me, book me and keep up with my writing...I’m @_kriskaye on Instagram and Twitter and my website is www.kristen-mccallum.com
What's next for you and SafeWordSociety?
I’m writing a book, which I’ve been putting off forever...that’s a plug for anyone who knows of an agent or publisher looking for an amazing queer black woman writer! SafeWordSociety is going to release some merchandise finally and is possibly adding another podcast to the roster! We are also looking for funding opportunities currently so we can expand our reach and really get into some more major projects.
What is the best advice you can give for QTPOC growing up today?
Sometimes what we need more than advice is reassurance…I could have definitely used it. I’d say...you are loved, you are seen and you are worth it. Non-negotiable.