It’s Cody! Meet Lawrence Times columnist Cody Charles

Note: The Lawrence Times runs opinion columns and letters to the Times written by community members with varying perspectives on local issues. These pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.

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Hello, Lawrence!

I think it’s important to share a bit more information about myself, if we’re to create and build any community through my columns. Let me share a few things about myself below. 

I love ALL Black people at my core; however, I’ve chosen to spend my energy protecting, advocating for, loving on, breathing life into and creating possibility for quite frankly the most brilliant, the bravest, the baddest Blackest queerest people on earth. We labor, experience overwhelming trauma only to die early and die erased. So, please understand, you’ve been lovingly warned that this is my personal politic. 

I enjoy pop culture, and try my best to consume it through the lens of a radical Black queer elder named Bertha. I believe Fantasia Barrino is one of the best singers of our time. Serena Williams and Beyoncé are the GOATs of life. Michelle Kwan taught me the rules of being gay. Dominique Dawes helped me understand Black girls better. “True Blood,” seasons 1-3, still has some of the best queer content; and Lafayette is one of the most full Black queer characters in television history (rip Nelsan Ellis). “Hamilton,” although wonderfully executed, is not radical art. And Cuee Music is my favorite local artist. 

I want to barter with a personal trainer — trade a few sessions for a liberation or accountability workshop for them and a few friends. I want to throw the most epic 90s party, blasting legends like Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, En Vogue, SWV, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah and a little Diddy and Mase — sorry, young folk. 

I want Widow Von’Du to put me in drag for the first time; I want emergency housing and funds for Black trans kids. I want a Black trans-owned coffee shop and bookstore. I want Popeyes but the Popeyes from the south. I want free childcare and doggie daycare for the folks intentionally placed in poverty. I want the rich and the wealthy to realize that they don’t need to hoard all of the resources to live a beautiful life. I want a butt job; yes, you heard me right — I struggle keeping my jeans around my hip. I want extensive dental work — maybe veneers. I want my Black mother to never have to worry about money as she lives out her best days. I want therapy for all Black folks by well-paid Black queer therapists. I want to buy a cruise ship, and invite the folks who labor the most so they could simply rest. 

Mostly, I want to rest. 

I do not have any degrees around therapy or certifications around life coaching. I am not perfect. And I am often wrong. However, I have strong intuition, I’m emotionally connected to myself and practice dreaming beyond rules and policies. 

I’m continuously growing and evolving more into myself. I have lots of privilege, and lots of experience with oppression. 

I’m learning to give myself grace, feel unadulterated joy and honor my body. 

I’m cute. I’m single. And at this stage of life, I’m choosing to live … for me. 

Follow me on my social media accounts. 

– Cody Keith Charles (all pronouns) is the Founder and Executive Director of Haus of McCoy, a queer and trans community center in Lawrence, Kansas. Moreover, Cody is a writer, facilitator, cultural critic and dreamer who critiques pop culture at the intersection of liberation. Cody enjoys trash TV, spending time with beautiful queer people and loving on their dog, Monét.

Find Cody on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Read more of Cody’s writing on Medium. Read more of Cody’s writing for the Times here.

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