Ask Cody: Queering intimacy (Column)

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Note: Ask Cody is a regular opinion feature that Cody Keith Charles writes for The Lawrence Times. Community Voices pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.

Read previous editions of Ask Cody here.

Intimacy: [ in-tuh-muh-see ]

1. the moments we risk allowing others to experience us in our fullness with intentional minimization of shame, ego and performance. The precious sisters, truth and trust, must be at the center, and power is healthily negotiated. It is not defined, nor rooted in, sexual relations, desirability or labor. Instead, it’s propped up by deviance and defiance, and moves us all closer to liberation. The outcome of intimacy is discovery and exploration, and routine practice of intimacy moves us past the impossible. 

Imagine the power one holds when intimacy is in practice. 

Imagine the dynamic shifts in simple meanings of words like kindness, generosity, respect, integrity, responsibility and accountability in a more intimate world. 

2. Intimacy is often weaponized by power and not afforded to many divine Black humans. 

Deviant Black people are punished by the intentional withholding of intimacy (and nuance). It makes Black trans people even less human and easier to kill, both in theory and practice. 

It is possible for a Black trans person to go their entire life without experiencing such moments. Intimacy does not equal years in a relationship or the frequency in which we negotiate space and time with someone or the contrived moments we share on social media. It’s not the performance of a talk before bed; it’s not the commitment to a weekly friend night or date night; and it’s not the performance of some (organized) religious righteousness or one passionate night of erotic play (notice I said one). 

3. Some of the most vulnerable and marginalized Black people will die before experiencing something so beautiful, so freeing and quintessentially human. This is all a part of the plan of disappearing Black trans people. 

4. Knowing who you are is essential to creating intimacy, loving yourself is not;

Being able to describe your personal politic and live in alignment (to that politic) is essential to creating intimacy, perfection is not; 

Risking comfort and eradicating tradition is essential to creating intimacy, dying is not; 

5. On the way to intimacy with a Black trans person can look like … 

moving beyond knowing our pronouns in an effort to learn more about our gender and how our gender shapes our living. 

asking about our passions, our creations and our needs (even around mentally, emotionally, and financially transitioning).

adding context to our living, honing in on the beautiful nuances of being Black and trans. 

loving us in public!

and sharing secrets with us, in an attempt for our truest selves to connect.

6. The opposite of intimacy is not being distant; it is loneliness

Example of intimacy used in a sentence

Josie craves intimacy within relationships, but sadly most of their relationships are built on performance and niceties instead of honesty, truth and risk. 

Words related to intimacy


radically connected 

soul warming






radical self-work





– 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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