Photo by Charla Harlow (charlaharlow.com)

ELIXHER recently chatted with Genesis and Ryann from Bklyn Boihood, a collective that provides visibility and promotes the empowerment of masculine of center bois, lesbians, queers, trans-identified studs, doms, butches and AGs of color. The dynamic duo talks friendship, what we can expect this year from the Bklyn Boihood and their love for the borough.

ELIXHER: How did you guys meet?
RYANN: This is becoming like a love story.
GENESIS: It all started one summer day…
RYANN: The sun was shining bright. [Laughs.] So, it was 2006. Gen was working at a place that I got hired at as a receptionist. I was really, really bad at it. We became friends because she was, as my peer, like, “Yo, you’re about to get fired.” No one else was telling me that I was a really horrible employee. So we just hit it off ever since.
GENESIS: We’ve always had a very fun friendship. Bklyn Boihood embodies a lot of how we are as friends in that it’s very light and very fun.

ELIXHER: How’d the concept of Bklyn Boihood come about?
GENESIS: You tell that story really well.
RYANN: Do I?
GENESIS: Yea.
RYANN: We were hanging out one day, chilling, just got haircuts from Khane, and I was just like, “Damn, I’m feeling real fly.” Gen was like, “Yea, me too.” We were looking in the mirror like we should do something.
GENESIS: Those who know me know I stay in the mirror, ok?
RYANN: I yelled from across the apartment, “I know what we can do!” She was like, “What?” I was like, “We should fucking put out a calendar!” She was like, “What?” I was like, “A calendar.” She was like, “Let’s do it.” And from that one idea we kept developing our brand, our business. It really just fell into place but we had always in some way cultivated our work relationship through our friendship. So yea, it felt like the most feasible, fun thing to do. We had a fucking blast.
GENESIS: And we’re still having a blast. [Laughs.]

ELIXHER: What can we expect from Bklyn Boihood this year?
RYANN: Magic. We’ve just been hinting to everyone that June is going to be our month. Just harness some of the really dope energy that’s surrounding this project. Bringing people together in spaces we haven’t really brought them together in yet.
GENESIS: We are still putting out the parties. And we’ll still have a new calendar.
RYANN: That will drop in the fall. We’ll still have the blog and the content will just keep getting better. And our YouTube channel will be popping this year as well.

ELIXHER: Why is what you do important?
RYANN: It’s important for folks to be affirmed and validated. We needed that in our lives as we developed and we’ve become even greater people because of it. The idea is to challenge identity and break down all the shit that’s just been constructed, even within our own community.
GENESIS: I think we’re very fortunate to live in a city like New York, but New York can jade the hell out of you. The reality of it is, when we part, I’m just another dyke on the street. So it is very important to create a wider awareness of each other just to understand that we are within reach in times of need, in times of chilling. Visibility is really, really important.

ELIXHER: Definitely. What does being a boi mean to you?
RYANN: “Boi” is obviously a play on the word “boy.” For me it creates a sense of fluidity in how we present ourselves. The masculine spectrum is all over. It’s all about how you identify, how you own your space. Personally, it’s a softer word. I never identified with butch, AG or dom.
GENESIS: None of those terms ever really felt sexy enough for me.

ELIXHER: You both obviously have a lot of Brooklyn pride. What makes you proud to be from Brooklyn?
GENESIS: That’s another interview. [Laughs.] I’m a real Brooklyn girl. I do have a special love for Brooklyn. It is a special place. Many of my memories are here. Brooklyn is a unique space. It’s a very eclectic space.

ELIXHER: There are a lot of neighborhoods in Brooklyn that aren’t very queer-friendly. Is it ever hard to be queer and have that Brooklyn pride?
GENESIS: It initially was because I’m from Brooklyn and I’m a late bloomer, so when I came out, initially it was very difficult. As I’ve matured, it’s not. But I’m more concerned with how amazing shoes look than I am about how much of a dyke I look like.
RYANN: There’s a lot of work to do but we’re kind of deep out here. Like, our folks are out here. The message is if you’re courageous enough to just be you wherever you’re at, that presence really helps. Some people are still fucked up, but there’s a lot of folks out here that are ready to just move pass this madness. I can be myself more here than anywhere else I’ve been. I’m proud of Brooklyn.

For more on Bklyn Boihood, visit here!

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