If you're heading to L.A. Pride this weekend, you might run into Qween Amor. She’s a 29-year old activist who dances in public to reverse biases about transgender people.
That's just what happened to Andrew Martinez on a recent afternoon in Pershing Square. Martinez sat down to have a cigarette and watch Qween Amor dance. She wore short shorts, a tank top that said "Love," and held had a big red sign that read the same. She twirled and twerked on the street corner and in the sidewalk when the light turned red.
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At first, it was difficult for Martinez to see Amor as a woman.
"No, it’s not a her," he said, crossing his big tattooed arms, "I like how she dances, but I know he is a man."
But then, Martinez watched Amor for a while longer. He called her over and asked her how it was possible she could have better dance moves than a woman.
"I don't know if it's moving better than a woman," Amor said, slowly. "I think it's being more comfortable in my body, and being able to express that love in my body, and authentically be myself in my body."
But Martinez pressed on.
"But I was watching you. You can move better than a female. Why?
Amor tried again to explain, but eventually she just started laughing.
"You move good, I got respect for you," Martinez said. She was sitting on the sidewalk; he on a low bench, smoking a cigarette. "I don't care what you are, what you wanna be, or what you try to be. I respect you for who you are. And I like that, the way you move that thing!"
Amor got up and started dancing again. This time, Martinez sang along and started yelling at other people to watch her.
"Hey! She dance good, right?"
Amor spent three hours dancing at Pershing Square. Lots of people came up to her to take pictures or cellphone videos. But afterwards, she said it was the interaction with Martinez that was most meaningful.
"That is why I do what I do," she said, noting that less than an hour of watching her dance, and after talking with her briefly, Martinez had switched to using "she."
"I can’t change the dynamic of the world. But if I can change a few minds one day at a time, that adds up."