Carolyn Wysinger has worked fiercely in the LGBTQ community in a plethora of capacities. As a blogger, she has written timely and insightful articles for blogs such as Autostraddle, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, and Media Diversified. As an author, Carolyn published her first book, Knockturnal Emissions, which has been listed on LGBTQ essential reading lists at several universities. She has also had stories published in Sinister Wisdom Literary Journal as well as anthologies Near Kin and Louisiana in Words. As a Masculine of Center model, Carolyn has modeled for Saint Harridan, Dapper Boi, and Kirrin Finch. She has walked the runway for Queer Fashion Week and is featured in Meg Allen’s photo book, “BUTCH.”
Wysinger has worked with various organizations to create queer spaces. She has served on the steering committee for Black Lesbians United and the board for the NIA Gathering for Same Gender Loving Women of African Descent. She currently sits on the board for the BUTCHVoices National Conference. In the area of politics, she is the former commissioner of Human Rights & Relations for the City of Richmond. Currently, she serves as the Board President for San Francisco Pride. She is a former Executive Board Member of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club, where she worked on the campaign to elect Long Beach’s first out Mayor Robert Garcia. She currently sits on the Executive Board of the Lambda Democratic Club of Contra Costa County and is one of the founding members of the Black Dems of Contra Costa County.
As an educator and workshop leader, Wysinger has facilitated workshops at BUTCHVoices, Black Lesbians United, BLAQout Conference, and Gender Spectrum. She is a faculty member at Richmond High School, where she teaches English and African-American Literature, while also serving as advisor for their Black Student Union, Majorette Squad and LGBTQ Student club. Many people know her as a vast and very vocal LGBTQ social media personality and the host of The C-Dubb Show, which is a black queer podcast. Wysinger sat down with us to discuss her career journey and activism for both the black and LGBTQ+ communities.
Glassdoor: Share your career journey. What led you down the path of your current activism for the LGBTQ+ community?
Carolyn Wysinger: I am a former teacher who found that I was more useful to my students as an advocate. My job is to provide advocacy for the black and LGBTQ+ communities. I decided to step out on faith and continue to look for opportunities to advocate for equity and access to the community.
Glassdoor: Share your coming out journey. What have you learned by being out?
Wysinger: My coming out journey has been a whirlwind. I will say that coming out at the age that I did (around 25) means that I came right out into advocacy work. So I have been doing this work for about 16 years. I have learned that there is SO much to do, and there are opportunities to grow, learn, and act in so many areas of our community. I have consistently done what I can to elevate my community, and I’m thankful to be able to continue to do it on this scale at SF Pride.
Glassdoor: What does Pride mean to you, and how are you planning to celebrate this year?
Wysinger: Pride means so many things. It’s a celebration of who we are, but it’s also, especially this year, it’s essential to see how much we MUST do. I am incredibly distressed, but the number of people who believe that Pride is mutually exclusive of the fight for Black liberation. I have made it my job to show the privilege of holding that kind of opinion and how folks that THINK they are doing something to support Black lives need to do better.
Glassdoor: What do you look for in an ally?
Wysinger: Someone who listens.