Femmes Before Literally Everything

28 Sep

Amanda Arkansassy Harris, femme vivante and artist, left this mortal plane to meet up with Patsy Cline in honky-tonk heaven on Friday, September 23rd, 2016

She left behind a very tiny, yet regal, dog named Memphis and her wide spread family, both birth and chosen

Amanda spent her whole life in service to her queer community, seeking to create and foster spaces of inclusion and intersectionality, and finding ways to interlace that activism with art any chance she could. Because of her incredible work curating shows such as Y’all Come Back: Stories of Queer Southern Migration, and the beautiful and vulnerable photography and storytelling work she did showcasing femmes in her recent photo series Femme Space in the National Queer Arts Festival she was chosen by KQED Arts to be featured in their “Women To Watch” series.

For over 10 years, Amanda worked in the non-profit sector, where she was a tireless advocate for LGBTQ youth. She was on the board of CAR (Center for Artistic Revolution), and credits her art-activist roots to CAR, who made space at the table for her when she was an undergrad working with UCA PRISM and Conway League of Queer Activists. She believes CAR and its programs, including the youth program, are essential lifelines for queer folks in Arkansas. She was endlessly passionate about getting resources for queer folks in the South, especially in Arkansas.

In her personal life, Amanda was in love with being in love, a true romantic, with a heart made of Arkansas diamonds. She would often get lost in rural areas, camera in hand, photographing and documenting what the world left behind and nature came to take back. While she loved her west coast living, Amanda’s heart was always in the Arkansas flat lands where her rural queer femme roots sparked and took flight, and her deep love of butch/femme ancestry was born. Her small town heart made many transplant queers in her community feel loved in the small ways that folks like her performed kindness. She would always call people on their most important days, bring a casserole or dessert for those recovering from illness, and her charm and sparkle was truly infectious. Amanda was generous and expansive, an amazing friend and lover, and ready for any whirlwind moment that might catch her up in its electricity for a spell.

Amanda was a femme’s femme, stole hearts with a flick of her acrylics and a toss of her hair, and was loved by many. Her community will miss her country ways, effervescent laughter, razor sharp mind, and ever fabulous style.

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