Alison Williams AKA Sir Raven

Johnathan Blanc


Alison Williams came out in the LGBTQ+ leather, kink, and BDSM scene in the mid- ’1990s, when things were significantly different than they are today. “There were not many out Black, Brown, or POC folks,” Williams, also known as Sir Raven, recalls. “AIDS was still a thing. And I knew the perception some in the African American community had about the LGBTQ community and ‘freaky sex.’” Almost immediately, Williams set out to change the scene. With the help of her mentors and her knowledge from working at a public library, Williams says, “I set out to put into practice what I had been learning. I began educating on safer sex and how to do safer kink for organizers publicly.” They’re now CEO of BLX, an organization whose mission focuses on kinkinformed sex education, specifically reducing stigma in the Black and Brown LGBTQ+ leather, kink, and BDSM community, as well as in alternative relationships. Williams also assisted in forming ONYX Pearls New York-Northeast, which supports, educates, and empowers women of color in the leather and BDSM scene, and currently creates safe spaces and programming for young adults, specifically those who are queer, trans, and gender nonconforming. “As a gender nonconforming person, I have at times been able to use my ‘privilege’ to amplify the voices of people who present femme, nonbinary, and/ or trans folks,” Williams, who uses she/they pronouns, adds. “Likewise, as an African American GNC woman, I challenge those in spaces by taking up space.” A surprising fact about Williams: “Growing up, I wanted to be a mortician.”

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