Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Essence Transgender Article
As a longtime Essence reader I was pleasantly surprised to see a feature article about Los Angeles transwoman Cookie Fields in the November 2006 issue. It also didn't hurt that I got to read about Sanaa Lathan in the process ;)
One of the things that bugged me growing up was the lack of positive articles about transpeople who shared my ethnic heritage. With the only examples of transgender women of color being illusionists or street walkers, it was one of the factors that delayed my transition. It was a few years after I began my transition in 1994 that I started to run into African-American transpeople with professional backgrounds.
That's why having this article published in such an iconic magazine as Essence is so important. It emphatically says to our mainstream African-American community that yes, we do exist. It educates our people by helping to dispell misconceptions that have arisen about us due to the lack of media coverage, lack of information and not enough of us willing to tell our stories. It's one of the major reasons I agreed to do the Courier-Journal article that's posted to the blog.
I enjoyed reading Cookie's story. She's featured in the documentary movie called 'The Cookie Project' and was an LAPD officer and a Marine. But hers is just one of the fascinating stories that all African-American transpeople have to tell.
I hope this is just the beginning of a flood of positive articles on transpeople in our media outlets as time passes. I would love to see stories that expound on us running for and winning political races, succeeding in the business and other arenas and taking our rightful place as contributing members of our African-American community.
This was just one step in that process. It is past time for the African-American community to acknowledge and embrace their transgender brothers and sisters. In adddition, I hope that this article and future ones will help foster a dialogue in our community that will ease the apprehensions that many African-American families have about gender issues. Once that occurs, it will make it easier for African-American transkids to come out and live happier, more productive lives.