One thing my biosisters have told me over the years is that we transwomen and they have far more in common with each other than the things that separate us. In many ways, we share the same trials and tribulations they do.
One of those things as I pointed out in a previous post is the dissing of African-American beauty. I got another taste of it as I was recently visiting a transgender dating website.
While I was lurking, there was a discussion thread in which the guys started talking about the ethnicity of the transwomen they were attracted to, liked to date and the qualities they thought made them attractive.
When one of the guys noted in his post that he liked African-American transwomen, one person posted a derisive comment about it which he punctuated with the words, 'they're ugly and look like men!'
After a few transsisters who were members of this particular online community blasted him for his ignorance, I signed out and started pondering what would make this person say that.
One of the factors is that beauty has been defined for centuries in a Eurocentric context. We saw an example just last week when Maxim magazine published their list of what they considered the 100 most beautiful women. Only six Black women made that list, and none of them were in the Top Ten. (FYI they were 14 Beyonce, 15 Rihanna, 37 Ashanti, 42 Zoe Saldana, 63 Selita Ebanks, 72 Gabrielle Union, 77 Alicia Keys)
No Meagan Good, no Halle Berry, no Tyra Banks, not even Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart...you get the picture.
Maybe if Mr. Black Transwoman Beauty Critic stepped away from his computer and quit surfing the adult websites, he'd get a little 'ejumacation' in terms of the varied beauty of my transsistahs. I have homegirls who if I didn't know their status, would have never guessed they were born boys. They would take great offense as I do to this person's ignorant characterization of us as 'ugly' and 'looking like men'.
It would also be a great surprise for this person and his friends who may harbor the same negative stereotypes to discover that transwomen don't have to come from Thailand, Brazil, the Philippines, Mexico or assorted European countries to be considered beautiful. As an FYI to Mr. Black Transwoman Hater, the Brazilian transwomen you think are so 'exotic' looking have the same African bloodlines that I and my African-American sisters do.
If this person has the time to roll up to Chicago on Labor Day weekend, I'd suggest that he check out the latest edition of the Miss Continental Pageant that nine sistahs have won over its twenty plus year history. I'd like to point out that sistahs have won the last three titles in a row.
I haven't even touched on the other pageant systems that Black transwomen are competitive in, much less the ballroom community that's a showcase for our beauty, creativity and talent. Some of my sisters went from walking ballroom runways to fashion runways as well.
One of the reasons we have Black run ones such as the Miss Black Universe, Duval and the other Black transgender pageant systems is because the negative African-American beauty perceptions that were espoused by this person are sadly part of the dominant culture. The end result is a perception in our GLBT subset of it that results in Black transwomen not getting fair shakes in judging when they compete in predominately white GLBT pageants.
Far from being 'ugly' or 'looking like men', my sisters and I run the gamut in skin tones from vanilla creme to the deepest darkest ebony hue. We vary in height from a petite 5 foot 1 to a statuesque 6 foot 2 and up. We have luscious and dangerous curves over every square inch of our bodies. We can wear any fabric from silk to leather and it looks sexy on us. When we do our hair in the various lengths and styles to complement what Mama, nature and hormones gave us, you pause while out come the claws from the insecure women that don't measure up.
Yes, my sisters and I are smart, talented, beautiful and strong women. Maybe the reason this person uttered that statement is because he wasn't man enough to step to us with the class and dignity it's going to take to capture our hearts.
There are a lot of words you can use to describe me and my transsisters. But 'ugly' ain't one of them.
TransGriot Note: Women in photos are Tracy Africa, actress Meagan Good, Stasha Sanchez