I continue to be amazed and appalled at the breathtaking levels of ignorance that have been leveled at transpeople by some of my fellow African-Americans.
That ignorance takes many forms. Sometimes it's people spouting anti-transgender comments steeped in bigoted stereotypes across the Net. Sometimes it's bloggers writing endless posts speculating on whether celebrities such as Ciara or Wendy Williams are transwomen because they have physical, emotional or behavioral traits that some people perceive as not belonging to their gender.
Sometimes it's hurling the 'tranny' epithet at women they don't like. Sometimes it's disrespectfully and cattily calling a transwoman who is unmistakably feminine on the outside and lives her life that way for decades a 'man'.
As I and every other African-American transperson will unfailingly remind our people, just because we transitioned doesn't mean we forfeited our Blackness as well.
It pains us African-American transpeople who deeply love and respect our people when the love and respect we show you isn't reciprocated.
It's irritating to African-American transwomen like myself that a man in drag who plays a semi-cartoonish caricature of a Black woman in a movie role is given more authenticity, respect, cachet and consideration by some of our biosisters.
At the same time, someone who has spent the time, money and exerted major effort to permanently morph their body to match that gender role, is daily living the life of one and wishes to be the best she can be at doing so is dogged out and disrespected.
Much of the ignorance on transgender issues in the community is because some of my peeps don't know about gender issues, don't wanna know, and want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that transgender people don't exist.
Some of them not only don't want to educate themselves on these issues, but want to pontificate, quote Bible verses out of context and pass judgment on our lives as if they do.
We transpeople are sick and tired of the increasing transphobia and our fellow African-Americans sitting silently on the sidelines as our civil rights not only get attacked by the Forces of Intolerance, but in many cases some of them are the facilitators of those attacks on our civil rights.
We are tired of some of you feeling you have the right to terminate, judge or jack with our lives to make your insecure behinds feel more like a 'man' or a 'woman'.
The point is, whether you want to believe it or not, gender is not an either/or proposition. Nothing in nature is, and you can ask our intersex friends about that if you think I'm kidding.
The fact that gender research keeps getting published that emphasizes what I and other transgender people talk about anecdotally and we're at least 3% of the population will ensure that we'll be garnering headlines for quite a while.
So get used to the fact that transgender people aren't going away, nor are we going back into the closet to make you feel better. Our existence causes you to exercise your brain cells and question every assumption ever made about gender identity and it's time for the African-American community to do, to paraphrase Dr. King, some hard solid thinking on the subject.
Ignorance is not bliss in this situation. We are part of the African-American family, and its past time that you treat us as such. We have far more in common than not and we would rather spend that time working together to solve what ails the African-American community rather than wasting time in a debate about our humanity.