Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race Matters-Even In The Trans Community

One of the issues I get pushback on by some people in the trans community is when I point out the numerous instances in which trans people of color are erased, ignored, or just flat out not talked about when it comes to trans community issues.

Some vanilla flavored or young POC transperson will read my stuff blasting the erasure and trot out various spin lines such as 'we're a small community', 'we're one people' accuse me of being 'too fixated on race' to deflect the reality that as a subset of the larger culture, the trans community is infected by the same ills and isms of the dominant culture.

And one of those isms that we don't grapple with enough is dealing with racism.

The other night I stumbled across an excellent article in my hometown newspaper that talked about transpeople.  The people interviewed in the Houston Chronicle article I consider friends. 

Give you a guess how many paragraphs of this article talked about transpeople of color much less interviewed any of us in the Houston area?     None. 

Note to transpeople:  I cannot say this enough.  Race matters in the trans community.   If you think it doesn't, here's a simple question.   Can you name five non-white national trans community leaders besides yours truly?

That's my point.

POC transpeople are beyond sick and tired of the erasure.   We're tired of taking the brunt of the anti-trans violence casualties and not being involved in making the policy decisions.  That frustration also includes media coverage that attempts to paint this community in a positive light..

As this theGrio.com LGBT leaders list shows, we sorely need to be acknowledged as part of the trans community.   We are erased to the point that even my own community can't name one African descended trans person who is a leader in this community, or aren't aware of our contributions to trans history, and that's pathetic.

To paraphrase the late Lena Horne, African American transpeople, our Latino/a colleagues and other POC trans people are not born to be second class citizens.   But that's the way we feel when we get erased.     

White transpeople get pissed when the GL community attempts to erase them from the GLBT community at large.  So why would you presume we're going to accept or sit quietly in the corner when you white transpeople treat us in a way that you yourselves would rebel against?  

So yes, race matters in the trans community, and I'm not going to let you forget that or attempt to forget that transpeople of color exist.

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