Monday, December 06, 2010

In Search Of A National Community

We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people in search of a national community.    Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

When I read that quote from the late Rep. Jordan (damn, I miss her), while it wasn't specifically about the African descended trans community,  it was the first thing I thought about when I pondered her words because it is so applicable to us. .

We are a minority community within a larger marginalized trans one  We African descended transpeople have been in a quandary aimlessly wandering the trans wilderness for almost 50 years.   We have spent our present dealing with problems on multiple fronts while searching for the Promised Land of our future, a unified Afrocentric national community that determines its own political destiny 

Much of the African American trans community's quandaries about our present lie in the fact that much of our history was lost to us.   It happened because our elders passed away without documenting or orally passing on the things they accomplished.   Pioneering African descended trans people followed the HBIGDA/WPATH dictates of the time, transitioned and faded away into their new post surgical lives never to be heard from again as our people's ranks were decimated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 80's.          

In some cases our contributions to TBLG history were whitewashed out of GLBT history or thanks to digitizing of magazines and books it is just now being revealed to us by our elder stateswomen such as Miss Major and Lady Java..   

We are sick and tired of being sick and tired of not being participants in the senior leadership ranks of the national trans community despite taking the brunt of the casualties and anti-trans hatred.   We are frustrated that some of the loudest, most ignorant faith based haters of transpeople share our ethnic heritage.   We are alarmed about the high unemployment rates and HIV/AIDS infection rates ravaging our segment of the trans community    We are disturbed about the shame and guilt issues permeating our community.    We are angry about the deaf ear the predominately white trans community leadership turns to our calls to play a more meaningful role in determining the course of the trans community, but blow our phones and e-mail up when you need melanin for certain photo-ops

We are a people in search of our future.   We realized that the situation we were mired in of us being leaderless, adrift, being ignored and disrespected by the white dominated trans leadership and others while feeling like invisible men and women to our African-American cis family is no longer acceptable to us.  

We needed to take control of our destiny and become the empowered mighty people that God created us to be.    It is why we African descended transpeople are looking for visionary leadership during these critical times.   

We are having healthy internal debates about not only what the definition of leadership is as it applies to our community, but the fitness of those persons who step up and offer to lead.

We are also through ongoing dialogue trying to ascertain what the best and most expeditious approach is to building that cumulative power to tackle the myriad problems facing us.   

It is why we are coming out of the shadows  to build the national community we are in search of.     We are taking a lesson from our great grandparents playbook by organizing ourselves.   Since the vanilla trans community isn't or won't willingly share power and the seats at the large table to help shape policy decisions for the community, we'll make it a FUBU project and do it our damned selves.   We are seeking to build lasting national level organizations and infrastructure of our own which will have an Afrocentric stamp to it.

We African descended transpeople will determine our political destiny, not have it dictated to us by people whose policy agendas are hostile to us or don't mesh neatly  with our own.

We are working to eradicate the shame and guilt that plagues our community by pointing out that we have as African descended transpeople a proud history.   We have heroes and sheroes.   We have out and proud African descended transpeople in various walks of life to point to with pride to begin the hard work of dispelling the negative memes that have been pimped about chocolate transpeople. .

The TransGriot is determined that as long as her blog exists, never again will a trans child of African descent or an African American transperson grow up or transition without knowing their chocolate flavored trans history.

Neither shall they do so without knowing who their heroes and sheroes are.. 

The best part is that we are using social media to reach out to each other, communicate, forge those bonds with each other, tell our stories as we continue our ongoing search to build a national community.

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