Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Need 'Trans Leaders', Not 'Leading Trans' People

One of the highlights of the 2007 Tavis Smiley State Of The Black Union event for me was when Dr. Julia Hare of the Black Think Tank spelled out in a fiery speech the difference between 'Black leaders' and 'leading Blacks'.

Dr. Hare noted that iconic Black leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ida B. Wells, and Harriet Tubman "didn't put themselves first; they put the community first, unlike many of today's supposed Black leaders." She noted that the difference between Black leaders and "leading Blacks." was that leading Blacks "get paid while you (the community) get played."

Damn, sounds familiar to the leadership issues we have in the trans community.   We don't have enough trans leaders.  But we damned sure have a bumper crop of 'leading trans' people with a certain ED of NCTE being the poster child for the 'they get paid while the community gets played' crowd.

The point is we desperately need trans leaders to step up.  We need people in our leadership ranks who are thermostats and not thermometers.   Thermometers take the public opinion temperature before they act, thermostats set it.

We need leaders who are willing to call out our enemies and our so called allies in Kingian love but if they continue to ignore us go Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X on them.  We need leaders who are visionary strategic thinkers, knowledgeable political strategists, great communicators and people who love all segments of the trans umbrella equally (not just certain segments of it)

We need leaders who are more concerned about passing just laws and enacting policies that benefit the trans community, not fit the overall strategic vision for an ally that doesn't have our community's interests first and foremost in their mind.

And to paraphrase the Good Doctor, we cannot win if we are willing to sell out the future of trans children for our personal comfort and safety.

So where do you stand trans people?   Are you a trans leader?   Or are you just a 'leading trans'?    At this crucial time in the trans community's history we can't afford any more people that reflect the latter description.

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