OUT on the Hill has come to a close for this year and the staff of the National Black Justice Coalition has once again managed to put together a first class, informative and empowering event.
One of the themes that NBJC ED/CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks has stressed during the time we've been up here is 'Owning Our Power'. There have been a lot of frank, thought provoking family conversations inside and outside the breakout sessions and events where we have had discussions into just how do we as African descended TBLG people 'Own Our Power' and fearlessly name and claim it.
You TransGriot readers know I've never been shy on this blog about speaking my mind and calling people organizations and feces laden crap out, but when I return to Houston, I'm planning on owning my power.
I'm coming back home with a purse full of business cards and contacts that in between the time until we have the 2012 Out on the Hill event, I will be diligently working to expand on. I have the reassurance and knowledge that I have far more love, respect and support inside and outside the African American BTLG community and our allies than I believed I had and a stronger support system to help me 'Own My Power'.
It was an honor for me to finally meet people I've talked to either
on the phone, e-mailed or chats for years like Kylar Broadus, Kamora Herrington, and
Valerie Spencer. It was wonderful finally getting to meet Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the BOD and staff of the National Black Justice
Coalition. It was also an honor to meet leaders like Kimberly McLeod, Stacey Long and a host of
others I'd need another post to name and know they feel the same way
I said this in a post I fittingly wrote on King Day 2011, and it bears repeating. If you claim to love all Black people, then by extension that means Black transpeople are included in that definition as well.
I love Black people, and to me, while fighting for the human rights of transpeople is a primary focus, I'm Black first and everything else comes second to that. Loving Black people means that I love ALL Black people in all their permutations including my lesbian, gay, bi, trans and straight brothers and sisters. That also includes my brothers and sisters across the African Diaspora as well.
That is the first prerequisite to leading us and yes Sharon, I got that Owning My Power message loud and clear this week. I'm happy to see that my bi, gay, and straight brothers and sisters love and value their trans ones.
It was amazing to talk to civic leaders in DC and beyond, faith leaders, people like Cheryl Kilodavis and Sirdeaner Walker, and transleaders in Washington DC such as 'Number Four' Earline Budd, Danielle King and Ruby Corado. I enjoyed my time talking to Washington DC GLB leaders and my gracious hosts Jeri Hughes and Denise Leclair about a wide variety of issues that were on their minds.
I head back to H-town knowing our movement is in great hands thanks to the talented, emerging, energetic young leaders I met here that are coming out of the best educated and brightest generation of Black youth we've ever had in our people's history.
The bottom line is that the Black trans community in Houston and
elsewhere nationally has been silent for far too long, and I can,.will
be and must be that leader they can look up to and count on for
leadership in that area. If I'm the only one standing up for Black trans people when I get
back to the Lone Star State, so be it. But the invisibility and silence of the
Black trans community in Houston ends when I step off that plane
I know this Out on the Hill conference isn't going to solve what ails Black LGBT America in one exhilarating week. The problems we have took years to get to this point and we have a lot of hard solid thinking we need to do and organizing work that needs to be done to lift up our community.
As for the trans sector, we are in even more dire need of hard solid thinking, organizing, and getting over the shame and guilt issues that plague us as we struggle to utilize our many talents to become a more cohesive part of the greater Black BTLG and African American family.