Monday, March 05, 2012

Transgender Or Not WHY MUST African-Americans Continually Justify Their Pride?

Guest post from Cheryl Courtney-Evans of the Abitchforjustice blog

Okay, so it's 2012, we've had the Civil Rights Act passed (1965), three or four actors/actresses win Academy Awards, a plethora of black and black-themed television shows with positive African American images over the airways, yada, yada, yada! One would say, "You've come a looong way baby!" And they'd be right...

BUT...we still have idiots like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona staging investigations of President Obama's birth certificate, claiming it to be a "fraud, and questioning his eligibility to be president", an asshole in Alaska filing suit against his presidency on the grounds of "questionable citizenship", and a FEDERAL Circuit Court judge, Richard Cebull, circulating a racially-charged email stating, "Obama's lucky he wasn't born a dog...". And we're expected to think the United States is "through with its racism"...REALLY???

And as the rest of society goes, so goes the LGBT community...yes, there is still some remnants of racism and attitudes of "white privilege" in the LGBT community, as much as some would deny it (I mean, this community is suppose to be one of the most acceptance and inclusion, right?).

What's got me talking like this, you may ask.

Well, recently an African American transwoman I greatly admire and respect, Ms. Monica Roberts, award-winning author of the TransGriot, an African American themed blog, was published in another African American themed internet publication, This article was her "spotlight" of African American transpersons who have proven to be trailblazers in the transgender community; the transgender community being a segment of the African American community who have gotten little enough attention for positive things...we are readily given enough attention when it's regarding the negatives...prostitution, larceny and victims. So WHY is that this article was barely three days old when a person felt the need, via the HUFF Post 'comments' section, to question Monica's effort, calling it "just another effort to divide us racially"! If she (and I think she must be transgender by the use of the word "us") wasn't already thinking racially 'divisive', it seems to me she would have applauded Monica and thanked her for information about her African American transsistas that she didn't have before; hell, I wasn't aware of some of them myself!

WHY is it that we as an African American community, let alone the African American transgender community, always find the need to justify our pride in our heritage, accomplishments or attempts to do for ourselves to some folks?? After all, very often the struggles we face as transgender persons is compounded by our race. Why shouldn't we revel in the fact that we overcame an obstacle in spite of it?

LindaCON's comment reminds me of an incident here in Atlanta, where a group of us (multiracial, by the way) attempted to put together an organization aimed at helping transgenders here find jobs to reduce the number of commercial sex workers (there was a big broohaha about the number of them in Atlanta's Midtown area at the time). Because the predominant number of "working girls" at the time were black, we named the group the Transgender Persons Of Color worker's project (TPOC). As soon as TPOC got a little publicity in the local LBGT publication, the Southern Voice, a white transgender woman (mind you, this girl had already had a job that she'd gotten herself fired from) wrote a 'letter to the editor' questioning "why we weren't helping any white trans people?" AND SHE'D NEVER ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT US OR BE A PART OF TPOC's EFFORTS; she was merely going by the name. (NOTE: Do you think NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] means there are no whites involved in it? You would be mistaken.) I suppose it's okay if we were to just sit back and continue to be victims, and not try to do for self...

As God is my witness (and He knows my heart), I am as non-divisive as ANYONE; I get along with anyone that treats me with the respect that I give them, no matter what cultural background they come from, BUT I refuse to neglect, ignore or deny my heritage!  I applaud Monica Roberts for her continued effort with this respect, giving our young African American trans women & men the information, education and history, with pride in something they themselves can move forward with...and lest we forget, this same education can be of benefit to all other trans cultures who have the open-mindedness to see it as such...think about it.

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