Friday, February 01, 2013

A Finer Specimen of Womanhood

TransGriot Note: Another one from the TransGriot The Newspaper Column archives I wrote in February 2004

`A Finer Specimen of Womanhood'
Copyright 2004 The Letter

I am concerned about the image that African-American transwomen present to the world.

Instead of judging a group by the best that they produce, society unfairly judges African-Americans by the worst among us. That standard has been applied to
African-American transpeople as well not only by my own people, but the GLBT community.

I and many others have worked hard to honor the women that we admire. My personal list includes Coretta Scott King, former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, my mother, my grandmothers, various women in my family, and various women inside and outside my sista circle. I've been blessed with God given intelligence, and I've strived to live my life before and since transition in a positive manner.

I want my fellow African-Americans and others to see that we transsistas are intelligent, spiritual people who embrace our history. Many of us are ready and willing to assume the African-American woman's historical role of uplifting our people when we're asked.

Unfortunately, those of us transsistas who are making the effort to uphold the traditions and honor of the Black women that walked the path before us are facing
an uphill battle. We are receiving a negative backlash from our community because of the poor choices that some of our sistas are making.

It saddened me to read a recent post on a transgendered African-American Internet group that I belong to. A 20 year old sista wrote that she wants to become a porn star,instead of expending that youthful energy to do something positive.

Every time that I get upset over that thought, I think about a young transsista that I met at the 2002 Afro-American Leadership Conference on AIDS in Louisville. She was tossed out of her home after revealing to her family that she was transgendered. Instead of making excuses, she transitioned, graduated from high school, and went on to graduate from Vassar College. She's now planning to become a psychologist.

So for those of you that think that sex work is the only route to 'get paid',that is short sighted, dangerous and defeatist thinking in a world in which HIV/AIDS increasingly carries a face that looks like ours. It dishonors those of us who fought hard to put you in a position where you could transition in high school or in your twenties without going through the drama that we did.

This is America, and it's your life to do whatever with it that pleases you, but it is my fondest wish that more young transsistas would take their butts to college ASAP if they have the opportunity.

Frankly, we need you to become positive role models for the transkids coming behind you and for our people in general. My generation will be passing the
leadership torch to you soon, and frankly, we wonder who amongst you will boldly step up to accept it.

We'd like you to join us who work in corporate America, in the political arena, and who are wives and mothers raising kids.

You decided to do whatever it took to make your body match what you were hardwired to be, African-American women. You are joining a long line of women that stretches back to the dawn of civilization. We are women who have always done outstanding things in the face of seemingly impossible odds and still look good doing it. But with that decision to transition comes an awesome responsibility.

Please consider becoming a finer specimen of womanhood.

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