Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Black America, Stop Hatin' On Black Transwomen

I've been discussing this subject in various posts ever since TransGriot first started in 2006.  Sadly I'm still talking about it eight years later and in last month's column at Black Girl Dangerous.   

Once again, I'm compelled to discuss Black America's culpability in the anti-trans hatred aimed at Black transwomen.  

MARTA transgender attackOne of the things I and the Black trans feminine  community are sick of is the rampant ignorance and transphobia in elements of the African-American community.   Far too often the people who have been dissing, oppressing or killing us have been other African-Americans.    

The security guard that jumped off the disrespect of Andraya Williams on the Central Piedmont Community College campus in Charlotte back in March was survey says, an African American cis woman.   The 12 murders of African American transpeople (Evon Young was a trans man) that occurred in 2013 were all perpetrated on us by other African-Americans.  Much of the anti-trans hatred and violence Black trans women have to deal with as demonstrated in this recent case in the ATL comes from our own people.

And yeah, need to point out some of that anti-trans oppression has been coming from elements of the Black SGL community.   Y'all seriously need to chill out with that crap. 

Note to you chocolate faith-based trans haters:  Your religious beliefs do not justify willful faith-based hatred and ignorance of the reality that Black trans people exist and have for decades.  

Black cis women, a special message for you.  

If you're jealously mad because some random transwoman is performing femininity better than you are, pulling more 'menz' at the club or in the hood, I suggest you step up your own femme presentation game and stop shadily setting up the transwoman in question for harassment or anti-trans violence.  

We transwomen are simply trying to live our lives to the best of our ability.  We have to deal with the same challenges you do in navigating a planet hostile to Blackness in a Black feminine body.  We have an additional challenge of navigating society and this planet as trans women of African heritage.  

We don't want drama with you, cis Black women.  We want to live our lives united in sisterhood as the Black women we've always wanted and are proud to be.  Instead of succumbing to the people trying to drive wedges between us to make us adversarial opponents, we would rather be fighting the common systemic problems that ail all Black women. 

If you cis sisters take the time and make the effort to get to know us trans women, you'll discover you'll be rewarded with a solid friendship in the process.  You'll also discover some of the issues we deal with are remarkably similar.   We may not have been born with female bodies at birth like you were, but we did have our versions of girlhood and tried to become the Phenomenal Black Transwomen we are as fast as we could.

Whatever issues you cispeeps have going on in your life doesn't justify you taking them out on Black transwomen with your tongues, fists or weapons.  We in Chocolate Trans World have enough drama to deal with just for being our trans selves, plus the onerous application of racist oppression we all get. We don't need an additional helping of hostility, disrespect and dehumanization from the people we share bloodlines, African heritage and history with.    

Bottom line is we realize that many of you aren't cognizant of the fact you know a transperson or have one in your family.  But the odds are you have bumped into one of us somewhere during your daily routine.  You have pooped or pissed next to one of us in a public bathroom.  You have passed us at the mall makeup counter. You've checked us out in the club. You have walked past us as we are busy studying in the library for our midterms.

Embedded image permalinkAs for those of us who are publicly out, we range from models to New York Times bestselling authors, MMA fighters, a GLAAD media award nominated blogger, academics, and an actress on a historic cover of TIME magazine.     

At least 1-3% of the African-American population is transgender.  We've been part of this community for over a century and aren't going away any time soon.  Human rights for transpeople are also international human rights issues that benefit the ongoing human rights struggle of the African-American community we interact and intersect with. 

Neither are we transpeeps going back in the closet so you can avoid talking about us or our issues.   

And what are our issues?   In addition to the ones unique to our community, they are same ones the Black community deals with.   Crushing unemployment or underemployment.  Voter suppression.  Unacceptable levels of violence being aimed at us.  Stop and frisk police harassment.  Being targets for anti-female violence and sexual assault.  Body image issues.

Black trans issues are Black community issues.   It's past time Black politicians, our legacy organizations such as the NAACP, the Urban League and our clergy recognize that.   It's also past time for cis African-Americans to realize we trans peeps have much to contribute in order to make Black America, our country and the world better.  

We chocolate transpeeps realize that Trans 101 education needs to be done in our communities and at our HBCU's.  But that's not an excuse for you to not do any 'ejumacation' on your own.  There's this wonderful technological invention called Google  easily available on your computers that you can use to get better informed about our trans lives.
It's past time, Black America, that you started loving me and my transsisters instead of knee-jerk hating us.

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