Thursday, July 17, 2014

Damn! Damn! Damn!

That famous Good Times scene in which the late Esther Rolle while playing the iconic Florida Evans, lets loose her anger, frustration and grief over the death of her husband James is what I feel every time I hear or have sent to me an e-mail that informs me of another murdered trans woman that I eventually have to disseminate to all of my TransGriot readers.

That anger and frustration hit me once again as I pondered the death of our sister Mia Henderson in Baltimore.  At the 5:57 AM EDT time her body was discovered by police, several of my trans brothers and sisters were in the process of returning to their homes after spending the last two days lobbying on Capitol Hill.  My peeps in Philadelphia and their allies were awaiting the start of a competency hearing to determine whether Charles Sargent, the alleged killer of Diamond Williams, would stand trial for his heinous crime. 
As of this writing, in the cases involving Kandy Hall, Zoraida Reyes, Yaz'min Shancez and Tiffany Edwards, the four transwomen killed last month, only Edwards' alleged killer is in jail right now facing charges for his crime.

Now we have Mia Henderson to mourn, light a candle for and read her name at this November's Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony.

I was asked by a trans ally a while back why is this happening to trans women of color?

It's a confluence of factors.  One is simply the fact that it is straight up dangerous to walk planet Earth in a feminine body.  It is unrealistic to think that if our newscasts are full of reports every day in which cis women of all ethnic backgrounds are being murdered for various reasons around the world, that trans women would escape that misogynistic pattern of violence.    

Another factor is that all trans women have been demonized and had their femininity and humanity questioned by friend, foe and frenemy.  That dehumanization only increases when you are a non-white transperson, and increases by a factor of ten when you combine the historic demonization of Black femininity with the devaluing of Black lives and off the charts demonization of transfeminine women.   

When the murderers of transpeople are either never caught, are freed after a trial, freed on legal technicalities,  receive ridiculously low sentences, or a defense attorney attempts to jaw droppingly argue that the killer of a transwoman he was defending didn't deserve a long sentence, the societal perception is set up that trans women's lives aren't as valuable to society as cis people's are, and murdering a transwoman is a crime the perpetrators can and should get away with committing..

It also doesn't help when the law enforcement personnel who are sworn to protect and serve us are seen more as oppressors and predators than protectors.

How many times can I say and write I'm beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of seeing my transsisters killed?   When will the African-American  (and Latino/a ) cis community stop treating their trans sisters like pariahs and begin enveloping us with unconditional love? 

When will you realize Black cis community, Black politicians, Black clergy and Black legacy organizations that just because I or any other transperson transitions, we didn't forfeit our Black cards or our humanity?

I and my trans peeps are part of the diverse mosaic of human life.  We have made some tremendous strides in educating my community about exactly who we are and the talents we bring to our kente cloth covered family table.   All we want to do is live our lives to the best of our abilities and contribute our talents to the uplift and betterment of all the communities we intersect and interact with. 

I love my people and I'm proud to be a Black trans woman.   But you have to start unconditionally loving me and my trans sisters back.   And that starts with eliminating the thought from your mind that just because you have your hate on for a transwoman, you have a justified right to kill her. 

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