Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Open Letter To The Houston Black Community

Dear Houston Black Community,
It has been two weeks since many of you stupidly let the Texas and Harris County Republican Party, Dave Welch, Jared Woodfill, Steven Hotze in collusion with sellout ministers hoodwink and bamboozle you into voting against a human rights law that protected you.

How's that working out for you?

And yeah, as a proud native Houstonian who grew up in South Park, loves this city and who is an unapologetically Black trans woman who has no problem owning her power, I'm still majorly pissed off about what transpired November 3.

The embarrassment is strictly on those of you who were part of the 160,286 people who got played, but the negative consequences of that misguided vote will be felt by all 2.2 million of us who reside in the city limits of the 600 square miles of Texas soil we call Houston.

Whatever excuse you came up with to justify your NO vote doesn't take away the fact that I have to deal with the realization that many of you voted that way because you ignorantly fear or hate me and other trans Houstonians enough to take away your own civil rights.

The bottom line is that me and my fellow trans Houstonians were peeing and pooping in Houston public restrooms without incident for the last five decades prior to November 3, and we will continue to do so afterward.

It's also painfully obvious that some ongoing Trans 101 'ejumacation' needs to happen.

We Black trans people exist, and we will not go back into the closet or go into hiding because you don't want to deal with the fact you are less than enlightened when it comes to the transgender community, and that lack of knowledge was exploited by the same right wing conservative oppressors who have hated Black people forever.

We trans peeps are Black people first before the trans stuff even enters the human rights equation and my 6 foot 2 body is a walking study in intersectionality.  But the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance never was about bathrooms.  It was about creating a human rights non-discrimination ordinance with a local enforcement mechanism that we don't have now.  Thanks to some of you peeps failure to use Google to look up other sources of information about the HERO besides negative ads on KCOH and Majic 102, are embarrassingly without again

Let's bring this back to talking about the community whose humanity has been under attack since last April.  At least 1-5% of the folks who live here are estimated to ID as transgender, and I hope that the 2020 US Census will include a transgender identifier category so we can get more precise numbers.

We Black trans people are your brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.

And we vote.

We Black trans people are an intertwined kente cloth part of the Black community, and that symbiotic relationship ain't changing.  What ails Black Houston also hurts Black Trans Houston and vice versa.

If you think I'm sellin' woof tickets about that last point, it was a Black trans woman named Leyth Jamal who Saks Fifth Avenue in the Galleria discriminated against in 2012

If we are facing 26% employment discrimination, that hurts not only Black trans people, but the Black community as a whole if we can't get legitimate jobs and have to go to the underground economy to earn a living.   If Black trans kids are being bullied to the point of dropping out and don't continue to get as much education as they can, that hurts the Houston Black community as a whole.

What else hurts is seeing ministers that look like us oppressing us, mouthing the same dehumanizing anti-trans lies as white conservatives for over a year and fomenting hatred in Black Houston toward us.   That is  not only problematic, it is greasing the skids for hate crimes to be perpetrated against us.

If we have two HBCU's in the Houston area in Texas Southern and Prairie View that don't have non-discrimination policies that cover gender identity or policies in place that help make trans students feel safe and welcomed on their campuses, they will go to the PWI and HBCU colleges and universities that do.

I own my power.  Post- HERO I will redouble my efforts toward encouraging my Black trans brothers and sisters to own theirs and exercise it in conjunction with our allies.  You will have to deal with us becoming more active and visible in the Black community in the wake of this loss because it's painfully clear to me that needs to happen.

You don't like that, too bad, you brought it upon yourselves.

While this education is going on, new rule is in effect: You will not be allowed to uncritically demonize or dehumanize us.  You will give us the same respect that you demand for yourselves and if you can't or won't meet that basic condition of engagement, you will be called out.

We have far more problems in Black Houston that we can solve by working together.  Demonizing the trans community won't do squat for that, so chill with that anti-trans drama so we can get busy building the progressive Houston we all want, need and deserve.

I and other Black trans Houstonians, despite attempts to erase us from the Black community, exist and aren't going away.   Deal with it.

Yours in the struggle,

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