Thursday, February 08, 2007

Roberta Angela Dee

Another installment in my ongoing series of articles on transgender and non-trans women who have qualities that I admire

Roberta Angela Dee was an early voice of the African-American transcommunity for several decades. She challenged the medical community through her intelligent articles on psychology and gender and thoughtful online writings.

Roberta was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1950 and grew up on Long Island. She graduated with a degree in journalism and at age 25 began living as a woman.

Although much of her writing was on medical issues, she was an accomplished fiction writer who wrote several novellas on trans issues. She also wrote columns for Jo Ann Roberts' TG Forum website in addition to founding the Women on the Net (WON) website -- an early transgender resource for women of color. She also ran a Yahoo discussion group called TG Woman until her death in 2003.

I was a member of TG Woman from its inception. Roberta created a place that was different from the average transgender group. There wasn't the whiny, 'woe-is-me' tone that tends to permeate some transgender groups. We talked about issues beyond just transgender ones and it had over 2000 members at one point. When I started Transsistahs-Transbrothas on New Year's Day 2004 I patterned my group on that TS Woman model.

Roberta was a no-nonsense reality based kind of girl that never shied away from expressing her strong opinions about many subjects. I loved that about her.

She's also an inspiration to me as a writer as I endeavor to polish my skills and take them to the next level.

She transistioned but opted not to have SRS. As she once said, "I'm a woman in mind, heart and spirit. That's all that matters. They can cut things off, paste things on, or reconfigure my body parts. If you're a woman, you're a woman. Period"

You're so right about that Big Sis. You are definitely missed.

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