Friday, April 13, 2007

Monica’s Statement For the KY Coming Together Conference

Transgriot Note: My friend Joshua asked me to compose a statement for a workshop he's presenting on African-American transpeople at a local conference tomorrow. Here's what I wrote.

I’m Monica Roberts, and I am a forty-something African-American transwoman.

It took me a while to get to the point that I’m comfortable in saying that. I didn’t transition until my early thirties in 1993 and did so in the middle of an international airline terminal in which 30,000 passengers a day passed through it.

So what can I say about being a woman who had to work much harder than her genetic sisters to get there and what does it mean to be an African-American transwoman?

I’m deliriously happy to finally be on the correct side of the gender fence. While I consider it a gift from God to be able to experience life from both sides of the gender continuum, I love looking in the mirror and seeing a woman’s face and a woman’s body staring back at me in the mirror. I like having the peace of mind of knowing that my mind and body are in harmony with one another. If I have any regrets about transition they continue to be that I didn’t do this sooner.

It’s still a challenge sometimes interacting with biowomen who don’t get it, don’t want to get it or don’t realize that I am their most powerful ally in helping them decipher the male ego. They also don’t realize how deeply I wish to bond with them, but I’m prayerfully trying to be patient with my sisters.

As far as my friendships go, the people I have in my life are either folks I’ve known before transition or have become part of it since then. I don’t have any doubts about their loyalty or love for me. It's a comforting feeling to know that.

So what does it mean to be an African-American transwoman? It’s not about finding a ‘husband’, looking or ‘trade’ or carrying yourself in less than anything but a ladylike manner but about growing spiritually and emotionally. It’s about being the best that I can be. It’s constant self-examination to ensure that I am living up to the charge that all African-American women have to keep in terms of uplifting our race. It’s about carrying yourself with class and dignity because I represent not only myself but also the entire African-American community.


Jackie said...

That is a wonderful honest, heartfelt, encouraging and proud statement. I agree, spiritual and emotional growth is the most important, for everyone. It would certainly benefit if we can ever accept and embrace experiences different from our own.
My wife will tell you patience, especially about gay/Trans issues, is not one of my virtues. Kudos to you for that.
More Trans-sisters out there like you will help. You are an asset to any community.

Monica Roberts said...

That's basically what many of us are striving to do and be recognized for.

I like many of my transsisters want to be considered assests to the community at large, not detriments to it. My transition isn't complete in my eyes until that occurs.

Sure, it's a lofty goal. But so was landing on the moon in a decade back in the 60's. We are still reaping the benefits of the Apollo program in our society today. Even if I fall short of that in terms of overall growth I'll be a much better human being than I was before I started this transition journey.

We have a lot to offer our biosisters just as you have much to teach us. Both sides have to stop casting suspicious eyes at each other, projecting our insecurities on one another, throwing shade and start honestly dealing with each other.

Trinity said...

i agree with jackie, this is lovely.