Friday, August 10, 2007

Where My Sistahs And Brothas At?

I tuned in to watch the Larry King Live show on transgender peeps earlier this evening on CNN hoping to see if the transgender community would pick up on a recurring omission they make when they put these shows together.

Sadly, they didn't.

So what is the glaring omission you ask? I have no complaint about the content of the show. It was tastefully done and informative as Larry King shows usually are. But there was one thing missing. As usual, there was NO African-American transperson as part of the panel.

Yeah, the white transgender community will point to the Latina that was part of tonight's panel and state quizzically, "What was wrong with it? There was a person of color on the panel."

No, my Caucasian sisters and brothers, there was a LATINA on the panel. There were three white people on that panel. There were three transwomen and a transman on that panel.

There were NO African-Americans on that panel.

The reason I'm griping about it is because once again, just as last night's HRC sponsored GLBT Democratic presidential candidate forum ignored the concerns of African-American, Latino/a's GLBT peeps and the transgender community, the white transgender community repeatedly and conveniently forgets us when these media opportunities arise.

News flash: There are intelligent African-American transpeople who can easily speak for ours and the entire transgender community and look fly while doing it. We need that face time, too. We need to have my people (and yours) see African-American transpeople in a setting other than a pageant stage, an adult website or a smoky GLBT club.

Once again in a nationally televised setting, I didn't see someone representing me or my community. The transkids that share my heritage didn't see someone on that stage tonight that represents them.

That's what I'm upset about


Jackie said...

It was an ok show that I'm sure was informative for people. King seemed sincere in his struggle to understand and the doctor did an ok job explaining that being transgender is not all about taking hormones and having surgery. And, I'm always glad whenever there is a bite taken out of that "choice" issue.
But, I also noticed that there were no Black Trans reps. I actually wished for you.

Monica Roberts said...

It's not hard to call me. They have my number.

To paraphrase Nat King Cole statement after his TV show was cancelled;

The white transgdender community is afraid of the dark.

My friend Dawn did a radio show on our local NPR affiliate on transgender issues that just won an award.

I have done radio shows for two years on the subject and do commentary on internet radio ones. I teach trans 101 locally for groups and college classes.

But my phone doesn'tring for Larry King or similar forums like that.
and I have an e-mail from a reporter right now from a reporter wnating to get perspective on transgender issues from the African-American angle.

Unknown said...

Monica Sweetie, I am one of those caucasion sistahs. You are absolutely correct is saying that people of color were under represented. The Trans community was also under represented. HRC doesn't get my vote very often anyway. They have a bad track record with the Trans community and I think that it was bad for to have Joe on the panel. I missed the Larry king episode so I won't comment on that.

I would love it if my African American sisters were more able to come to our center in Tucson, AZ so that we can be more inclusive and learn from each other. I know at times that I have been a bit stupid when it comes to race issues but I learn from each dumb thing that I do. The struggle is often difficult regardless of what color you are and I have certainly had my share of discrimination based on who I was and not whether I could do the job. I am originally from Seattle and the community is often splintered like other community centers in large cities. Tucson, however, is a different place. Wingspan, its LGBT center, is a welocoming and inclusive place. We have struggled with the race issue since we have a large latino Community here and since many may not speak English we have a difficult time reaching out to that segement of our community. In terms of the African-American community there are a couple of trans men that I know but I do not recal a trans woman ever joining us. I wish we could do a better job of out reach.

The workplace is my biggest area of focus and I work hard at educating my employer about trans issues and I would stand up for an African American sister just as strongly as I would stand up for a European American sister.

As for me, I of course cannot speak for other white sisters but I can speak for myself, I would love to work with others in the community regardless of their race. Its about people not about anything else.

Like I heard Maya Agelou say one time - everyone should stand up to all forms of discrimination.

Monica Roberts said...

For every person like you in the transgender community, I have four more calling me an 'uppity n****r behind by back, questioning my intelligence, and belittling mine and others contibutions to transgender history and the building of this community.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of my people and our stories being dissed and ignored.