Friday, October 16, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be A Woman?

Eternal Lizdom asked this question at her blog and invited women from various perspectives to answer it.

Some of my trans sisters have chimed in with their thoughts, and now it's my turn to do so.

What does it mean to be a woman? I interpret that question the same way that philosopher Simone de Beauvoir does. One is not born a woman, you become one.

My life is a living testament to that de Beauvoir quote. I wasn't born with a female body, but I morphed into my fine brown frame as fast as I could.

I've been evolving toward being the statuesque African descended women who loves her some Monica for 15 years now and I'm still a work in progress.

Diana Ross said it best in an October 1989 ESSENCE magazine interview.

'I never considered it a disadvantage to be a Black woman. I never wanted to be anything else. We have brains. We are beautiful. We can do anything we set our minds to.'

My mind is set on evolving into a Black woman of trans experience who is viewed as a compliment to Black womanhood, not a detriment to it. I'm on an evolutionary path to be a Black woman who is cognizant of her history, is eager and willing to serve her people, am proud to be trans and is just a phenomenal transwoman joyfully living her life.

While there are some aspects of being in a female body from birth I'll never know, I do know all too well the sting of sexism, was a target for assault long before I transitioned, have the heightened awareness of personal safety and share the pain with my cis African descended sisters about our beauty and Black womanhood in general being demonized, denigrated and dismissed.

In addition to that, I have to deal with the baggage that society heaps upon me for being Black, trans and having the temerity to stand up and boldly demand my place at the African American family table.

I think about the threads of Black womanhood that stretch back to the African continent and how they were spread throughout the Diaspora.

I think about the faith and spirituality that is part of a Black woman's life, be she cis or trans. I ponder where I fit in and what is the status of my and my African transsisters relationship with my African descended cis sisters.

So what does it mean to be a woman? It means comfort in my own chocolate skin so that I can love and accept the person I am and was born to be. It means standing up for my constitutional rights. It means mind and body being in harmony for the first time in my life. It means using the talents God gave me to help my country, my community, and myself. It means striving every day to be the best person I can be. even if there are some days I fall short of that.

But most of all, it means being the best sister, friend, aunt, cousin and daughter I can be, and being blessed that I'm finally able to do so.

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