Saturday, December 19, 2009

The African-American Transsisterhood Initiative

Transpeople make up about 3% of the 36 million people that identify as African-American.

The 2Ks will be over in about two weeks and yet we still have problems in the African American transgender community with not knowing our history, not having working relationships with each other and not knowing other African American transpeople.

Well, the 2K10's will be starting soon. One of the things I have constantly complained about is the lack of national community and infrastructure we African descended transpeople have vis a vis our white transsisters. We need our own, and we needed it like yesterday.

To quote Kwame Toure, 'In order to participate in the greater society, we must first close ranks.' When I say African descended transpeople must close ranks, I'm talking about following the historic examples of our cis ancestors, parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

Just as they gathered together to form the organizations, fraternities, sororities and other self help groups that are household names in our communities today, that same spirit of collective organization needs to happen in the African American trans community as well.

I'm blessed to know and have the acquaintances of many African American transpeople in various locales around the country. Some are activists, some aren't. What I would like to do is step it up another level and build lasting, lifelong friendships with many of these wonderful folks as well.

So here's how I envision and propose we do that.

We are hooked up on one level or another on Facebook or other social networking media. We can start by resolving in 2010 and beyond to get to know 5 African descended transpeople you didn't have a lot of communication with or face time this year. We should also include in this effort African descended transwomen that aren't on the Net as well.

Your job as part of the African American Transsisterhood Initiative will be to select five people you've wanted to get to know as friends, and for one year do exactly that. Where they live doesn't matter. They can live in your city or outside of it, but one member of your sisterhood circle must be younger than you, another must be older than you. You can even do more than five people if you wish.

That way as you're getting to know your five peeps, you are getting to partake of the wisdom of your trans elders and your trans younglings.

That education will also be a two way street because we senior trans mamas can kick knowledge about our lives, our history and mentor our trans younglings.

At the same time we get the benefit of finding our more about the lives of our trans younglings, and they can enlighten us with fresh perspectives of looking at issues that will benefit both us and the entire AA transgender community.

One of the things that has immensely helped my growth on my feminine journey is to have been included in the sisterhood networks of some of my cis women friends. They have had my back on many issues, been a font of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to getting my gender act together, have helped me grow spiritually and get better attuned to living life as a Black woman.

At the same time me being the transwoman of the crew has opened their eyes to some of the issues I and other transwomen deal with as well and helped them realize there's not much besides superficial differences between a ciswoman or a transwoman.

I believe we African descended transwomen can benefit from forming sisterhood networks with each other, and what better time to do so than at the start of a new decade, the 2010's.

Let's resolve to finally do the work to make this decade one in which Black transwomen take control of their destinies, not be passive spectators in what happens and begin to make serious moves to take our rightful place at the African American family table.

The first and I believe the easiest step in the long journey to do that is getting to know and becoming friends with the Phenomenal Transwomen that are in our midst.

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