Friday, July 23, 2010

Tired Of Being Invisible

TTransGriot Note: My post at the Rude Pundit

I get the honor of closing out this LGBT Week of posts here at the Rude Pundit. It has been an interesting week of commentary from some of the leading bloggers in the LGBT blogosphere.

Guest posting stints like this remind me that even though I don’t consider myself an ‘A’ list blogger, other people and my blogging peers think the TransGriot is all that and three bags of chips, and I thank The Rude Pundit for the invite.

So let’s get to what’s on my mind today.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday attending the 2nd Annual Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Conference on the Rice University campus. One of the conversations I was engaged in during our lunch break on Tuesday was the lack of visibility for African descended trans people.

The overwhelming narrative for transpeople in this country since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the plane from Denmark in 1953 has been disproportionately a vanilla flavored one despite the fact that trans people are found on every inhabited continent on this planet, including Africa.

And contrary to that vanilla dominated narrative, we’ve played some key roles in the shaping of the trans community in the United States.

*The first trans specific protest was a 1965 sit in at Dewey’s Lunch Counter organized by African American transpeople in Philadelphia.

*The first client of the now closed Johns Hopkins gender program was an African American transwoman named Avon Wilson.

*Miss Major was one of our African American trans Stonewall veterans.

*An African American transwoman named Marsha P. Johnson played a key role along with Sylvia Rivera of setting up and organizing the proto organizations that led to the modern GLBT rights movement.

*When then Senator Obama made his historic acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver, in the stadium that evening was Dr. Marisa Richmond, the first African-American transwoman elected as a delegate to a major party convention..

African descended transmen have also stepped up to the plate to provide leadership such as NBJC Board Chair Kylar Broadus, the late Alexander John Goodrum, the late Marcelle Cook-Daniels, and Louis Mitchell just to name a few.

But you wouldn’t know that if you peruse the trans history narratives being written, the melanin free White House LBGT receptions and congressional hearings, and the leadership ranks of trans organizations devoid of African American talent.

We even get ignored in our own community, when our fellow African American SGL people put together leadership lists purported to be inclusive of the entire community, but end up having no transpeople of African descent on them.

When they get called on it, they offer the weak excuse that ‘they don’t know of any African-American trans leaders.'

Oh really?

That bull feces needs to stop, especially when we along with our Latina sisters are taking the brunt of the anti trans violence casualties.

We’re not just ‘tragic transsexual’ victims, we are beautiful and talented people in our own rights. We are ready, willing and more than able to provide quality leadership for the entire TBLG community if just given the opportunity to do so.

The point is that this is the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, and we're beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of this situation.

You have a choice. It's either take the steps to correct this 'illusion of inclusion' situation, or suffer the consequences for your lack of visionary thinking.

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