Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Shaping The New Black Trans Paradigm

"We find ourselves in the Black trans community slowly but surely building sisterhood and community that will serve us well in the future.  However, we must still keep reaching out to those transwomen who haven't gotten with the program and who haven't clued in to the fact that this is a new decade requiring a new attitude and a new paradigm in terms of being an African descended transwoman."   TransGriot  Aiming Higher October 19, 2011
So what is the new Black Trans Paradigm that we need to shape for the second decade of the 21st century and beyond?  Glad you asked me that question, inquisitive TransGriot reader.
We've done and continue to do the hard solid thinking necessary to assess the situation and compile an action plan to deal with it   Much of that communal thinking is happening courtesy of the Black Trans Revolution That Will Not Be Televised off the Net.   
The transpeople who are part of the Transgender Talented Tenth  are aware that it's time to own our power.   In addition to having those discussions inside our chocolate rainbow community, we Black trans leaders are having those one on one brainstorming conversations with each other along with our cis Black community allies and thought leaders to coordinate our actions.
Much of it will happen when we step out of the shadows and become more visible and active leaders, opinion shapers, and integral parts of the various communities we intersect with.  
Some of the heavy lifting for this new Black Trans Paradigm we will have to do internally and will initially involve small cadres of like minded people.  They will be Black transpeople who are tired of the negative baggage attached to being Black and trans and want to do something proactive about it.   We see the level of community the white trans community has built, have observed their mistakes and their ongoing challenges and have painfully recognized the need to have our own rooted in our culture and our history 

We have recognized that we African descended trans people needed to start yesterday forging links with cis African-Americans to do the Trans 101, 102, 201 and 202 education.   We need to be talking to our people about who we are as trans people of African descent and getting them to realize that Black transgender problems are Black community problems.   We need to get that message to our HBCU campuses. We recognize it's past time to determine our political destiny and insist that rainbow community orgs claiming to speak for us not only have more than one African descended trans person as active participants, but African-American  transpeople have a major say in formulating policy that impacts the entire transgender community as well.

want and need the cis and SGL Black community to recognize that Black trans people are actively working to get on the same page with them in terms
of where we go and what we do to help uplift our community in concert with them.  
Black trans people will no longer allow cis people inside and outside the African American community to misuse Biblical scripture as a tool to denigrate, disrespect and shame us. We are people of faith who know that God or whatever you call the higher power loves and created transpeople as part of the diverse mosaic of human life. 

former ESSENCE editor Susan L. Taylor wrote, "We are not powerless spectators of life. We are co-creators with God and all around us are the gifts, the clay, that we can use to shape our world."

And in the 2K10's we Black transpeople will put our hands in that clay, mold it and start shaping our world.

ou will get called on it if from this day forward you attempt to use the Bible and specious interpretations of scripture to demonize transpeople, build your fundamentalist street cred, right wing political power or mask your bigotry and transphobia.   You will not be allowed to use the Bible as a political weapon in last ditch attempts to block transgender human rights initiatives, programs and laws we desperately need to fix what ails our chocolate trans community.   . 
We want and need to continue to forge those bonds of sisterhood with each other and with cis African American women.  They must understand and realize that we are seeking to become complementary players in uplifting Black womanhood, not detriments to it.  We will need their help and respectful input in accomplishing that goal.  If elements of you love Madea and can use the correct pronouns in describing Tyler Perry dressed up as this character, then when you leave the multiplex cinema or playhouse you can and must show the same love and respect for transwomen who live 24/7/365 in our community as their authentic selves   
We live our lives every day dealing with many of the same issues and isms that cis Black women do with the added burden of being trans and having to fight to have our human rights respected and protected at the same time. 
We must rediscover, honor and revere our Black trans history and Black trans makers past, present and future.  It will play a major role in shaping the new Black Trans Paradigm and breaking down the unholy trinity of shame, guilt and .fear 
We can't forget the people we've disproportionately lost due to anti-trans violence as we move forward.  We can't bring them back, but we will use their untimely deaths as motivation and the fuel to make the new Black Trans Paradigm a reality and so their deaths weren't in vain.  

We also can't forget as we forge this new Black Trans Paradigm that we are connected to our trans brothers and sisters across the Diaspora.  As we climb, we also have to respectfully lend an ear and a hand to our brothers and sisters across the Diaspora and help lift them up as well. 

We need to be actively working in partnership with our transpeople and transleaders around the globe and learning lessons from them in terms of what they are encountering in their own nations as they build community in their locales and use their best practices in our own ranks.  It also sends the message to the world community that American trans community leadership is not monoracial and non-white transpeople are stepping up to take our rightful place on the world trans leadership stage.  . 

So yes my trans brothers and sisters and our allies reading this, we have a lot of work to do to make it happen in this decade and beyond.   As Eldridge Cleaver said in Soul on Ice, 'If you ain't part of the solution you are part of the problem."  
I and other African descended transpeople are attempting to be part of the solution to what ails Black trans America and help our community and the others we intersect with at the same time.   How about you?  

So if you feel the same way, let's get busy shaping that new Black Trans Paradigm.  

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