Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Birth of The New Black Transwoman

One of the things I'm determined to make happen is doing my part to help eradicate the negative perceptions and stereotypes aimed of African descended transwomen. 

I'm more than sick of the 'unwoman' shade and negativity aimed at Black transwomen.  I'm tired of the hypersexualization, the othering and the outright lies written and uttered about who we are. 

I want our next generation of African descended trans kids to dream big and not have their lives cut short by anti-trans violence or be crippled by shame, guilt and fear of being a trans person.

So what am I going to do about it?    For starters, I'm going to use this electronic platform and get y'all to do some hard, solid thinking with me as we ponder the birth and rise of a New Black Transwoman. 

If it sounds like I'm borrowing a term from the Harlem Renaissance, congratulations intelligent reader, I most certainly am . I'm borrowing it from Alain Locke and putting a trans spin to it. 

Locke and other Harlem Renaissance writers during the 1920's talked about the New Negro being one who was a more outspoken advocate of dignity for our people and one who refused to quietly submit to the practices of Jim Crow segregation and the Jim Crow laws of the era.   They also began to think about and tackle the Unholy Trinity of shame, guilt and fear that plagued Black people at the time and began thinking critically about our images as African descended people. 
At this point in the second decade of the 21st century in which we are seeing trans human rights progress in various parts of the world combined with more discussions anout trans issues, it's time for a New Black Transwoman to arise. 

The New Black Transwoman is an outspoken advocate for the dignity of herself and all transwomen, and refuses to submit quietly to anti-trans oppression and injustice.  

She is grounded in her spirituality, constantly evolving on her feminine journey and strives to be a compliment to Black womanhood and not regarded a joke or detriment to it.  

She fearlessly tackles the shame, guilt and fear issues we face and expresses pride in being a Black transwoman. 

My beautiful Black transsisters, if you're frustrated and fed up with the falsehoods aimed at us (and still continue to be aimed in our direction) time for us to make some changes that will help bring into fruition the  New Black Transwoman in you that is dying to get out.

We can begin the process by remembering this and repeating it like a mantra as we go about our lives:

What I do reflects on you.  What YOU do reflects on me.  What WE do reflects on the ENTIRE Black trans community.  

Translation: You are your transsister's keeper.

We need to raise our standards, period.  If we say we are Black women, we need to step up to our A plus games in terms of how we present ourselves to the world.  We need to emulate the historic role that Black women have had and continue to have in uplifting themselves and our community.

As the late Dr. Dorothy Height once said,  "I believe we hold in our hands the power once again to shape not only our own but the nation's future -- a future that is based on developing an agenda that radically challenges limitations in our economic development, educational achievement and political empowerment. Undoubtedly, African-Americans will have an integral role to play, although our path ahead will continue to be complex and difficult."

In order for African American transwomen to play our role in shaping our own and our nation's futures, we have to get busy raising our standards and becoming as Sharon Davis exhorted us to be, finer specimens of womanhood. .
Raising our standards means getting as much education and knowledge as we can.  It means us being cognizant of our feminine presentations since we know we're being scrutinized and judged in terms of how we interact with the world.  It means dropping the 'drag queen English' when we're out and about in the world and adopting as a trans human rights strategy speaking impeccable English.  

It means no more silently taking crap from those who work tirelessly to slime us and retard our human rights progress because we have the mistaken belief grounded in shame and guilt that it's unfeminine to do so. It means confronting the transphobic lies, being proud of who we are, knowing our history and putting ourselves in the best possible position to advance our trans human rights struggle.

 It means loving and respecting ourselves and demanding nothing less from others.   .

And by raising our standards individually, Black transwomen benefit collectively.  So do the communities we intersect and interact with. 

Hopefully this decade and the succeeding ones will witness the birth, growth and development of the New Black Transwoman.  It's past time that happened and for the sake of our own and the African-American community, it must.  .

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