Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beyond Althea Garrison-Run Black Trans People Run!

The 2012 election cycle is rapidly receding into the history books and the winners during these hard fought campaigns across the country will begin to be sworn into their offices and go to work in January.

But this completed election cycle also reminded me that it has been twenty years since stealth trans woman  Althea Garrison was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature in 1992.

The major reason we found out about the historic piece of Black trans history was because Eric Fehrnstrom, the person who outed her at that time when he was a columnist for the conservative leaning Boston Herald, was the communications director in the failed Mitt Romney presidential campaign

I've seen an increase since 1992 of open trans politicians running for and winning offices around the world. Three transwomen, Georgina Beyer in New Zealand, Vladimir Luxuria in Italy and now Anna Grodzka in Poland won seats in their national legislative bodies while others in several nations have tried and fallen short of doing so. .

I've seen several trans people run for and win public offices in the United States from mayors to small town city council seats.  Kim Coco Iwamoto twice won election to the Hawaii state school board in 2006 and 2010 and Vicky Kolakowski that same year won a Alameda County, CA judicial seat.  Others have run for office and lost.  Some have done so multiple times for different offices like Vermont's Karen Kerin.  

But unfortunately the common thread in all those American trans people who have run for and either won or lost races is that they haven't been African descended trans people.

And that needs to change.

It's been painfully obvious to me over a decade of lobbying at the local, state and federal level that in addition to getting current legislators up to speed on the issues that affect trans people and voting  for politicians who are supportive of our issues, we also are in dire need of transpeople sitting at the table helping to formulate the policies and write the laws that govern us.

I'm happy for the trans people in various states that have stepped up, run and won or lost their various political races and broke barriers in the process.  We need more qualified trans people to run for public office if we're going to get the trans human rights coverage we deserve. 

Some of those qualified people running from office must be African descended ones.   One of the reasons why is because in a lot of cases, our chocolate transition journey is not like a white transperson's transition journey because of cultural factors and the deleterious impact of race and class on it.

And it's not like we don't have support in the Democratic Party.   There were thirteen trans delegates in Charlotte for the DNC convention last summer, and two of them were African-American.. 

Even Vice President Joe Biden has recently verbalized that trans rights are human rights, and one of the ways to make them a reality is get political power so we can write good laws for our community and be in a position to block bad ones.

Some of our Black gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are already running for and winning public office and have been for several years now.  

I said it during that OUT on the Hill trans panel that it was past time for us to do the same if we are going to have the issues that impact us as African descended transpeople dealt with.

It's also clear that we need to build upon what Althea Garrison started in 1992..

We need to run Black transpeople to send the message to the world trans community that American trans community leadership is not monoracial and we are stepping up, ready and willing  to take our rightful place on the world trans leadership stage.   

It's increasingly becoming clear that we will need to have politicians who are boys and girls like us, and that can only happen if we're in the political game to win it. 

So run Black trans people run!  

No comments: