Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The 'I Don't Know Any Black Trans People' Excuse Doesn't Fly

I've done a lot of posts about the subject of erasure of trans people of color.   In the process of combating the media invisibility I've taken to task media outlets in our chocolate media world that put these LGBT's list together that either had no trans persons on it or conflated drag queen with trans persons. 

One of the excuses I heard attempting to defend the indefensible was someone who claimed that 'they didn't know of any Black transpeople, much less Black trans activists.; 

Well, as of 10:00 AM EDT on April 9, that excuse doesn't fly anymore, not that it ever had the credibility in the first place    I've been writing about the trans community with an Afrocentric slant since 2006.

We have other African-American transpeople stepping up to leadership roles and providing positive visibility for our community.   We have growing organizations such as BTMI, BTWI, TPOCC and the National Black Justice Coalition advocating for us, helping us own our power and being the change we want to see in the world. 

We have conferences such as the BTMI event and Trans Faith In Color in which we can gather, talk about issues, honor our people doing the work and build community amongst ourselves and with the groups we intersect and interact with.  As Kwame Ture once said, 'In order to participate in the greater society, you must first close ranks.'

A stronger and more cohesive Black trans community means a stronger one which can be a better, more potent ally to the groups we intersect, interact and have mutual interests with.   

Black legacy orgs such as the NAACP are realizing not only that Black trans community issues are Black community issues, we Black trans peeps are part of the kente cloth fabric of the community and deserve our seat at the family table.  

So no, the publication of this initial Trans 100 List eliminates that excuse that you don't know any Black transpeople along with our increasing visibility across all media platforms.   We have people in various professions who are Black, trans and are attorneys, doctors, college professors, writers, homemakers, models, fashion designers, entrepreneurs...well, you get the drift 

And we didn't just pop up in the second decade of the 21st century either.  We've helped shape and mold not only trans history, but made some Black history of our own in addition to doing our part to uplift ourselves and our people.  

If you don't know any Black trans folks, you either aren't trying to get to know us, or have some of my trans brothers or trans sisters right under your nose living their everyday lives without you realizing it. 

But the days of people dismissively saying that they don't know any Black trans people are over.  . 

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