Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's Juneteenth, 2013 Edition!

Today is June 19 or Juneteenth as we call it in the Lone Star State and the 42 other states that recognize it

It commemorates the 1865 day that Union Major General Gordon Granger stood on the balcony at Ashton Villa in Galveston, TX and read General Order Number 3 that proclaimed that all Texas slaves were henceforth freed.

I wrote a post last year framing Juneteenth in the context of what the African-American trans community in my home state needed to do.  I called for African-American trans Texans to embark on a trans Juneteenth in which we step off the mental plantation of shame, guilt and fear and stride boldly toward a future of us owning our power.  

What I didn't know at the time was that the seeds for what I was calling for were already being planted at the inaugural Black Transmen, Inc conference in Dallas and started to grow this past March.  A few weeks later I finally got a chance while I was in Charlotte for the TransFaith in Color Conference to meet in the flesh two Texas based transwomen I'd corresponded with online for several years in Dallas' Rev. Carmarion Anderson and Houston video blogger Diamond Stylz

At the BTMI conference in March I finally got to meet Carter Brown of Dallas and the men of BTMI who are all about being the change you wish to see in the world.   A month later it was emerging Houston transmasculine leader Tye West.

And yes, there are cis African-American allies and our trans family in Texas, around the nation and the world who stand ready to help us put into practice what I visualized last year.

We've stepped off the mental plantation of shame, fear and guilt and are taking those bold steps into being proud trans masculine and trans feminine Texans involved with and ensconced in the communities we intersect and interact with.  How that continues to evolve will be the source of constant communication. effort and sometimes 'The Texas Trans Revolution Will Not Be Televised' consultation, but I'm happy to see it's finally happening in my birth state.   

I'm also aware that the struggle for trans Texans human rights continues inside and outside of the African-American community.   We have to throw off the shackles of fourth class citizenship and plant trans civil rights trees here in our state as we fight off the oppressors who seek to chop those trees down.  We must nurture their growth even though we realize that as they grow tall enough to shelter transpeople from the blazing sun of anti-trans discrimination and bigotry, we may not live long enough to sit under them and drink strawberry soda or strawberry Kool-Aid in their human rights shade.

That shouldn't deter us from doing the hard solid thinking and work that must be done to build community amongst African-American trans Texans, our cis and trans allies here, across the US and around the world and all people of good will interested in helping us sit at our place at the family table. 

As I said in last year's post and it still applies 365 days later, we African descended Texas transpeople can no longer afford to muddle around for another wasted decade isolated, invisible to the world at large, ignorant about what's going on around us, and feeling impotent socially, emotionally, politically and economically. 

It is time for us to step up our leadership games and be the proud Black trans men and trans women we are, own our power and write our own proud chapter in Black Texas history in the process.

And I'm pleased and proud to see that we are finally on the road to doing all of the above.

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