Monday, August 05, 2013

Trans POC Speakers Need To Be Seen, Heard And Paid At TBLG Events

Had an enjoyable two hour conversation with Tona Brown late Sunday afternoon.   It eventually turned to discussing the appalling and frustrating to us topic of lack of opportunities to do keynote speeches on college campuses, at TDOR's, trans and SGL conventions, seminars, community dinners, awards shows, rallies,  marches or LGBT pride events.

I've been blessed to have the opportunity to do a few trans conference keynote speeches along with three TDOR keynotes, some collegiate ones and participate in major conferences such as the 2012 Netroots Nation and two NBJC OUT on the Hill events.  I enjoy doing them and I and my trans POC colleagues would respectfully like the opportunity to do more of them.

As I mentioned before, the trans narrative in this country for the last six decades has been told from an overwhelmingly white trans feminine perspective with slightly more ink in the last few years for the white trans masculine one.   Our Black, Asian and Latino trans brothers get little if no media love period.

But yet, it is our POC trans world stories that need the most telling   From CeCe McDonald to the 1965 Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit-In and Protest to present day trans leaders and icons simply expounding on our transmasculine and transfeminine journeys, the stories of trans people of color need to be added to this overwhelmingly monoracial conversation about trans issues that could stand after 60 years to have some fresh perspectives injected into it.

There is the need for views on various trans and non trans issues with flavor it to be expressed by trans POC's in order to break down the trans ignorance that still persist in gay and straight elements of our own communities of color.  Just as you get to do, we want the ability to tell our own histories and discuss how the issues of the day impact us.  

We trans people of color deserve the opportunity to point out to all the communities we intersect and interact with we exist, are intertwined with and part of the diverse mosaic of human life.

We also wish to point out that as people of color of trans experience, we are concerned about the success of the greater communities we intersect and interact with.  We strive to and want to be the role models and thought leaders providing the visionary leadership to inspire others to do just that.

Even when we do get the e-mail or the phone call, when we tell you what our fees are, it's upsetting to us to note that you balk at paying us what we're worth, but will pay the Dan Choi's and white trans women of the world large fees to do so without blinking.  

Black trans musicians and performers are also upset about Pride events that won't hesitate about paying the $50-60K it takes on average to get a well known cis female musician to perform at their event but haven't (or won't) consider having a trans musician or keynote speaker or color in order to keep that GLB cash or T-bills circulating in our own community.   

Black Pride orgs not only do the same thing, but infuriatingly will claim poverty or attempt to play the Black solidarity card when they call us to possibly perform and we ask for fair compensation of our time and the work we put in on our ends to make their event a successful one.  

They'll also claim poverty when they want trans activists to speak but we know and see it on their Pride promotion websites are charging covers of $15 a head or more to get into many Black Pride events.

That lack of trans POC speaker diversity is at its most infuriating best when it comes to Transgender Day of Remembrance Events.  The overwhelming number of people dying are Black and Latina transpeople, but when it comes time to have the events, you walk into a TDOR memorial venue and see an event that because of its glaring lack of diversity frustratingly reminds you of a Republican Party convention. 

And naw, it's not just Moni noticing that.  Our SGL and African-American cis allies are noticing it, too.

I don't know how others feel about TDOR's, but I'm willing for that event to forgo my speaking fee if you cover my transportation to get me there and back to H-town and I get a place to stay.  I am that serious about being willing to lead by example and have people from trans communities of color being part of the TDOR's helping memorialize our fallen sisters. 

Frankly it's past time we had more non-white transpeople participating in TDOR events and talking about the people we've lost.

Of course, if you slide me a down low check for that TDOR speech I'm not going to turn it down either.  Like I said, I have bills to pay and a blog y'all like to read to maintain.

As I said in a previous post on this subject and that point still remains true a year later, non-white transpeeps have bills to pay and need to replenish our bank accounts like just like our white trans community counterparts do.  

So for those of you in decision making positions, don't forget there exists a vast qualified pool of non-white trans and SGL people who can confidently and competently speak or perform at your various events.

You just need to take the initiative to call them and once you do, pay them for their time.

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