Friday, November 22, 2013

TDOR 2013 Message To My Houston Black Transpeeps

Dee Dee WattersSince the 2013 Transgender Day of Remembrance events are rapidly coming to an end, basically had to say a few things to my African-American transpeeps in Houston as I pondered the historic happening Wednesday night of the first ever Houston TDOR event organized and executed by an African-American transgender Houstonian. 

It was a rousing success with over 40 people in attendance at this historic first time ever event.  And nope, that distinction does not belong to me.  The well deserved props for this historic feat belong to Dee Dee Watters.  
She was motivated to act after hearing me gripe during one of our conversations a few months ago about our lack of representation at TDOR events in Houston and across the country.   It was her tough minded determination and elbow grease that led to what happened Wednesday night and led to me when it was over having a wide as Texas smile.  
All I did was simply advise and offer my help and thoughts on how to proceed when she needed it. 

For those of you who missed the first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance event ever in Houston with soul that was planned by an African American trans Houstonian, all I have to say is you missed a groundbreaking historical event.

It was held in the 97 year old
St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church on Wheeler Street in the shadows of the Texas Southern University campus.  It's where the radically inclusive Progressive Open Door Christian Center holds its services.  That only added to the sense to me of just how appropriate this place was as the venue for this first ever Houston African-American TDOR event and I was proud on my small role in it. 

It had a kick butt monologue from Dee Dee entitled 'Love Who You Are'.   Spoken word readings from Tye West, Makai Bowie, Rev J. Nicole Mathis, and Latina transwoman Alexus Nicole Whitny.  A Maya Angelou poetry selection read by Lesa Jackson.  A dance selection to Beyonce's song 'Halo' by DePaul Cydney Norwood.   An acapella version of the 'Greatest Love of All' sung by Emanhi Fuqua, a musical selection by Nicolai Kirk      

And after the candle lighting, yes the Reading of the Names by AJ Bowie, Rev. Mathis, Darcy Mitchell and a certain award winning blogger y'all all know and we closed it by having the trans people who attended the event leading a march twice around the sanctuary singing a civil rights era freedom song.
You know next year's TDOR with soul will be even better because that's just how we do things.

I hope during the 2014 Black TDOR event and subsequent ones we actually see some of our African American community and business leaders, Black Greek letter organization members, politicians, thought leaders, clergy, pundits, family members, straight cis and SGL allies be in the house at future ones to pay their respects and support our Black trans community.

Frankly, they need to be there.  This year alone there were 12 African-American transpeople who died because of anti-trans violence, with the overwhelming majority of them (11) being African-American trans women.  Many of those people also died at the hands of other African-Americans.
Another group of people who need to be there to support this event now that we have a home for it is you Black trans Houstonians who couldn't make it this year.   If your azzes can show up at a pageant, the club, a party or a drag show, you damned sure need to have your Black, trans and proud faces in the place showing up, showing out, and standing up to be counted in support of a TDOR event organized by another Black trans woman. .

You've claimed and complained for years Black trans women inside and around Loop 610 you wanted a Houston event 'for the gurls'.  Now one exists, so what 'cha gonna do?  It's 
time for you to either put up or sit your azz down somewhere and have a nice tall sweet tea flavored glass of STFU. 

Time for y'all to support this Black TDOR event that is immersed in your cultural heritage.  Nurture it. Help it grow.  Share it with the rest of the Houston community.  And better yet, help Dee Dee plan next year's event.      

Houston Black trans men, here is your opportunity to step up, support your Houston trans sisters and emerging Houston, state and national leaders like Tye West and Dallas' Carter Brown .   

We need you Houston Black trans brothers getting busy developing and honing those leadership skills.  We Houston Black trans women need you to be in words, actions and deeds the fabulous brothers and leaders we know you are  

The Black cis community will also need you to step up to your A+ leadership game as well.  If you are serious about doing so and making that Black Trans Juneteenth happen, then I'm sure Carter and Tye would love to see your faces in the place in Dallas April 30-May 4 for BTAC 2014 and at other community events in H-town and beyond in 2014.

To borrow a phrase from my little sis Dee Dee, Real Talk time
.   As people step up to lead this community, just letting y'all know upfront shade throwers and agent provocateurs need not apply.for the job of building the Houston African-American trans community.

We'll get enough of that from peeps outside of it.   As a trans elder in this community if I even sense a hint of it I WILL call your azzes out because it is Nation Time, not Throwing Shade Time.  A
s I said back on Juneteenth and will repeat for your edification and 'ejumaction' here, 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. 
We have the opportunity now to do something about that situation now that we are getting the attention of the Houston Black cis community SGL and straight.   We have a chance to build something lasting here and for the sake of our fallen brothers and sisters we need to be tough minded enough to make it happen.. 

I am determined along with Dee Dee and other visionary leaders to not waste this God given opportunity paid for with the blood of our fallen sisters to do just that.

With the upcoming effort to get gender identity and sexual orientation added to the Houston non discrimination ordinance, we Black trans folks will play a key role in helping it get passed because the opponents will us ignorance, fear and hatred of trans people to 'scurr' people into opposing it.. 

But to build that Houston Black trans community some of you have told me repeatedly you want, we have to come out of the shadows and stop hiding.  As my sis Rev. Carmarion Anderson said in her San Antonio TDOR keynote last night, we have to be naked to the world. 

Translation, we have to be our authentic selves and be that in every space we proudly enter.  And one of the spaces we long ago needed to enter was the room in which the African-American family table is placed with the kente cloth covering the table and the kinara at the center of it. 

It's past time we claimed our seat at that table as visibly proud Black trans men and women. 

The only way we can do that is to be visible and say it loud, we are Black, trans and proud and don't care what you think about us living our truth and being the people God created us to be.

reverend lawrence richardson, shift UCCAs Pastor Lawrence T. Richardson reminds us, "God is love and you were made in the image of perfect Love. There is space for you in this world. There is space at your church, in your desired career, in your family, on sports teams…and it is time to take your space."

t's past time Houston Black trans community for us to take our space. 

Because visibility will lead to victories in our professional, political and personal lives, and be good for not only us as Black trans people, but for all the communities we intersect and interact with.

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