Black SGL peeps have had it going on for a while and have been intertwined with the kente cloth life of African-Americans for generations.
They were thinkers, leaders and creative forces in the Harlem Renaissance. Bayard Rustin was a major leader in the civil rights and gay rights movements. Lorraine Hansberry helped finance some of the activities of the civil rights movement. They are advisers to presidents, members of our community legacy organizations from the NAACP to Divine Nine fraternities and sororities and in some cases power players in gay and non-gay organizations
People such as LZ Granderson and Jonathan Capehart get air time on cable news shows as pundits on issues other than GLBT ones. Others are getting themselves elected to major city councils, judgeships and state legislatures. Others are actors, writers in major newspapers and magazines and even appear in popular culture on television shows, movies and book characters.
There is an old Greek proverb that states “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Hey I ain’t mad at y’all. You have worked hard to get to this early 21st century moment in which you are sipping sweet tea under the shade of those trees that people planted during the last century. But as you sip your sweet tea, don’t forget that your African descended trans brothers and sisters are sweltering, thirsty for that human rights blend of sweet tea and catching hell under the blazing hot sun of ignorance fueled intolerance.
We chocolate transpeeps want to replicate the same accomplishments for our segment of the chocolate rainbow community. We want our humanity respected and laws to protect our human rights. We want realistic, balance portrayals of Black trans lives in popular culture. We want our heroes and sheroes recognized and our transkids to be able to confidently believe they have a future as big as their dreams can make it and to make them happen..
We want to plant trees for our trans brothers and sisters to sit under as well.
What I and other Black trans people are concerned about is that you Black SGL peeps, enjoying the fruits of this early 21st century power surge may be on the verge of replicating the same mistake white gays did in throwing the trans community under the human rights bus.
Time for a wake up call and a family conversation on a few points.
Frankly, we’re tired of being ignored, dissed and treated like afterthoughts in Black SGL circles. Black transpeople are busting their ample behinds just like y’all are to be respected and recognized.
Bear in mind Black GL community, that the equality trees you sit in the shade of and sip your sweet tea under are watered with the blood of Black transpeople that we cannot allow to die in vain.
It offends me and my fellow transpeople that some of you are arrogant enough to think we don’t deserve to sit under those human rights shade trees and share sweet tea with you.
If this hasn’t occurred to you yet, need to point out African descended transpeople and our allies are not going to let you Black SGL peeps throw us under the bus without a fight. Neither are we going to allow Black SGL peeps that are inclined to do so
to forget the T part of our chocolate rainbow community.
Elements of you in our chocolate rainbow family can be just as
transphobic as elements of our white gay and lesbian counterparts are and
be just as clueless in terms of where transpeople fit in the TBLG community. You need to recognize that some of us transpeeps identify with the LGB and are same gender loving folks like y’all.
If we have transphobic SGL folks you will be put in check just as we will do the same to Black trans people who exhibit homophobic tendencies. We don’t have time for disunity when we have much more pressing problems to solve in the chocolate rainbow community..
I will point out and continue to do so as long as this blog lives and I am standing six feet above the ground that we have a shared history. We African American trans people are intimately connected to many of the same issue concerns that African-American SGL people and African-American cis people are grappling with such as HIV/AIDS, ENDA, marriage equality, economic empowerment, police harassment, education, and voter suppression just to name a few. We have a wonderful almost decade old organization in the National Black Justice Coalition that is helping all of us own our power as our nascent TPOCC grows to become muscular enough to represent our interests.
That relationship needs to continue because in many ways transpeople are the keys to helping you SGL people reach your human rights goals as we simultaneously grow to own our power and shed the shackles of shame, guilt and fear in being proud trans African-Americans.
You also have a golden opportunity to be better than your white LGBT counterparts have been in terms of uplifting your Black trans brothers and sisters as you continue to climb to greatness. We Black trans people want to make that journey with you and do our parts to uplift the African-American LGBT community and the greater ones we intersect with.
It’s not only for our mutual benefit, but for future generations of BTLG people and the African-American community as well.
It’s your call on whether that happens, but the first step in it is not forgetting the trans portion of the Black LGBT community.