Today is the start of Black History Month. It’s only 28 days (29 in a leap year) but for me, EVERY DAY and EVERY MONTH is Black History Month.
Black History didn’t stop with the Civil Rights Movement or the Obama Administration, it is happening in our time. Since Black trans people are Black people, even if you cis Black folks at times ignore that reality, the things we accomplish are an undeniable part of our collective history.
It’s one of the major reasons why TransGriot exists, to document and ensure that history isn’t forgotten, whitewashed or deliberately ignored, and the importance of that mission became clear on Election Night 2017.
When Danica Roem completed her historic victory over Bob Marshall, many news outlets reported she was ‘the first transgender state legislator’. I immediately took to Twitter to point out that Althea Garrison had already made that history in 1992, and they eventually corrected that developing media narrative and linked the Garrison post I’d written to back it up. .
The major examples of Black trans people making Black history occurred last November when Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham because the first out Black trans people elected to public office since Althea Garrison made it happen in 1992.
Phillipe also made some history on his own. He became the first Black trans masculine person in the United States to be elected to public office, and together Jenkins and Cunningham are the first trans people of any ethnic background to be elected to a major city council.
And as we continue to move forward into 2018, the potential for Black trans people to continue to make history and build on our progress is even more tantalizing.
Ashlee Marie Preston is now running for a California Assembly seat that is she is successful in capturing, would make her the first out Black trans person elected to a state legislative seat, the first trans person of any ethnic background in California and the first Black trans state legislator since Althea Garrison
And yeah, I’ve received my third nomination for a GLAAD Media Award. If I’m fortunate to win th Best Blog category, TransGriot would be the first trans owned and oriented blog to capture that award ever since they started that category in 2011. We’ll see if that happens in a few months.
And sadly, when I keep track of the people that we’ve lost to anti-trans violence, that’s also part of our collective history. There are also the people that we don’t know about who may be thrust into our public consciousness before the year is over.
So yes, Black Trans History is undeniably Black History.