Black Trans Year In Review 2014

In a few days we’ll be flipping the calendar to 2015 and wondering what the next twelve months in Black Trans World will bring.  It’s going to have to be a serious year after the high bar we set for 2014 and the history we seemed to make every month..

It started out on a shocking note with the untimely death in a New Year’s Day car accident in Oakland of Minister Bobbie Jean Baker.   The sadness of losing our sister to a hit and run driver was quickly eclipsed by the wonderful news from Minnesota that the unjustly incarcerated CeCe McDonald was going to be released from prison, with that happening on January 13.

Black trans people were all over the media in 2014, and that started early with CeCe McDonald’s appearanceon the Melissa Harris-Perry Show with Laverne Cox. 

But it wasn’t the only time Laverne Cox received media face time in 2014.   Besides her Orange Is The New Black role, the most important one happened January 6 on the Katie Couric Show whenshe respectfully broke itdown to Katie along with Carmen Carrera that questions about our genitalia are no longer acceptable for media people to ask.

That led to Tiq Milan appearing with Christina Kahrl on CNN to discuss the media trans reporting fails.  Laverne also was featured on a Time magazine cover in April, received a historic Emmy nomination, was on the cover of ESSENCE magazine and was named to the EBONY Power 100.

Janet Mock also continued to be a 2014 news and history maker.   In addition to setting Piers Morgan straight for his jacked up attack interview of her, on February 4 she released her memoir Redefining Realness and began a book tour to support it.

She became the first out trans person to have a book make the New York Times bestseller list.  Mock also closed out the year on a high personal note by announcing her engagementDecember 23.  Wedding date has yet to be set.

We lost two trailblazing trans sisters to cancer this year.   In Philadelphia we lost trailblazing trans sister Jaci Adams in February.   Chicago’s trans and HIV/AIDS activist communities are still mourning the December 6 loss of Joy Morris. We also lost San Diego based advocate Kenishia Hubbard on August 18.

The Black trans community was once again well represented when the second edition of the Trans 100 was released March 30.   Nominations are now being taken for the third edition of it.

Janet and Laverne were an example of Black trans people getting attention from the mainstream Black community when they were honored by being named to the 2014 The Root 100 List. 

I took a lot of heat when I questioned the timing of B. Scott’s trans declaration within hours of filing a gender discrimination lawsuit against BET.  I was vindicated when Scott lost that lawsuit and noted he went right back to being an androgynous gay male.

Once again because of the bathroom predator lie the professional trans haters are spreading to fight the passage of laws to fight anti-trans discrimination, we have had instances of ignorant people harassing trans women for simply going to the bathroom to handle their nature calls.  

Kaye Bowers in Arkansas was fired from her job at Mickey D’s because a customer complained after she went to the correct bathroom for her outward gender presentation, and in Charlotte, Andraya Williams’ case after being disrespected at her community college garnered national attention and at last report a pending lawsuit.

The Black Trans Advocacy Conference in Dallas had another successful run and drew over 100 people including a certain blogger who celebrated her birthday on the last day of it.

Outrage reigned across Black Trans World in May when two trans women were attacked on a MARTA train in the ATL and no one came to their aid.  The wastes of DNA who perpetrated the transphobic attack were later arrested.

There was also outrage over the arrest and conviction of Monica Jones in Phoenix for Walking While Black Trans.  As the New Year unfolds we will see if justice is served in her case.

Longtime San Diego based trans activist Tracie Jada O’Brien was honored by the California LGBT Caucus on June 23.  

Two days later history was made when Tona Brown stepped onto the storied stage of Carnegie Hall to become the first outtrans African-American to perform there

One of the things I had noted that it had been a quiet year in terms of African-American trans women being killed due to anti-trans violence.   That suddenly came to an end in June when in rapid succession, Kandy Hall, Yaz’min Shancez, and Tiffany Edwards were killed along with Latina trans activist Zoraida Reyes.   12 African-American trans women would eventually be lost to anti-trans violence in 2014, and a #BlackTransLivesMatter hasttag has been created to remind our cis African-American family about that simple  fact..

Our fave WMMA fighting sis Fallon Fox not only was kicking azz and taking names in the octagon, she was taking on the anti-trans sporting ignorance in the sports world. 

Fallon was also pointing out the reluctance of the two main WMMA circuits to sign her as they hypocritically sign female fighters with WORSE records than Fox’s 5-1 mark.

The most delicious 2014 Fox WMMA bout was a September 13 microwaved beatdown of one of her transphobic critics Tamikka Brents.    Bet Ms Brents doesn’t have any doubts about Ms Fox’s WMMA skills now, does she?

It was a great year for the trans brothers as well.  Dr Kortney Ryan Ziegler’s took Trans* H4CK from its Oakland home to successful stagings of it across the country in Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston.  

Tiq Milan’s handsome face was not only seen on various talk shows this year discussing trans people in the media, in May he got married to his spouse Kim.

Speaking of positive media coverage, this Candy magazine cover featured a glam shot of several trans activists of color that should have been non controversial, but was anything but..  

It points out that in 2015, some of the ongoing education we’ll have to do is also inside our own trans community.  Elements of it fail to realize (or deliberately want to ignore the fact) that race matters in trans world  and the transitions of Black trans people are not like theirs.

Speaking of 2015, will be interesting to see what happens for our community in the next twelve months.   In addition to witnessing the things we didn’t expect, we’ll observe what things good, and bad will affect us as we reach the midpoint of the second decade of the 21st century.

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