Disrespect Of Black Womanhood Is Why I’m Not A Feminist

Chelsea Sayre, my fellow columnist at Transadvocate and editrix of the Trans Femmergy blog wrote an interesting post entitled It’s Bigger Than Your Womanhood.

It was in her words ‘a rant directed at the trans women who want absolutely nothing to do with feminism (no one in particular) because a mean, scary woman somewhere called you a name or the wrong gender.’

Well Chelsea, I’m one of those transwomen who wants nothing to do with feminism and the disrespect it aims at us.  

I’m about to tell it like it T-I-S is as to why I feel that way and expound on my reasons for saying thanks but no thanks to feminism.   They are bigger than the loud and wrong group of transphobic radical lesbian separatists still stuck in the disco era.  

If you were wearing my Afrocentric shoes, explain why should I have any respect for or rush to join a movement that has repeatedly shown it has no respect for me, my cis African descended sisters and doesn’t care about any woman that isn’t a cis white one?  

Too many feminists fail to recognize they exist with white privilege they gleefully exercise when it suits them while ignoring how race and class issues affect non-white cis and trans women. 

It’s why like many Black women who have had the same epiphany about feminism I pivoted to and eventually became a womanist

If we’re ‘all women’ as I hear repeatedly said as a talking point  in some quarters of the feminist movement and the feminist blogosphere, why the cricket chirping silence in terms of the sexist and racist attacks on the First Lady that have been ongoing since 2008, but feminists leap to the defense of Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann if any man even looks at them cross eyed or says a disparaging word about them?

If ‘we’re all women’, why does a white transwoman who is beaten at a Roseland, MD McDonald’s get a rally while a little over 100 miles away a Black transwoman who gets beaten outside a Fredericksburg, VA 7-Eleven doesn’t?

Don’t even get me started on the feminist cricket chirping silence over the nastiness, transphobia and oppression that white radical lesbian separatists and radfems have engaged in and aimed at transwomen of all ethnic backgrounds since 1979.

Respect of my humanity and femininity is a big fracking deal when I live and interact with a vanillacentric society and culture that paints women of color and especially Black women as the ‘unwoman’ vis a vis the white women they put on society’s pedestal as its idyllic feminine ideal all women should strive to emulate.

As a transwoman of African descent disrespect aimed at my femininity and humanity is an even bigger fracking deal because it builds upon a historical four century foundation of racism, oppression and sexism.  

The unwoman meme also fuels the transphobia and anti-trans violence that disproportionately affects transwomen of color.

If it escaped your attention, working for the advancement of the human rights of transwomen is also working for women’s issues because it not only improves the lives of transwomen, it expands the human rights of all women. 

Sadly cis white feminists have been major players in impeding the progress of trans human rights over the last thirty years because they lack the vision to see that granting rights to transwomen expands them for cis women.

Feminism in whatever wave it is in has consistently demonstrated it only respects, cares about and works for the advancement of only one monoracial segment of cis women. That’s why Black women pulled out of the feminist movement in the late 80’s-early 90’s and became womanists or joined with Latinas, Asians, Native American and other women to become Radical Women of Color.

Any transwoman of color who wants to do more to be down for the big picture cause of advancing the human rights of all women cis and trans should consider becoming womanists, radical women of color or joining cis women of color organizations dedicated to doing that uplift work.

Don’t waste your precious time, energy and sanity considering feminism until it cleans up its bigoted and transphobic vanillacentric act.  

Why should I as a African descended transwoman or any transwoman of color work in or for a movement that doesn’t benefit us or consider the issues of cis and trans women of color important?   Nor can I in good conscience as a leader in the African-American transfeminine community recommend that transwomen of color become feminists until it does.

Thanks, but no thanks.   Disrespect of mine and cis Black womanhood is why I’m not a feminist in the first place.

1 thought on “Disrespect Of Black Womanhood Is Why I’m Not A Feminist”

  1. I agree with you about the Trans Femmergy post. It isn't just that there are a few racist and cissexist and otherwise bigoted "bad apples" in feminism. If that were the case, I'd agree with her. The problem is, this bigotry has been part of the feminist movement for so long, and none of the supposedly non-bigoted feminists feel that it's important to challenge the bigotry at the heart of feminism. Not speaking against oppression is functionally the same thing as endorsing it. I used to think that feminism might have a place for me, but like you, I've come to realize that it will never be anything but a movement for white, cis, able-bodied, college-educated, middle-to-upper class women. I'm through with it.

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