When I wrote the post last week in which I was engaged in some hard solid thinking as Dr. King called it about what ails the African American trans community, I focused much of it on shame and guilt issues.
Not long after I published it, I received an e-mail from my friend Shari that pointed out that while I’d addressed two thirds of what she called the ‘Unholy Trinity’ that negatively impacts trans lives, there was another component of that unholy trinity I didn’t address in that post and that was fear.
So I’m going to do that right now.
African poet Chinwezu in the piece entitled ‘Admonition To the Black World’ from his 1988 anthology book Voices From Twentieth Century Africa: Griots and Towncriers had this to say about fear.
If you let them,/ They will use your fears against you,/ Your lack of daring against you,/ Your respectability against you,/…Your craving for trinkets against you,/ Your thirst for their praise against you,/ Your hunger for their world against you,/ Your contempt for your own against you,/…Your sense of self-shame against you,/…Your legendary patience against you,/…And they’ll stuff your mouths once more,/ With glass shards of defeat,/…And force you to swallow them.
Yeah, that’s depressingly on target in terms of what I have observed and what I believe has happened to chocolate trans world since the 1950s. Fear has taken hold of our community and has stunted and held back our growth vis a vis the white trans community. Our fears have been used against us for far too long.
But this is a new decade in which we are tired of doing things in the same old pattern and expecting a different outcome. We are finally checking that alarm clock that has been flashing WAKE UP at us for a while. We are having those hard, solid thinking infused family conversations around the nation about what a Black trans community needs to look like and what pressing issues we need to address together.
In terms of the psychic scars caused by the ‘Unholy Trinity’ as Shari called it, we definitely need to address fear.
The fear that keeps us from stepping out on faith and owning our power. The fear that keeps us from boldly stepping up, naming it, claiming it and being the proud men and women of trans history we know we are.
It’s the fear that keeps us from walking out of our own houses and up and down the blocks of our neighborhoods to face the world openly and proudly. The fear that keeps our youngsters from telling their parents they are transgender because they fear being thrown out on the street. .
It’s the fear that causes us to hate on other transwomen because they are either more attractive, have a higher profile, have somebody they are in a relationship with or you’re afraid in your mind they are doing better than you.
Time to declare our independence and freedom from that fear. It’s past time we step away from it and look inward, because the fear is tearing our community apart and preventing us from building community at this critical time in the Black trans community’s history. .
Are we going to allow this tipping point moment to fall by the wayside, or are we going to own our power and do what we must do to free ourselves from that fear and start boldly stepping out on faith to build better lives and a better community for ourselves and the next generation of transkids that are looking to us to provide the leadership to do just that?
Time to let our faith in ourselves and who we are as people dictate our actions and help us rise to fix the challenges and problems we have in this community.
Free ourselves and our minds from that fear, and as Parliament-Funkadelic so eloquently put it, our gluteus maximuses will follow.