One of my favorite quotations is something Frederick Douglass once said on April 14, 1876.
He stated that ‘Truth is beautiful and proper at all times and in all places.’ and it most certainly is.
One of the things I’ve learned throughout my life and my time as an activist, especially in spaces where I tend to be the lone POC in those spaces and any others I happen to inhabit is to fearlessly speak my mind and my truth.
There were times when I bit my tongue in some situations and regretted it, because when I got a chance to do some hard solid thinking and ponder the situation, my input at that particular time would have injected a much needed African descended perspective in that particular discourse and I was upset because I didn’t do so at that time.
The point is as African descended transpersons, we don’t have many of us out there as spokespeople authoritatively articulating the views of our people, and we need to take advantage of those opportunities when we get them.
Since people see me as an iconic leader, I’m going to own it, name it and claim it. I can’t, don’t and won’t worry about whether I’m going to be liked or not for speaking my mind.
One of the tenets of leadership, especially in the African American community is speaking truth to power. Being a Black trans leader means that in order for me to be an effective advocate for my community, I have to challenge status quo thinking and policies.
Neither am I going to sugar coat what needs to be said to make it palatable for people who wish to keep certain negative memes about my people going for their benefit or to ignore or erase my existence.
As I’ve said more than a few times on this blog, the 2K10’s are shaping up to be a new decade of awakening and discovery in terms of how the Black trans person seems themselves. We have our trans Talented Tenthbeginning to own their power. We have trans African American kids either fresh out of college or currently matriculating in them. We have veteran leaders like myself who are looking at the current trans landscape and lousy situation we find ourselves in as transpeople of African descent and aren’t liking what we see.
We want and deserve better for ourselves and our people. That means in order to achieve that goal, I and others are going to be speaking up and exercising power in ways that doesn’t fit with the ‘all marriage all the time’ groupthink of the white GL community, nor are we going to be sitting quietly as we are erased from trans community discourse, trans history or the leadership ranks of the trans community.
If you don’t like that, tough. You’ve had ample opportunity on your own to correct the problem and failed to do so. It’s past time for African descended transpeople to express ourselves due to our experiences as African-Americans in ways and policy stances that are Afrocentric in character.
Whatever policy stance we support in our minds need to have visible benefits not only for our downtrodden trans slice of the community, but the trans community in total.
And then there’s just factoring in the reality of life as a person of color. We’re going to be hated whether we speak our minds or we don’t, so we might as well give
our haters a damned good reason to despise us for. I’m going to lower my stress level by saying what I was thinking and getting it off my chest.
So when push comes to shove, whether it’s a panel discussion, a community forum, a radio show or podcast, on this blog or any others I have the honor of guest posting on, I’m going to speak my truth.