A Modest Proposal To Houston And Texas TBLG Orgs

I’ve been back home about 17 months and not only has the state and the city of Houston changed during the eight years I was a Texan in exile, the lay of the rainbow landscape in terms of the TBLG organizations in the city of Houston and the state of Texas has radically changed as well.

Much of the reason I’ve been quiet since my return to the Lone Star State was mainly because I was observing what was going on, gathering intel,  reestablishing my communications links inside the state and getting reacclimated to what was happening in Houston and Texas inside and outside the rainbow community. .

One of the things that is an undeniable fact about my beloved hometown and my birth state is that Houston and Texas are both diverse places.   Texas has been a majority-minority state since 2000 and Houston is an international city with now 2.1 million residents.  It has long been a place in which no one ethnic group in city wide politics can get people elected to office on their own without significant help or support from the others, much less since the late 70’s without the support and endorsement on the progressive political side of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.   

But you wouldn’t know that perusing the boards of directors of the various orgs or the spokespersons for the various TBLG organizations here not only in the Houston area, but the state of Texas as well

One of the things that struck me as I attended the 2010 Houston TDOR ceremony for the first time since returning home was the fact that the victims being memorialized were predominately African-American and Latina, but the only people reading the names of those people we memorialized weren’t.

And don’t think it wasn’t noticed.   I had African American and Latina trans people who were in the audience at the AD Bruce Religion Center with me that evening looking side eyed at me and asking, “what’s up with that and what are you as our IFGE Trinity Award winning activist going to do about it?”

For starters, I’m not going to be silent about it any longer.   

Yes, we are one big contentious rainbow family.  Just as it is and continues to be important to see trans role models that reflect your ethnic group that you can be proud of and inspired to role model, it is even more important for trans communities of color to see role models that also positively reflect their culture as well..

I’m proud of the fact that Judge Phyllis Frye and Sarah DePalma were my activist mentors.  TFA’s Cristan Williams, Vanessa Edwards Foster and Josephine Tittsworth are people I consider my friends and are trailblazing wonderful leaders in this community.  Stacey Langley, Katy Perry, Lisa Scheps and Meghan Stabler do the same on a statewide and national level. 

Lou Weaver, Rose Wall, and Jenifer Rene Pool have been providing outstanding leadership to this community with Jenifer taking it to another level and running for an at large seat on Houston City Council in this current election cycle. .  

But because Houston is a diverse city and Texas is a diverse state we are all immensely proud of, it’s past time our trans and rainbow community orgs leadership ranks locally and statewide reflect that

 

You can say you don’t discriminate all day long, have an open and inclusive organization with bylaws to match, but nothing will say that you really are that type of org more than having POC’s involved in the decision making aspects of it and being visible non tokenized parts of it.

Transpersons of color need to see their own peeps standing at a microphone at the 2011 and future TDOR’s.  They need to see some of our POC trans heroes and sheroes giving keynote speeches at a Houston Unity Dinner. 

They need to hear them talk about trans and other issues on KPFT-FM’s ‘Queer Voices’ or  ‘After Hours’.  They need to see them being interviewed by local media in the wake of a trans community issue, see them doing lobby trainings, fighting for good laws or against bad ones locally or in Austin, be part of panel discussions, see them speaking on college campuses across the Lone Star State or watch them eviscerate right wing opposition in a debate.

And frankly, cis persons of color need to see that happen as well along with non-POC cis people.   They need to know that there are other flavors of transpeople besides vanilla and see the beautiful mosaic of diversity that is our Lone Star and Houston rainbow community .  

Recent incidents that happened involving local transwomen such as Tyjanae Moore and Mica Green have glaringly pointed out that leadership vacuum and the need to have trans spokespeople of color available to talk to cis and SGL communities of color and the media on trans issues. 

That visibility of POC transpeople is critically important in our trans education efforts to our person of color communities as well.    We are still fighting tooth and nail in our communities to overcome faith based ignorance and get it through our people’s heads and embedded in their hearts that just because we transitioned, we didn’t forfeit our pride in our heritage or aren’t concerned with doing our parts to uplift our communities

Those Texas college campuses we transpersons of color need to be speaking on about trans issues and how they affect our community also include HBCU’s like Houston’s Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University.  

The NAACP chapters in Dallas and Houston need to see and hear us too and be made aware of the fact their constituency includes trans people of color who are catching hell right now..

My African descended congressmembers in Houston in Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee and Rep. Al Green already know they have one proud African-American trans constituent and so does my state rep and my state senator, the HISD school board members that represent me, Houston Councilmember Jolanda Jones and US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.  My District D rep will find that out if she isn’t aware of who I am already.

You have a choice right now.  You have an IFGE Trinity Award winning African American trans Texan who is interested in, wants to get off the sidelines and get back into the game on behalf of her sector of the trans community, her hometown and beloved state.  I  have the media platform in TransGriot, the media training, the contacts, the broad based knowledge, over a decade of experience, the broad based support and desire to represent the African American trans community in the Houston area and Texas to the best of my ability..   

We have a lot of work that still needs to still be done in our city and state and I’d like to do that in concert with others.  I want to help get us where we need to go to have a better Houston and bring back the progressive Texas I grew up in and loved.   That vision will take a diverse team to make happen.. 

But if you reject this offer or attempt to freeze me out of the process because you’re frightened and ‘scurred’ of an outspoken TransGriot owning my power on behalf of my marginalized community and your desire to keep the problematic status quo situation going, I’m not only NOT going to be silent about it, I’ll just do what my people have always done here in Houston and Texas for over 150 years and handle my chocolate business on behalf of my people.

This status quo situation is deleterious to and increasingly untenable to POC transpeople in Houston and the state of Texas. I’m hearing that more often from POC rainbow community members from across the city and state and we’re beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of it.  

We will handle the erasure and marginalization in a way favorable to our community, and that part of the Texas trans revolution will not be televised.

It’s past time that POC trans voices in Houston and the rest of the Lone Star State are heard, our concerns are ensconced in the policy directions these organizations advocate for and POC transpeople in Houston and Texas are major players in the groups that purport to represent us.

Your call.  You can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.  I’m simply pointing out the festering problem, making a modest proposal and offering my help in solving the dilemma you find yourselves in.

And the clock is ticking on this limited time offer.

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