This graphic has been making the rounds in Trans World recently, and far from being representative of the lack of job opportunities for trans women in Gay, Inc organizations, it’s more accurately reflective of the lack of Gay, Inc job opportunities for African-American trans women.
Since we now have America’s attention, one of the things that needs to be addressed that has been a longtime sore spot with our community is the problematic pattern of trans hiring (or lack thereof) in Gay, Inc organizations that claim to be advocates for the rights of transgender people.
As an example of what I’m discussing, the LGBTQ Task Force used to have until Kylar Broadus took over that role, a cisgender woman named Lisa Mottet running their Transgender Civil Rights Project.
While Mottet is a wonderful ally, has now moved on to NCTE and has done an admirable job in that role, it’s still problematic with all the qualified trans people out there across the country doing the work (some for decades), you would still ignore them on an issue that they are more than qualified to advocate for, eloquently speak on in favor of hiring cisgender peeps to do that advocacy work.
It’s even more galling to notice this pattern within Gay Inc orgs when the people who take the brunt of the hate crime casualties are Latina and African-American trans women.
We Black trans women have in many cases done the work for decades and put our asses on the line for all the letters of the TBLG community including our own, but when it comes time to get paid for it, we aren’t the ones reaping the rewards.
When it comes time to getting paid to be a professional LGBT activist, far too often it is cisgender white gay males who do and get those positions and parlay those entry level positions into fast tracks to the leadership ranks of Gay, Inc organizations.
Even in the organizations that are trans oriented, the same problem crops up. With the notable exception of TPOCC, trans organizations are not only devoid of Black trans feminine people, but have a glaring lack of melanin in their senior leadership ranks.
Kudos for our work in articles, inclusion on community leadership lists or tributes in Gay, Inc org CEO speeches while deeply appreciated, don’t pay our bills or get us out of poverty.
Sustained money from a decent job at a livable wage does.
When African-American trans people are facing 26% unemployment, it would send a powerful message to the corporate ranks you push your equality indexes on if you would actually practice what you preach at others and hire transpeople for your own Gay, Inc organizations.
And yes, Black legacy orgs, I’m giving y’all the side eye as well. This isn’t just a Gay, Inc problem, and you traditional legacy orgs could also send a powerful message inside and outside our community about hiring us in these advocacy positions if you would take the bold step of leading instead of following on this issue.
If you are wishing to become competent on transgender human rights issues, wouldn’t hurt for you to hire the people who are experts at it and who are also culturally competent in the issues that ail Black America as well
Will that pattern change? I hope and pray it expeditiously does, but that remains to be seen.
But for our community’s sake, change it must.