When I say ‘quality Black woman’, I wanted to be the type of woman that even if you knew or discovered after meeting me I was a transwoman, you wouldn’t care, you’d see me as an asset and not a liability on the balance sheet of femininity and you’d want me in your life as a friend.
TransGriot, January 8, 2009 ‘Becoming A Quality Black Woman‘
During that December 18 Christmas party I attended with my high school classmates, I had several of my cis feminine classmates pull me aside and tell me they were proud of me. It made me tear up for a moment because one of the persons I talked to that night has known me since junior high school.
It’s not just my classmates. I’ve had messages during the Christmas holidays from cis and trans women wishing me Happy Holidays with heartfelt variations of the same theme..
It got me thinking about that 2009 post and the subsequent one in 2013 I wrote about the subject as New Year’s Day draws closer and I take stock of my evolutionary growth in 2016.
Evolution is definitely the operative word here April 4 will mark 23 years that I began to live my truth, and it has been an amazing journey at times with the occasional pothole here and there.
When I started my journey in 1994, there weren’t many nationally or internationally know out Black trans women. I knew part of what was required of me was to be a possibility model. I knew that wherever I went, be it IAH’s Terminal C, a conference or a college campus, the race and my chocolate segment of the trans community would enter with me.
With the assortment of talents I have, I eventually became a leader in this community.
But while recognizing I was going to become whether I wanted it or not a role model, I never lost sight of of that personal goal of being a quality Black woman. I knew that it was mandatory that I must excel in whatever I chose to do because I had additional scrutiny on me.
Neither did I forget the promise I made to myself, many of my cis feminine CAL co-workers, and other cis Black women I had conversations with in that period that this transition was not a game or joke to me.
I don’t think about myself that way, but it amuses me at times when I’m called a trans pioneer or trans elder. But when you transition in 1994, and have been involved in activism on behalf of a community since 1998, that happens.
I’m proud to note there are many different versions of beautiful Black trans women out there around the country and increasingly the world. I’m proud to call many of them my friends. I’m even more proud of the fact that my Black trans feminine elders tell me they are just as proud of me that I am of them who transitioned in much tougher circumstances than I did.
And I never forget the far too many Black trans women we have lost during my over two decades in this community. They unfortunately will never have the opportunity to know what it’s like to be my age because they were violently taken away from us.
Many of my Black trans sisters are as my fellow writer Denny Upkins would say are #BlackFolksBeingAwesome.
We are New York Times best selling authors, athletes, entrepreneurs, college professors, award winning actors, teachers, students and award winning community leaders.
We strut fashion runways around the world. We are your wives, lovers, sisters, aunts, and mothers raising kids And yes, increasingly some of my future quality Black women are trans kids or trans teens like Trinity Neal who are being raised by some amazing parents .
We are simply not only being the best people we can be, but also doing our part to uplift our community despite being reviled and hated on by ignorant sectors of the Black community..
I’m glad to have done, and will continue to do to the best of my ability my part to not only point out the fact that Black trans women exist, but we have a proud legacy of leadership and solid contributions to the communities we intersect and inhabit.
At the same time, I’m still continuing that evolutionary journey to be that quality Black woman who loves seeing the person staring back at her in the mirror when she wakes up in the morning.
It that inspires some of you, be you cis or trans women to do the same, then that’s all good as well.