One of the things that irritates me and other African-American trans community people who have gotten the opportunity to do speaking engagements is running into a meme, mindset or mistaken belief by organizers and planners of these events.
It’s a mistaken belief that because we African-American trans speakers don’t get as many of these speaking opportunities vis a vis our white counterparts, we are so starved for the attention that we’ll do these for free or severely reduced rates.
We African-American trans peeps have bills to pay and need to replenish our bank accounts like just like our white trans community counterparts do. To be honest, it’s our stories that urgently need to be heard by society in addition to us getting the visibility that white trans people have had since 1953.
Our chocolate trans people not only need to be heard because they bring fresh perspectives and innovative thinking to the ongoing rainbow community human rights discussion, frankly y’all need the ‘ejumacation’ about what our lives are like and what we think about the hot topic issues inside and outside our rainbow community.
And Black trans speakers also need to be standing up at podiums inside the Black community as well doing the ‘ejumacation’ and sharing our knowledge as Kylar just did at the recently concluded NAACP convention in Houston..
Black transpeople need to be showcased far more frequently than they are nowadays because it will blow up the erroneous perception in communities of color and society that thoughtful, visionary trans people like us don’t exist. It also is concrete evidence we have out and proud unapologetically Black trans people who are involved in the rainbow human rights struggle and we Black trans people have some ideas about where the movement needs to go..
And yes, those fresh perspectives are worth paying for to hear them.if you have the ability to do so.
Two years ago Dan Choi was getting flack because either he or his agent was allegedly asking for $10,000 before he’ll even step to the microphone to speak. It was something a then Texas Tech student complained about and I rebutted in my Activists Need To Get Paid, Too post.
My fee is not even close to that.
A few years ago in the wake of my keynote speech at the 2008 gender conference I was part of at the University of Colorado, I had an inquiry come in about my availability to speak at a large west coast city’s pride march. They were willing to go as far as fly me roundtrip out from Louisville and put me up in a hotel, but when I asked for a mere $500 on top of that there was cricket chirping silence.
Considering my profile in the trans activist community and status, they were getting off extremely cheap. I also believe that had I been a melanin free trans human being I would have been standing at the podium that day and had more money than that mere $500 in my purse on the way back to Da Ville.
I’m also hearing the same complaints from other African-American activists who have had a few colleges or groups balk at paying speaking fees when we are quite aware they had no problem shelling out far more money for white activists who don’t have one-tenth of the activist resumes many of us have put together.
But yes, if you want to help speed up that day when trans African-Americans can do our parts to help uplift our community and be financially stable enough to be able to donate to your causes, y’all have make that investment in our talents as well.
Time to pay the Black transman and Black transwoman for their stories and valuable time that they are willing to spend to enliven you event when you summon the courage to ask them to do so.