I’m going to remix Ralph Ellison’s words so that they are apropos to conveying to the rest of the world how the chocolate trans community is feeling at this point in our history.
We are invisible because you not only refuse to see and hear me, you refuse to acknowledge our existence.
That’s basically the sentiment that comes across when I talk to African-American trans men and trans women in all age demographics around the country about the state of our trans community and our place in the greater scheme of things.
Every time one of our transwomen dies, we get erased from things like congressional hearings, town halls and televised discussions about our issues, have to deal with micro and macroaggressive bigotry and discrimination aimed at us from inside and outside the GLBT community, or being considered the trans ‘unwoman’, the frustration and anger grows.
Hear me and hear my community. My trans cousins of the African Diaspora are more than capable of speaking up and speaking out about their thoughts concerning this erasure of African-descended trans people, but don’t think I haven’t had discussions with African continent trans leaders and trans people over the last few years that echo the frustrations I’m verbalizing in this post.
So when I say community, my thinking reflected in this post is inclusive of my trans cousins across the African Diaspora as well.
I’m also extending my African diaspora trans cousins an open invitation to express themselves on this blog about what it’s like being trans people in the Caribbean and continental Africa and their perceptions of it from their vantage point. But back to what I needed to get off my chest..
We’re tired of being invisible.
We’re tired of taking the brunt of the trans community casualties and nobody giving a damn about it. We’re enraged about seeing one of our trans sisters stand her ground against neo-Nazi attack but be the only one being punished for it. We’re tired of our voices being erased from trans community discourse and our heroes and sheroes ignored. We’re tired of people seeming to conveniently forget that transwomen also exist in the Caribbean and the African continent and they have important voices that need to be seen and heard as well.
We’re tired of being seen as ‘tragic transsexuals’ but not groundbreaking leaders, role models and iconic figures in this community. We’re tired of being ignored and disrespected by our fellow African-Americans as well straight and gay.
And it needs to cease and desist.