I am tired. I am sad. I am mourning. My sisters are being murdered, largely by their own community and at horrific rates.
Black women, specifically Trans Women deserve so much more. It’s not enough to acknowledge privilege. It’s not enough to say you see us, to say you hear us, to say you stand with us. We need action. We need support. We need safety and most importantly we need security.
What does that look like?
For one it must start with an acute understanding of transmisogynoir.
irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender people.
the specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward black women.
Hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against black trans women. Coined in 2014 on Gradient Liar.
Transmisogynoir is the root cause of violence and death for Black Trans Women, especially dark skinned Black Trans Women.
I cannot have this conversation without stating that desirability politics, which includes colorism must be accounted for in order to understand why some Trans Women end up in magazines while others end up in body bags.
This is a harsh reality so I will be frank. It’s easier to survive when people deem you attractive especially as a marginalized identity. This is the truth of society. It effects us all regardless of identity, though, women & feminine identities are held to a much higher standard in presentation, behavior, and intellect, even more so when race is considered. It is wrong and we have to know this in order for my points to be clear.
As women and fem identifying individuals, our accomplishments are our own so I will not undermine our hard work by saying that being perceived attractive is what gets us ahead. However, it cannot be ignored that in a patriarchal society where femininity in general is scrutinized and Transness is vilified, Trans women have to, in an effort for preservation do their best to not incite violence against us.
We do this by implementing traditional notions of femininity, this is not about toxic femininity, more so how in order to survive it greatly benefits Trans women to be cis assumed. While we can and will likely face misogyny and harassment, being cis assumed alleviates the risk of violence & discrimination due to Transphobia in certain scenarios.
Most, not all, however most Trans Women go great lengths to present in a way that aligns with their own unique perception of themselves.
Their. Own. Unique. Perception. Of. Themselves.
This is important as there is no “right” way to be Trans.
Now that I think we are on the same page. My main points are.
Black Trans Women need financial support.
Donate to (if you can) and share valid GoFundMe, Venmo, Cash App and PayPals.
Invest in their surgeries.
(I know this will piss the wrong person off so this is for you).
TRANS WOMEN WHO CHOOSE GENDER AFFIRMATION SURGERIES DO THIS IN ORDER TO SURVIVE.
That is a simplification, however, gender affirmation will likely always help curtail gender dysphoria. Which can lead to depression, self harm & suicide. So if men aren’t killing us, we sometimes, without adequate support, safety, and resources do what for many seems like the only option.
I don’t think enough people realize it is a privilege that your family loves you, supports you, provides for you, talks to you, cares about you (I also understand that this is not just a Trans issue so I do feel the need to clarify that before I move on).
Many Trans people do not have basic familial support so riddle me this.
If you were 18 and were put on the streets because your biological family refused to accept you and no one would help you because you looked very visibly Trans. What would you do?
Bare in mind your credit is likely poor (you may not even have a debit card). You can’t work or were fired because you look a certain way. No one wants to help you because of the color of your skin and your gender identity, The list goes on.
What would you do?
I don’t know what I would do.
I’m spelling this out for you so that you understand why it is imperative that we support Trans Women. We should support all Black LGBTQ people. However, I speak about Black Trans Women because our experience is so specific. The only people that ever seem to care are myself and my sisters. I am not an advocate because I want to be. I am an advocate because I need to be. But I can’t do it alone.
My sisters can’t do it alone. Society at large wants us to fail, they want us to suffer, they want us to die.
It’s your job to help me.
Everyday I wake up I am thankful a sister close to me wakes up too. As a non-binary person, it is not lost on me that I benefit from being cis assumed when I present traditionally male.
Yes, I am Trans by definition, however, in real life application I can choose when and how to present given the situation and what is comfortable for myself, safety, and wellbeing.
Trans women who are women by binary definition do not have that option. Everyday they present femininely and walk out their doors, or meet up with a guy, or go in for an interview, they are perceived.
Perception can lead from the most basic rejections to violent deaths. I can’t and I won’t stand by as this continues to happen.
I implore you, please utilize the links I provide.
Support Black Trans Women as well as their cis counterparts. I’m not asking for the world. I am asking for human decency. I am asking for respect. We don’t need you to understand nor do we care. What matters now is genuine action and an actual want to see us well, to see us in spaces. To accept us beyond your elementary understanding of who the Black Trans Femme is. We are not a monolith. In order to be an ally you must respect and advocate for us all. Regardless of size, of color, of religion, of socioeconomic status, regardless of your perception of us.
- Daniel “Priss” Lockhart.