I’ve been thinking long and hard about this gender thing, as I work to gain a perspective on how to tackle transphobia. As I’ve written before, I’ve been struggling to make sense of this wicked anti Trans society we live in.
At the same time, I’m also tussling with articulating the angst that the hate and violence against Trans people brings to me, as I don’t necessarily “identify” as Transgender. Nowadays, I’m even struggling with the fact that there is the very necessary and even, life threatening need for a Trans “community”.
I’m not bought on the brand of a Trans “community”, in such that I am also not bought on the brand of the so-called LBGTQ or queer “community”. As I recently pronounced quite profoundly my attraction to women, I’ve been reflecting heavily on what took me so long to say something out loud.
“…I now consider and feel confident enough to say, are major flaws and imperfections in the concept and definitions of a so-called queer and LGBTQ “community.'”
A trip to the Brooklyn Museum this past weekend, drastically changed my life and my assertion of my gender and sexual orientation identity. My viewing of the upcoming documentary and current webseries “The Peculiar Kind” helped me find answers to my personal identity questions, while building new questions around my understanding of the word “community.”
The webseries’ ‘By- Definition‘ episode, spoke truly and loudly to what I now consider and feel confident enough to say, are major flaws and imperfections in the concept and definitions of a so-called queer and LGBTQ “community.” The episode’s heavy discussion of the stigma and rejection of bisexuality from both the “straight” and LGBTQ “communities”, answered my long sought questions.
The eminent rejection from both “communities” I supposedly represent, was more than enough reason to keep my love of women an unspoken “don’t ask, don’t tell” lifestyle. Moreover, my persistent desire to make sure “coming out” wouldn’t lock me into another socially constructed identity, weighed even heavier on my decision.
In such, the perpetuation of building “communities” within “communities”, as a means to addressing the human disregard and lack of respect shown toward anyone who doesn’t identify with the dominant culture, is backward.
Creating a queer community, within the LBGTQ community, and a Trans community within the queer community, does nothing but further isolate more humans from the very principles of humanity we’re all seeking.
Humanity is grounded is solidarity and the power in numbers. Closing the Trans and/ or queer “communities” off from people who don’t blatantly or ritualistically represent the so-called ideals of a queer or Trans person/ ally, is not humanistic.
The thing I am realizing more and more as I set to free myself of the societal chains that define me as a “woman”, as “Black” and as “poor”, is that the only real way to gain that desired freedom is to redefine what it means to be me.
I can’t keep looking for a definition of my own self in the external definitions of all selves created by people, societies and places I’ve never met or don’t fully understand. I can’t keep using society’s dictionary to search for the words that unlock the secret to my story, existence and definition.
In such, our own self-definition of what it is to be a “woman” can no longer be socially constructed or defined. Those who are called to wear the often burdened and beaten, though glorious and honorable shoes of a “woman”, must define what it means to be that “woman” they were called to be; not the woman the world wants you to be.
The fact that the suicide rate of Trasngender people is almost twice the national average, because they’re not defined by their vaginas and penises tells a story! Trans women of color are disproportionately slaughtered because their identity inherently calls them to define themselves, for themselves.
Yet, the many factions of the so-called “women’s” movements can’t see and/ or truthfully honor the fact that the same protection that such groups argue applies to all women, is not being afforded to the Trans women committing suicide and being murdered.
I find that the most common thread connecting those who identify with the “Trans” community, is one’s solidarity with the willingness to respect one’s own spirit. The Transgender identity is bound in acknowledging that the identity assigned to one at birth, does not and can not define one’s God-given identity.
“The more I read and discover the stories and testimonies of Trans people as a whole, and Trans women of color particularly, the less different and separate I feel from Trans people. “
Can that same respect not be applied to the basic principles guided against the hate filled philosophies and structures of racism, sexism, classism, fat- phobia, etc? From birth, all Black people are consigned to a life of mediocrity, self hate and ignorance, nourished by the pervasive comparison to the “dominant” culture of Whiteness.
At birth, I was assigned the identity of a poor, black girl. My entire life journey is about acknowledging that my assigned identity doesn’t match with my God-given identity.
The more I read and discover the stories and testimonies of Trans people as a whole, and Trans women of color particularly, the less different and separate I feel from the Trans “community.” As Black women, we share in the struggle and fight against persecution and violence through our commitment to self-definition.
Because that’s all this is about. Self definition. The divine right to honor the person God, the universe, Spirit or whoever have you, designated you to be. And the willingness to scream, fight and even die for that right!
The solidarity among a people to demand the right to be what God ordained us to be and live as Spirit ordains us to live, is what I believe community is truly about. The oneness of sacrifice, loyalty and dignified, honorable righteousness.