Another Historic Meeting, Another Melanin Free Transgender Contingent

Once again, the age old pattern of white privilege intertwining with queer activism rears its pale, ugly head.  Recently, the White House honored LGBT Pride and the 40th anniversary of Stonewall with a reception.  Of the trans people invited to participate, not one person was African American.   In her article, Another Historic Meeting, Another Melanin Free Transgender Contingent, Monica Roberts at TransGriot says:

i went nuclear last year when there was a historic committee hearing on transgender issues and not one African-American transgender person was invited to participate.

There was another historic gathering of importance to GLBT people that took place on Monday. It was in the wake of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that took place June 28, 1969.

This time the host was none other than the POTUS, and it took place in the building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that my ancestors helped construct with their unpaid labor.

So did the white transgender community learn its lesson from last year and make sure in the twelve transgender people that were selected to be there, there was some African-American representation?

Nope.

Monica adds:

This was supposed to be a commemoration of Stonewall, and Miss Major, one of the few African-American transpeople left who are Stonewall veterans is still alive and well.

Why wasn’t she there? Come to think of it, there were people in the trans community such as Vanessa Edwards Foster and Marti Abernathey who busted their derrieres in swing states like Ohio and Indiana to help get President Obama elected.

Washington DC itself is 61% African-American, which translates to Chocolate City having chocolate flavored transpeople. Where were they?

I also have to ask the question who put the list together this time or had input for it, knowing that you’ll shunt the blame to the Obama White House for the ‘oversight’?

And what pisses me and many African-American transpeople off even more about this dissing is the bitter irony that we weren’t invited to an event that an African-American president we helped to elect called to celebrate an event and a movement we helped jump off.

That about sums it up.  Go read the rest of the post at TransGriot.

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~ by timberwraith on July 4, 2009.

8 Responses to “Another Historic Meeting, Another Melanin Free Transgender Contingent”

  1. My goodness. The intersections of race, gender, and sexuality are far more complex than I’d permitted myself to be aware of.

    Sometimes the task of including the LGBT community within my frame of reference and worldview is so daunting that I’m unable to make any moves.

    A few years back read Pat Hill Collins’ Black Feminism and later Black Sexual Politics, but I more so skimmed through these works searching for issues on race that I was researching at the time. I knew my work would benefit from including the intersecting identities that we have, but I just wasn’t up to the task.

    Do you have A (just one for now) suggestion for a starting point? I have read (actually read these) two readers on feminism, but arguably the feminist standpoint is not indicative of the whole of the LGBT struggles. So, give me a suggestion, I’ll read it, and get back to you.

  2. Oh gosh. Over fifteen years ago, I took numerous women’s studies courses and read works by Patricia Hill Collins, Bell Hooks, and Audre Lorde. However, I can’t make a specific recommendation because it’s been so darned long, the details have fallen out of my memory. Plus, you probably want to read something more current. Also, while many of the texts I read dealt with issues of class, race, gender and sexuality, none addressed bisexual or trans issues. There were definitely some major blind spots.

    I can point you to the links in my blogroll. The Republic of T. is penned by an African American gay man. TransGriot, whose work you just read, is penned by an African American trans woman. Renee at Womanist Musings is an African American straight woman, but she sometimes features guest bloggers from a variety of backgrounds. She’s a kickass womanist blogger and is very knowledgeable about many, many issues. I’d hunt around their blogrolls for similar minded folks.

    It’s a long shot, but you may want to give eminism.org a try. The author is an intersex person of color, but not African American. I believe she also identifies as genderqueer. She writes about many, many issues and the topics she discusses usually include the intersection of race/ethnicity as a factor.

    I’ll also ask my friend Jess who is trans and has been an academic in the world of anthropology and women’s studies for many, many years.

  3. Jeez, I totally forgot about Little Light who writes at Taking Steps. She’s an African American trans woman. She posts infrequently, but when she does post… Oh. My. God. Can that woman write!

  4. Thanks for the rec and the kind words, Timberwraith, but I want to clarify–I’m not African American. My background is mestiza Filipina (Spanish, Chinese, Malay, indigenous) and Ashkenazic.

  5. Oops. I’m apologize for the misunderstanding, Little Light.

    You’re welcome on the recommendation. I love your writing. In fact, “blown away by” would better describe my reaction.

  6. Whatever you suggest doesn’t have to be current. I was just a place to start. Thanx!

  7. You could start with Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. Audre Lorde was an African American lesbian poet. The book contains a collection of essays that address homophobia, sexism, classism and racism.

  8. Thanks! I’ll start there! I appreciate you getting back to me with a suggestion. Peace.

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