Thank you for finding the words that elude me in my anger Charlotte Clymer:
“There are systemic barriers in place that enable this epidemic of violence against trans people, particularly, black trans women. It’s discrimination in employment, discrimination in housing, discrimination in credit. If you cannot create a livelihood, if you can’t get hired, if you can’t find suitable housing, you’re at greater risk of violence,” Charlotte Clymer, an LGBTQ+ activist, said.
I have been trying to process all the events of the last 10 days and I find myself struggling mightily with my emotions and the words to express them. I am so deeply troubled and saddened by the injustice that my black brothers and sisters have endured. Especially my black trans and LGBQ sisters and brothers. What hurts more is the realization that it is a pain that I will never experience personally.
So many times I have tried to help straight and LGB cisgender people understand what it is like to be born into a body that belies one’s true sense of who they really are and then to live decades of one’s life in complete denial of that fact. Now, I feel like the script has been flipped. I am struggling with the reality that I will never know what it is like to be profiled by police and pulled over for driving a car while black. Try as I might, I can never walk in your shoes. And as such, I am feeling an immense sense of remorse because I have not lived your history, your reality.
I get it, I’m a white transwoman of privilege. I have endured battles with my own inner demons and overcome my own obstacles so I can live my own authentic life. But I do not want privilege to ever be the reason that I lose my connection to my black trans and LGBQ sisters and brothers. We are all a part of the same human family. We are all connected. When someone hurts you, they hurt me too.
Perhaps Archbishop Desmond Tutu said it best when describing the African philosophy of Ubuntu, “A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished when others are tortured or oppressed.”
Please know I love you all, I stand with you and I raise up my voice in unwavering solidarity with you. The future we seek will be created by the choices we make and the actions we take today and in the weeks and months ahead – together.
And this is my biggest concern as we wait until June (!!!) for SCOTUS to rule. I have concerns that the ACLU’s argument that Aimee Stephens is an “insufficiently masculine” man who was fired for not adhering to male stereotypes is fraught with risk. Risk in further confusing judges that already do not quite get the gender identity argument at the root of what being trans is. Conversely, it does move the narrative away from gender identity – something that, arguably, a person cannot “see” when they meet a trans person for the first time – to the much more “visual” dimension of gender expression. Rather than looking at these dimensions of gender separately, the much more compelling – and complete – view is to present them together in explaining what the true essence of being transgender is.
Supremely honored that my friend and fellow activist, Monica Helms, who is the creator of the transgender flag, included me on this list with such awesome trans women, most of whom I can count among my friends. If you click on the image you’ll find me right above the word “Trans”!