What about Black Trans People?
I squint at my phone screen and my friend zooms in on the call, I watch from my bedroom as a disappointing Black Lives Matter demonstration talks about “Black on Black crime”, and does not once mention my people, Black transgender people. I listen through the crackle of the microphone as the Black trans and non binary community continues to be erased, even though the Black Lives Matter movement (and most radical social justice movements) owe their origins to Black trans women. I, a Black, non binary person, feel a rage stir inside me.
Why Can’t We Self Identify?
I’m going about my day, trying to ignore the harassment coupled with erasure and microaggressions which make up a large part of my life (both inside and outside, from strangers and from people I know). I am unsurprised, but nevertheless deeply disappointed to hear news that the government is rolling back on Trans Rights by scrapping planned legal changes around “self identification”. I look at my future, see an endless struggle of having to explain my personhood, followed by my enduring endless gaslighting through our unchanging legal system. I add this burden to my heavy load, stacking it under the fact that Black people are four times more likely to die from Covid, and transgender people are being regularly murdered. I know that we deserve better than this.
Who Inherits Our Pain?
I wonder who inherits our pain as I step off the stage. I’ve just finished making a speech at a Black Lives Matter demonstration where I spoke about and with the Black trans community. I sit in the crowd next to the collective of young, black queer and trans people who were involved with writing the speech I made. I feel grateful to have been given their voices and their trust on the stage. We watch as speakers of all ages step onto the platform: Black people share grievances, anxieties, hopes, and fears. All these stories and sharings root from my own heart and soul, my own experiences and problems. I wonder at how little has changed for the many different members of the Black community and how we are taught to accept that, as I watch a man old enough to be my grandfather speak about the our shared experience. I wonder why I know so little about my ancestors, historical black trans figures, then I remember that we are still being erased.
What About Black Trans Children?
I feel empowered that, as an adult, I have been able to embrace my own identity as a black non binary person. I’m at home, at work, at my desk, taking calls and hosting zoom meeting, after zoom meeting, after zoom meeting. I work for a charity supporting the mental health of teenagers, BAME people and LGBT people, and I love my job. I watch as the intersections between these two people meet at another crossroads of erasure. Transgender teenagers’ access to hormone blockers is being questioned across the UK media, which is leading to trans children’s human rights being questioned. I am aware that, when human rights are being questioned, Black people are almost always the first to feel the effects. I ask myself, what about Black trans children?
Who Will Care For Us?
Within a system committed to upholding white supremacy, who will care for Black transgender and non binary people? I am asking you. Who will care for us? Will you care for us?