By Sabrina Samone,TMP
June 21st marked the beginning of summer 2013 and since that time, five attacks have already occurred on Trans-women in the D.C. area alone, according to Metroweekly.com. The first to gain much attention was the assault on Bree Wallace who was stabbed over 20 times. A shooting of a Trans-woman occurred a day after the stabbing, in which the victim died of multiple gunshot wounds. That same evening another Trans-woman was off Eastern Ave. in D.C. and approached by two men, when she began to flee, she was shot. The local police department has posted a surveillance video of the two “persons of interest” in the case. One man is shown clearly paying for gas as if he had just another night on the town and had not just attempted to kill a human being. Two days later a fourth transgender woman accepted a ride from an unknown male and was sexually assaulted. Within the hour another trans-woman was walking along “k” street approached by two men who attempted to rob her, and then one of them shot her.First of all I’d like to say, anyone who knows the D.C. area knows what the areas around K street are known for, regardless these women’s lives are no less than anyone else’s and I’d hope the greater transgender community will show the same compassion as if it had been them. I am not saying the victim in question was or is part of the sex industry only that many are aware what goes on in and around K Street. I’ve said it before here and I always will. We cannot ostracize any trans-woman that has been pushed into the world of the sex industry. With the way job discrimination is and as long as the lack of full equality remains for transgender people we cannot hold or dismiss anyone's life, that is Trans, as less than any other human being. Not all was given advantages to succeed, but due to the way we are viewed in society was handed quite the opposite.
Still, there is no proof of that sort of activity going on; regardless there are a total of five victims since June, 21. The most important question is, why is there so many attacks on transgender women of color? The answer to me is our culture; yes we are fully aware of bigotry amongst the different races, which is unfortunate, but the misogynistic behavior within the African-American community, especially the bigotry towards the LGBT community has gone unchecked far too long. The most visible ones in the greater alphabet is the lonely “T”, for all those with self doubts about their own sexuality to take their aggression to. One of the most blatant portrayals of this Afro-misogynistic behavior was demonstrated even on the nationally televised BET Awards, against B. Scott, an entertainer known for his androgynous dress, mannerism and style. It’s rumored that B. Scott was asked by those in power at the BET awards to not wear heels and tone down his dress. A performer who was asked to be on the show was censored by people who knew what they were getting to begin with. This is just a small sample of the black America I see as a trans-woman of color, which says with one hand “we are not totally equal”, yet those they deem undesirable within their own community are ostracized, beaten and as we’ve witnessed this weekend in D.C., killed in the other hand. When mainstream media (like Fox news), government or any highly profiled person demonstrates such a low tolerance for a person there are millions of young African American and other kids that receive the green light from their culture to express their hate on this group.
We grew up with it as young LGBT kids. We heard the town preacher condemn us to hell. We grew up hearing mainstream hip-hop use the words fa**** and bit*** far too many times. A black man is to grow up strong and powerful and not be a man that dates another man or dresses as a woman. Black women aren’t supposed to date another woman. True, every culture has its share of hate towards members of the LGBT community, but in the African-American culture it has often been over looked by decades by the macho world of hip-hop, the church and not enough sympathy for a fellow oppressed group of people. It is only now, in 2013, that we are just ‘beginning’ to turn the corner where many in the civil rights community see the struggles of LGBT people as a civil rights issue as well. It shouldn’t have taken so long.
We continue to press for every culture to see LGBT people as equal and especially Transgender people, who are also finding ourselves fighting a lot of the LGB for the same recognition for our rights. What must we do as Trans-women of color to protect ourselves? I’d honestly like to say start carrying a gun and start fighting back, once they know we aren’t sheep ready to roll over and die then maybe they’ll stop f****** with us, but the best answer would be to take more precautions, be more aware of your surroundings and know, regardless how young and invincible you feel, no matter how flawless you are, you are a target of hate. You may be the most “passable” girl or boy, but don’t let that put yourself in any unnecessary danger. I have a friend who as we say is a “working girl” or online escort; she pays for a driver and someone to stand outside of her hotel door when she has a client. She never deals with anyone who sounds sketchy. She knows she’s in a dangerous profession and takes extreme precautions. Like an old friend once told me in life, it’s not always what you do but ‘how’ you do things that get you through life.
Whatever you do or don’t do is a personal choice, that I for one will never judge, belittle, degrade or demonize anyone who is transgender, for being transgender alone, makes you my sister or brother, because I know what the f… you go through and one day I’d like all my brothers and sisters, everywhere to grow old look around and not have to say “I stand where an army ‘once’ stood”, but that “I stand where an army ‘still’ stands”, the army of trans-sister & brothers.
Related topics on Transmuseplanet
Stop Killing My Sisters
Defining who we are pt. lll: The Trans* sex worker and exploitation
Defining who we are pt. 2: Being Transgender after the Jerry Springer Effect
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