Meghan Markle, Black Is The New Royalty

Meghan Markle, Black Is The New Royalty

Will we see a post-Obama effect in England as was seen in the USA?

Meghan Markle, black is the new royalty!

Will we see a post-Obama effect in England as we are seeing in the USA?

Unless you live under a rock, I am sure you have heard the news that Prince Harry made Meghan Markle, sparkle and they are officially engaged.

Why is this engagement anymore noteworthy than any other?

Well first, we have a Royal wedding. Who doesn't love a Royal wedding? I know I do. Second, Meghan Markle is not Royal, she's not even British like me, or of traditional noble origins, she's American. And third let's just say it: she Black, well bi-racial with African American heritage (Her mother is black). And Lastly, she is a divorcee. A DIVORCEE.

I feel I would be remiss to not say that Black has always been royalty if you ask me, as an African Nubian Queen. However, I mean never has there been an official Royal of color in the British Royal family.

In researching for this article I will say Meghan is quite remarkable. I take nothing away from her. As we all have our cross to bear, she too dealt with many issues while growing up.

Educated at private schools and shaped by Hollywood, Markle can’t help but bring to mind Grace Kelly, another US-born actress and commoner who married into royalty. If you don't know, Kelly wed Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, and like Markle who will be unable to continue her acting career, Kelly was unable to continue acting. If you ask me, it's not a bad trade.

In the recent 2020 aired Sunday December 4th, we know that Markle was plagued with issues of identity being a biracial kid, growing up in a Caucasian-dominated environment. But those who knew her, all report that she was and continues to be a nice, gentle, sweet and considerate individual, who made an impact on those she encounters and continues to encounter. In most cases even without her knowing the impact she had. Markle became a household name when she was fortunate to get a big break in Hollywood and landed a role in the TV series "Suits."

What makes her exceptional is she is an activist and philanthropist. She began her activism unwittingly, at a tender age of 12 when she challenged the giant Procter and Gamble (P&G) to change a dishwasher liquid's tagline. When she saw the ad, she not only wrote to the first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, but to civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and Procter & Gamble. She not only received a response from all but was featured in the news and P&G made the change from "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans" to "People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans."

Now, this engagement signals that the royal family is changing. Honestly since the death of our beloved Diana (she truly was the people's Princess), the Royal family has been changing. In days gone by, Royals could not marry a divorcee. Although in recent times, Charles, now a divorcee, married Camilla also a divorcee (his true love and the person he originally wanted to marry). This paved the way for this marriage.

Additionally, you could not marry anyone not of noble birth. However, Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton also broke boundaries for the Royal family. Grace Kelly's friend, Lee Grant, recounts to the Huffington Post that Kelly was disliked for not being of noble heritage and for being American which made her miserable. But we know from watching Kate blossom as a Royal that the Royal family, in England at least, has made so many changes and have counseled her and set her up for success. A fate not shared with her late mother in law Diana. We can safely assume that the same will be true for Meghan, she will be counseled in making the transition to Royal life.

And now with Harry, we are seeing a new boundary broached with his marriage to Markle. A bi-racial, Royal will join the family.

Now, with all firsts, there are many challenges. Meghan has already experienced some backlash since her relationship with Prince Harry was revealed.

We saw an overwhelming propensity towards hope and unity with the country's (USA) election of its first African American President. However, paradoxically we have seen a deep decline towards despair and division with the election of Trump immediately following the end of Obama's term. This is not groundbreaking. With every change, we often see two steps forward, followed by five steps back. Until one day there really is true progress, even if it's just an overall gain of one step in the right direction.

Events like this really reveal where we are as a global nation.

Whether true acceptance or intolerance exist pervasively globally.

Which finally brings me to the title of the article. Growing up in England is a little different from being in the southern state of Georgia. While racism exists it's more of a sporadic occurrence (at least in London anyway) and it rarely, (extremely rarely) leads to the death of a person simply because of the color of their skin. The culture is a lot more integrated that many parts of the USA. It is a social culture where many are influenced by so many different cultures and countries.

You have even some of this eclectic influences and flavors being displayed by the Royals, both young and old) in very rare instances when in playful settings. That's why for me, it is no surprise that Harry would fall for and marry someone as remarkable as Meghan. As Meghan will hopefully be part of the Royal family for a very long time, hopefully as a beloved wife of a Prince, the divisive backlash seen in the post-Obama error, with a worsening of the state of affairs will hopefully not be observed with these nuptials. However, as stated before she has already been targeted. So my hope is that it will not get worst before it's gets better. And I am super proud of the way the Royal family specifically Harry has issued several cease and decease to ensure they do not continue to target his new belle.

For me, as a mother of a young black beautiful girl and of someone who has what in some circles would be considered quite a noble background, I am elated by this news. Why? Because I believe every girl is and can be a princess. And for the first time, the world even reflects that.

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.

In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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