What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?

What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?

The ignored epidemic of violence against black trans women.
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When I started writing this article, it was about yet another black trans women who was murdered. But in just two days, three more murders were reported. This brings the total for murders of black trans women in 2017 to six.

And it's only March.

None of this is a new phenomenon. 2015 and 2016 were the deadliest years on record for trans women of color in the United States, with the majority of victims being black. 2016 also saw the release of the largest ever survey of trans Americans. The survey found that trans people were marginalized in every level of society, with black trans women bearing the brunt of that marginalization.

That's just in the United States. In Brazil, an average of one LGBTQ+ person is killed a day. 40 percent of these murders involve trans women, more specifically black trans women.

All this has meant that the average life-expectancy for a trans woman of color in the Western Hemisphere is a mere 35. You would think that a fact as horrifying as this would spur us into action but it doesn't. Most people aren't even aware of it.

There have been no rallies for black trans women, no celebrity shows of support or even the slightest show of public outrage. Mainstream LGBTQ+ organizations, like HRC or GLAAD, have also merely paid lip service to this epidemic of violence, choosing instead to focus on more privileged queer folks.

Even in marginalized communities, oppressive power structures still exist within us. White supremacy and cisnormativity infect the queer community, creating power structures where black trans women are at the absolute bottom of the list. This is something we must acknowledge and resist.

Black trans women threw the first stones at Stonewall and have always been on the frontlines of LGBTQ+ liberation. So it's frankly unacceptable that we, as white queer people, haven't shown up for them when they've shown up for all of us time and time again.

We live in a time of mass political engagement. Millions of people, some of whom who have never done so in the past, have taken to the streets to resist the Trump Administration's fascist agenda. All that is inspiring, but if our resistance isn't intersectional, it will fail.

So when we are fighting for queer liberation in the time of Trump, we need to not only acknowledge black trans women, but to focus on their voices and their experiences. If we don't do that, we will continue to reproduce oppressive structures within our community, which will result in more senseless black, trans deaths.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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What It Means To Be Nonbinary, From 5 People For Whom It Is A Reality

The future isn't binary.

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Until college, I had never met anyone who did not identify with the gender they were given at birth. When I met my first friend who was nonbinary, I had a lot of questions.

Not wanting to be disrespectful, I kept a lot of them to myself, but after reflection, I realized that I would rather ask questions and be informed in order to respect my friends.

Recently, when the topic of being nonbinary has come up in conversation, I realized that a lot of people I know ignore it because they are confused by it. I find that completely ignorant. There is no excuse not to respect how your fellow humans identify.

I decided to write this article to spread awareness and help people understand what it means to be nonbinary. I am not nonbinary myself, but I have many friends who identify as nonbinary. It is not a phase or a trend, and they are real people.

When you google "nonbinary," this is what comes up:

Everyone expresses gender differently, so that is why I decided to interview a few of my friends in order to get a full understanding. Gender, just like sexuality, has no right or wrong answer. It is a spectrum.

A few of my friends have taken new names, which means that the name that was assigned to them at birth is now their "dead" name.

(Some of the interviewees are not publicly out, so I am writing under a fake name for them!)**

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what nonbinary is. Just remember to be kind and respectful of one another.

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