I periodically read about the murders of transgender women. These transwomen are usually, black, young and so often their crimes go unsolved. It probably sounds incredibly morbid and it is on some levels. But it’s also for me a way to stay attuned with the realities that face my community. I don’t know about other girls but I am an introvert and as of writing I do not have transwoman friends. I wouldn’t say this is purposeful as much as it is a combination of things including my own hang ups and my own traumas. So often, when transwomen and in particular Black transwomen are discussed it is on some traumatic shit . Either a death or being beaten or having a viral moment that may pique conversation for less than two minutes then forgotten. It is truly a miracle that any of us Black transwomen survive for as long as we do with the myriad of forces against us. I live with the expectation of violence because I know that savagery prevails at an intensity that just “being nice” and ” thinking nice pure things” will not assuage. I often wish that our narratives and indeed our lives weren’t so tragic. But we are a result of so many systems and so much cultural dogma that makes it too easy for us to be overrepresented in the morgues, in jails or just plain out our fucking mind. It gets so that in my case I go through the world very much avoiding people , a lot of them. Small talk has become no talk. I smile so hard till my cheeks hurt. And I often look away. It flies contrary to popular demand to always be engaging and approachable. I aspire for anonymity . I’ve found it too easy for people to under the guise of being friendly devolve and reveal their ignorance. It’s annoying to hear shit like” I’m a real woman”, or the ones who act progressive in your face but as soon as you’re out of earshot mis-gender and misname you.
There’s this edict for oppressed minorities to educate the majority, to assimilate, emulate and perform in ways that make the majority comfortable. There’s this edict in our society to never be angry, to look at random celebrities of your tribe who make it as proof of “making it” as a choice for you. I am supposed to in the name of survival look at the majority and find my way within it. And I guess with me in particular I am over alot of norms. I am over twice as good to get half as much. I am over transwomen denied their womanhood and personhood. I am over the incessant policing and punishing of Black bodies by everyone including Black people. I am over darkness being bad. And fatness being bad. And just having a high school diploma meaning you will never make more than minimum wage. I am over the wars waged on people who look like me. And what bothers me so much as well is what I’ve felt to be a sleepiness amongst the people and an upholding of status quo. Nothing fucking changes despite the entry of us few who do get that white picket life.
The reading of the murders of my sisters allows me a gratitude for own life but also it serves as a grating reminder for the many threats on my life as well. It reminds me that I too can be an article, a hash tag, a subject of an article written by an unconcerned writer who will list my birth name, who will add to my erasure by refusing me the dignity to not insult me. It makes me remember to read men in particular and read communities and people as well. Danger is always lurking and Black transwomen have not been let up as a favorite target of misplaced rage and chronic ignorance.