Monica Roberts

My Sistahs Can Do More Than Just Shows

Filed By Monica Roberts | January 25, 2008 7:23 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: African-American, Monica Roberts, transgender

One of the things that irritates me when I'm out and about in the world is when some white GLBT (or non-GLBT) person either mistakes me for an illusionist they're acquainted with or asks me if I know ___________. (Fill in the blank with your favorite female illusionist's name.)

If y'all want to get to know me or any of my transsisters on a long-term basis, please don't make that a habit.

Don't get it twisted, I'm a pageant and ball fan. I'm proud of some of my illusionist sisters and their accomplishments over the years, and I'm cognizant of the fact that some of them are passionate activists while off-stage as well. But even though I'm acquainted with a few of these talented ladies, please don't assume I know EVERY African-American illusionist in the United States.

There seems to be this misguided perception out there thanks to the lack of coverage of African-American transgender people in the gay and straight media that the only thing an African-American transperson can do or wants to become is a female illusionist As my presence on this blog attests, we definitely can do far more than that.

I have transsistah friends who are models, writers, college professors, senior managers of various businesses, nurses, entrepreneurs, teachers, IT professionals and even stay at home moms raising kids. One person I'm pleased to have gotten to know and call a friend is Jordana, the trailblazing drum and bass DJ who is also wanting to branch out and do some acting. I'm happy to see Miss Honey Dijon walking in Jordana's pumps and blaze her own DJ trail.

If given the opportunity, I have no doubt that one day you'll see transsistahs running for and eventually winning political races for public office at all levels of government.

Some of my transsistahs are not only helping run organizations serving the GLBT/SGL community but serve on their boards as well. Others are the foot soldiers who are pressing the powers that be to include transgender peeps in the 'We The People' preamble to the US Constitution.

I must give shout-outs to the transpeeps who are either in college or working hard in school to get there and earn that college degree. This next generation of transkids will be the ones that not only help demolish forever the perceptions of what we can or can't do as African-American transwomen, they will hopefully help uplift the race at the same time.

We all want to be fully contributing members of society and are working hard to make that happen. Passing the appropriate laws to protect our employment and civil rights helps accelerate that process.

And if one of my young transsistahs aspires to be the next Tommie Ross or the next Stasha Sanchez, then that's all good, too.


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I have had the good fortune to meet some of your transsistahs at the Southern Comfort conference last September. They are just lovely folks.
I find it very difficult where I live (Denver) to meet African-American trans folks. It is a group that my church organization wants to reach out to, but we don't even know where to begin. I don't like generalities, but am I correct about there being a lot of homophobia/transphobia in the African-American community?
Thank you for your wise and insightful articles.

Thanks, Hon. I was complaining a couple a months ago that i was the only Afican-American Trans- girl around. I started Bumping into to them after that. I am active as i can be in my community.

Robin,
You are not alone. Your sisters (and brothers) are everywhere. You may also want to check out the Transistahs-Transbrothas Yahoo list to get connected with some of them. You may find out that another transsistah lives close to you.

If you're in the 18-30 range, there's TSTB's sister list, TransTwenties, that caters to that demographic.

Shakay,
There's an undercurrent of homophobia in the African-American community. Unfortunaley, with some of these Black sellout megachurch ministers chasing faith based bucks and trying to be more Republican than thou with the encouragement of white evangelicals, it has gotten to incresingly nasty levels.

It's kind of like the 80's when I was coming out here in Indiana. You'd always hear, "Oh, do you know so-and-so's son? He used to live here, but he moved to San Francisco." *drop voice to dramatic whisper*

"He's gay too, you know."

Why do people always assume the whole LGBT community has each other's phone numbers in rolodexes the size of Buicks let alone a commonly agreed upon "agenda." Bah.

Good post, Monica.