It's been a few days since the video of a Memphis police officer beating down an African-American transwoman was released, and I have yet to see any statement released about it from two organizations claiming to represent me as an African-American person.
The first is the nearly 100 year old NAACP, in which I have had membership status off and on over the years. My brother, sisters and I even had NAACP youth memberships back in the day.
Their new ad slogan is "The NAACP Is Today," but I don't see you addressing the very real issues that transgender people of African descent face today here in the States. If the NAACP is claiming to represent African-Americans, then I respectfully submit that it includes me as a transgender African-American as well.
While I applaud you for declaring a state of emergency over the treatment of African-Americans by the police, I have yet to hear any NAACP local, state or the national chapter speak up not only about this case, but about the verbal and physical hate attacks on African-American transpeople in general.
As Duanna Johnson's case graphically points out, some of the problems we transpeople of African descent face are at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect and serve us. Nizah Morris' family in Philly is still waiting for a straight answer on what happened to her in 2002.
I suspect that the silence is because some of your chapters are squeamish. hostile or outright reluctant to get involved in speaking out against the BS that African-American GLBT peeps deal with inside and outside the African-American community for specious religious reasons.
When I checked the mirror this morning, I was still Black, I can easily afford to join the NAACP and I still get called 'nigger' and face discrimination from and by racist peeps. Being transgender didn't change that one bit.
The one group I'm most disappointed with is the National Black Justice Coalition. I've had the pleasure of meeting its CEO H. Alexander Robinson at a Louisville event a few years ago. I'm happy that the now three year old organization is making the case about same gender marriage being a Black issue as well, and they are holding Black Church Summits and conferences. I'm ecstatic that the NBJC not only commented on the ENDA issue, but are a member of the United ENDA coalition as well.
But if you are going to claim that you represent me as an African-American transperson, the organization needs to be more timely and forceful about doing precisely that.
It's insulting and disgusting to me when the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that has done far more in the last ten years to retard my and other African-American transpeople's progress by bitterly fighting transgender inclusion in the Employment Non Discrimination Act, rapidly puts out a press release condemning the attack on Duanna Johnson and calling for a criminal investigation of it. I have yet to see one syllable written about it on the NBJC website, the organization that's supposed to represent me as an African-American transperson.
Hopefully these organizations will do so in the next week, but if they don't, it's time for African-American transpeople to call them on the carpet and have them explain why.