As it draws closer to my mom’s birthday, I can’t help but still be overcome with emotion. I can’t emphasize how I felt my life would surely end because I’ve never known sadness like losing my mom. I still haven’t been able to make sense of why my mom didn’t confide in me. Honestly, I have been on a sure road to acceptance since I dreamed of my mom a few months ago. Now, I am just in awe of the direction that my life is headed and how I can’t help but to thank her for loving me and taking time enough with me to ensure that I am a fair person in such an uncertain world. I hope she knows how much she really taught me and I think she would be proud of all the lessons I have retained and put into practice today. There was never a time that she made me feel like an embarrassment for having transitioned. She loved me unconditionally, even when she chastised me for things completely unrelated. With me, it has always been my words that people simply could not ever take. I have to say I do still use my words to this very day, often to build up and when necessary to tear down infrastructures that are deeply vested in oppression.
My mom always spoke up for what was right, and she made no apologies for it. What can I say? I am my mother’s child. Having said such, I just want to address a few issues that have presented themselves since I have been so much quieter since my mother’s passing.
First, the new administration has been altogether too much to put it simply. I really don’t have the bandwidth to mention everything that 45’s administration has done to advance its agenda of cisgender, heterosexual, male-dominated white supremacy. I mean Ben Carson, Omarosa Manigault and Darrell Scott are all public embarrassments since they have opened their mouths in support of #45. The people in power are targeting Muslims, women, veterans, education, and healthcare and potentially leaving so many people vulnerable to all manners of violence and death. It was no surprise that they would come after the transgender community, and yes even our youth because the GOP consists of the most unfeeling people I’ve ever seen. Now where do I fall in with these attacks upon minorities? I’m Black, Transgender, Living with HIV and feeling seriously fucked due to the recent attacks on the Affordable Care Act, which so many ignorant Trump supporters came to realize much too late is the same as Obamacare. Talk about a bloodthirsty hate for all non-white men. My antiretroviral medication keeps me healthy and free from the effects of HIV. I have been undetectable since April 2013 and the thought of losing comprehensive healthcare is overwhelmingly frightening. Like, I haven’t done right by other people all my life only to succumb to AIDS by circumstances beyond my control.
On top of worrying about my own healthcare, I am hit all too often with the news of another Black Trans woman being murdered in the most vile, heartless, and cruel ways imaginable. This is a grim reality for Black Trans women; that we may not live to see the end of the day. We receive attention (good and bad), but when it is bad, it can be deadly. I have been threatened more times than I can remember. I’ve faced physical and sexual assault at the hands of strangers and loved ones. As much as I advocate in order to increase awareness of these gruesome murders of my Trans sisters, it more often than not falls on deaf ears. I, as a Trans woman living with HIV can be admired and gawked at and receive hundreds of likes on photos, but when I post about the violence my community faces, I would be overjoyed at just 10 responses, even if they are empty words. I witness friends and family members sharing images of Trans people on social media and the captions are some of the most derogatory statements made against any person. Yet while I fight through all of that, there is still so much fighting within the community that I love.
I wish we could all get along and actually work for the advancement of our community, yet that just seems like a pipe dream. I know there are Trans women who don’t like me, just as there are cis-women and cis-men who don’t. Honestly, that does not bother me because I don’t do the work to be liked. I do the work to be counted equal. I’m not interested in playing cat and mouse over any man in my past. I’m not interested in your thoughts about any man I have been with to your knowledge. It’s not up for debate, so please find something constructive to do with your time. I’m not interested in cliques, and the reason being I do my best to be fair and impartial to everyone. I have a platform that has a lot of people talking, and though some are supportive, others are only waiting to see what they consider failure. My response to that is I’m the only one who has the power to create my downfall. I do not walk in shame and I own my truths.
I will continue to speak against injustices and oppose all those who wish to silence the disenfranchised. The only thing that will stop me is death. I was asked at what point will enough be enough. Is this fight worth my life? My response is it will be enough when I as a Trans woman can walk in society without fear; when I as a Trans woman can navigate the healthcare system without the fear of rejection or being mis-gendered when receiving services; when I as a Trans woman living with HIV can feel secure in the fact that I will not die from AIDS-related complications; when I as a Black Trans woman can afford to pay bills, rent and eat without having to choose between utilities and necessities; when I as a Black Trans woman no longer have to fear violence from within the Black cisgender community.