If you didn’t know this guy was trans and you were attracted to him, would you be heading to Grindr right now to connect? Would you change your mind when you discovered he was trans? Would you even, then, call him “he?”How might your perceptions change, or would they change at all?
For all our postmodern and progressive activism in the LGBTQ community, dissent still arises along the lines of race, gender, class and more, even in “men’s only” or “women’s only” so-called shared spaces. As we work for full equality in real-life and real-time, the conversation surrounding these issues must continue.
This month on the Black Transmen, Inc. Twitter timeline, a tweet came across the ethers that demanded attention, reading:
#BlackTransmen Inc – TRANSMEN STAND UP!!!!! http://youtu.be/Weo5EQyqxnM via @BlackTransmen
Once you settle in to view it, you are immediately taken into another world that is grounded, centered, fierce, and empowered.
Resonance washes over you and you are reminded it’s the same world that you’re living in. Yet you know, from the minute the poet in it speaks to you, you’re moved into Xavier’s world, as he navigates who and what seems to be misguided on this guided tour.
As he claims his space and launches into “experience telling,” you are forced to think about one man’s life trajectory as a trans* man…he’s not speaking about “the black experience,” or “the trans* experience,” but the course and the work of living, according to one man.
As they say, what’s personal is most universal. This artistic work compels you to harmonize, and frankly,to deal.
Naturally, lived experience for trans* folks articulates in ways that may be challenging to fully articulate, even for trans* folks themselves. The telling of personal stories provides a clearing. A beginning. An open window, door, opportunity. Speaking truth to one’s own power is where power begins, and where it lives. Self-appointed entitlement to create and carve one’s own path is the only language power understands and it must be claimed.
African American transmen–and transmen of color–have additional hurdles that they encounter in terms of day-to-day livelihood that cisgendered folks or folks who don’t share the same background origin might not even be able to imagine.
Black Transmen Inc. creates multimedia work, press campaigns, outreach materials, workshops and creative projects to help invite, welcome and keep transmen in the conversation, no matter where they are, and to help others to better understand and support our trans brothers of color.
You must remember–we’re all family.
In the video, a poet named Xavier launches into an avant garde poetic diegesis on what one black transman’s experience feels like, and how he embraces–rather than disgraces or dismisses–his pre-transition identity.
As he waxes rhapsodic on the struggle for equality, he shares lines such as:
“You want me to deny my feminine nature…” [He won’t.]
“They have their realities, and I have my own.” [He asserts.]
“I prefer the term trans before man….this is my reality, and I embrace that…I will do things that suit my reality….” [He notifies you, regardless of your opinion on the matter.]
Going on to explore misconceptions around assumed gender trickery, privilege, what it means to “be stealth,” ostracism and ultimately empowerment, you’re compelled to think differently about what you think you know about begin a trans* person.
Have a look. No: on second thought, have a “Stop, look, and listen.”
How does the video make you feel? Does it inspire you? Share your comments and share your love in the comments area below.