Light another candle or two! Have another vigil, and keep sayin' your prayers!
But at some point we ALL will have to move into ACTION!
We already know other folk don't value us, but when will the LGBT community start to LOVE & PROTECT OUR OWN? Maybe that's the problem! We don't value ourselves that much! And don't get it twisted, we ARE a part of the same community!
I just get very nervous when I hear my gay brothers make hateful comments about the transgender members of the family! Much of it is done out of fear of association, and that fear of association stems from self-hatred, and that self-hatred is rooted in internalized homophobia and mysogyny. I keep saying that those who hate do NOT make distinctions - they hate ALL OF US! There are enough of us hating ourselves and each other!
This is my second post in honor of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009! I wanted to do something different void of the regular litany list of tragedy - not that that isn't important, too! I wanted to pay tribute my way! I wanted to celebrate, and do so with photos - vintage photos, of course!
The photographs are originally from Jet Magazine (1952–1958), and Hue Magazine (1954). They appear to document a somewhat integrated transgender community during the era of segregation! The smiling faces are of old-school dolls named after popular female entertainers and actresses of the day like Mitzi Gaynor, Kim Novak and Josephine Baker. They are the countless, the nameless and the forgotten! And here they are the celebrated!
Transgender? What does it really mean? It's an “umbrella” term that is in continual evolvement - especially after the time these photos were taken. It includes people who are otherwise gender non-conforming who identify as male, female or have an identity fluid between the two. Many people identify as transgender, but they do not all have the same experience or same set of circumstances! Those who truly identify as transsexual have had full (or some degree of) sexual reassignment surgery! In a lot of cases, those who cross-dress or become “drag queens” or “transvestites” realize they are really transsexual. And then there are those who realize just the opposite!
In my previous post, Whatever Happened To Carlett Brown?, I indicated Miss Brown might be intersexed – meaning there was some ambiguous sexual genitalia or other physical characteristics. But I don't know that Brown would have referred to herself as such! Currently, all the identities and definitions are in flux as to who actually falls under the umbrella! And some don't want to be so clinically identified at all!
Here's the deal! Whatever they tell you – respect it! Can we think of them as the gender they refer to themselves as and refer to them with their chosen names? Many transgenders feel they have always been the gender they now self-identify as, and if you're not sure what that is– ASK! Some transgender people do not wish to be identified with the “gay community” at large meaning that their gender identity and SEXUALITY are two different things entirely! Sometimes, it's hard not to be confused! Let's just try not to be offensive! Let's try to recognize!
I have no clue how the party revelers and pageant competitors in these photos identified themselves! Much of the terminology we use now was not in use during the 1950's. Most were just considered as “those crazy homosexuals” - and that's wrong too! There's a lot of wrong period! There's too much misunderstanding and not enough of trying to understand! I am attempting to do that here!
When I hear "I don't understand THEM" or "It's because of THEM that everybody thinks we're all freaks" coming from our own ranks, it's unacceptable and ignorant! There's an old saying about the things we hate in others really being a reflection of the things that are in us and it's true! And like I said earlier, if someone hates us on sexual orientation or identity alone they aren't taking the time to differentiate! When they come for us they're coming for ALL of us! And that's the thing! We want to get to the day when they aren't coming for us.....any of us......like that!
Hope is on the horizon! Look back! Say a prayer! Remember! Celebrate! Enjoy the pictures!