We are worthy.
Transgender people are worthy of celebration, love and belonging, joy and euphoria, safety, food security, affirming and affordable medical care, housing and investment in our futures.
Globally, the political attacks on our personhood have contributed to developing and perpetuating a culture of hate and violence that has resulted in our daily persecution and limited our ability to live our lives to their fullest potential. Thus far in 2021, legislators across the country have filed over 240 anti-LGBTQ+ bills during the regular legislative session and special session combined. Close to to 120 of these bills are anti-trans bills. They were even trying to criminalize parents who support their trans kids. How fucking invasive is that?
This anti-trans atmosphere creates deadly circumstances for trans people – particularly dark skin Black trans women. Yet lawmakers have doubled down on prioritizing banning trans girls from participating in sports during the special session – overlooking the unequivocal examples of harm these bills cause and instead focusing on hypothetical scenarios of a problem that doesn’t exist. The only examples we keep hearing about, oddly enough, are about Black transgender women and girls in Connecticut. Side note: Lets dissect that even a little bit deeper. Olympic Weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand was unable to get a few lifts in the snatch so she didn’t win any medals this week at the Olympics. She was beat by three cisgender women:: Wenwen Li of China(gold) Emily Jade of Great Britain(silver), and Sarah Elizabeth Robles of United States(bronze). Well would you look at that… those anti-trans sports laws seem to look a little bit dumber today.
Hubbard didn’t win any medals but it does make her the first trans woman to compete in the Olympics. That’s nice but how horribly racist is it for y’all to let a white trans woman be able to compete while black women, cis or trans, are being blocked from competing all over the globe for reasons that range from naturally having too much testosterone to qualify as a female or just being trans period.
Even protective swim caps are regulated…. what the fuck? This is clearly misogynoir and it makes it bittersweet to celebrate Laurel Hubbard hard earned success. I know she was hit with a whirlwind of transphobic attacks lately and can understand the pressure of her position. SoIll just say congrats to her but yall other mofos are annoying with your blatant racism. Anyway back to the subject
I’m tired of politicians using my gender identity and my race as political football. I know my trans-ness is the new proverbial enemy since marriage equality passed in 2015, but I am tired of being the dog whistle to rally your base to the polls or fattening your wallets through donations. These tactics are indicative of your incompetence in actually creating political strategies that are not based in fear and ignorance but in integrity and efficacy.
Because the political climate disenfranchises people like me, it breeds a culture of disrespect against trans/nonbinary people, eliminates our humanity and makes it easier for other Texans to disrespect us out in the world. Across this country on a daily basis, Trans people are tormented on public transit commuting to an underpaid job Jayla Ware. A job that we just got workforce discrimination protections for when they voted on the expansive definition of “sex” in Title VII . Trans people are being attacked and murder at fast food restaurants like Iris Santos at her local Houston Chick-fil-a ironically. Transgender people are harassed and assaulted in an Uber or when we are walking from a convenience store for snacks like Ky Peterson or Daniela Caledron. If trans people encounter violence, there is a defense here in Texas that allows folks to use my gender identity against me to circumvent justice.
Our death and despair should not be the catalyst to reveal our humanity. Stories about trans people in Texas often focus on our tragedy, our dysphoria, and our marginalization. But these stories don’t often connect that our misfortunes are a direct result of state policies that do nothing to protect us and the destructive debate about us at the state legislature. Every other year, legislators debate our dignity, tell people they should be afraid of us, and continue their mission to exclude us from everyday life. With that kind of rhetoric, it’s not surprising that since 2013, 10% of all deaths of transgender people in this country have occurred in Texas – the highest count nationwide. Do they get that people are not living today as a result of their actions and people will not be around in the future because of what they are putting us through now?
Why not focus on solutions that help us not only survive but thrive? We are Texans and deserve the same individual liberties and representation that all other Texans have. Don’t tread on my rights – we have been here for too long. We come from Texas’s own Monica Roberts, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Bayard Rustin, Lucy Hicks Henderson, and Lizzie Montgomery, a former enslaved Texan who transitioned after Juneteenth.
I stand on the shoulders of giants and despite the hate I will live because my existence is revolutionary. I’m a woman that has come into my power, that has come into my trans joy, that has come into a new place in my life. Being a part of a community that loves me that shows me every day that my life is valuable and that I am worthy of being listened to and my story is worthy of being told empowers me. But my experience should be commonplace for trans people, not unique.
With my newfound power, I will continue to demand better from our elected officials. As the Executive Director of Black Trans Women Inc, a national non-profit that is led by Black trans women focused on social advocacy, positive visibility and building strong leadership among Black trans advocates and activists I will provide a platform for those who need it most. I urge every ally and LGB person to do the same and hold their lawmakers to account and implore them to reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that the violence we are experiencing disproportionately is a result of the hate being spewed about us.
Im Diamond Stylz, the host and producer of Marsha’s Plate, a weekly podcast that centers trans-inclusive pro-black feminism and pop culture.