I AM A GENDERQUEER BLACK TRANS MAN. I am racialized as Black, a Trans man, genderqueer, bi, & a descendant of stolen Africans on Indigenous peoples’ stolen land ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I know this may be astonishing to you but none of these things are choices. They are the social, political, and historical contexts within which I live. They just are. They don’t have a switch. They don’t click on or off. And these contexts have shaped me but I am not limited to them.
I was socialized into the wrong gender, misgendered since my birth, and socialized into a transphobic society. Just because I was misgendered as a cis woman does not mean that I know what its like to be a cis woman. I am, always have been, and always will be a Black Transman. I knew that when I was a small child, I knew that when I was terrified into having to perform cisheteronormativity. What I do know is how cis Black women are treated. That’s all, but that does not make me a cis Black woman, I have never been one.
MY BLACKNESS IS TRANS. MY TRANSNESS IS BLACK. MY BLACKNESS IS TRANS & GENDERQUEER AF. MY GENDERQUEERNESS & TRANSNESS ARE BLACK AF. You can not separate these. I can’t tuck them away in nice & neat normative places for your colonial conceptions of my gender. Your colonial ideals about binary gender are not for me and they do not help liberate people racialized as Black in this world.
I will not reduce myself to only one thing when I am so many more complicated things at once. I will not reduce myself to “colonial normativities” for your vision of nation that claims to love “Blackness” but wants to kill me for my Transness. I will no longer live my life in fear of not having my Trans Blackness loved by those racialized as Black like me. Nor will I tolerate people’s dehumanizing treatment because of their supposed misunderstanding. There is only one thing that needs to be understood: nobody’s humanity is negotiable.
You see, your hatred of my Trans Blackness & Black Transness has roots in the same system of domination. This can be understood by looking at Fanon’s analysis of Blackness in “Black skin, white Masks”. Frantz Fanon’s analysis understood racial power differently based on gender. Fanon argued that in a Eurocolonial society there was no power for Black men in being with white women. Fanon saw the power of white women beyond the weakness of the femininity of white women. So while white women are women, their whiteness cannot be controlled by a Black man. Her whiteness has more capital than the ‘lower status’ of her femininity/womanhood. Hence, Black men could not access the power of whiteness by being with a white woman, whiteness pushed her beyond the weakness of femininity & outside of the grasps of Black men. What this means is white women’s femininity isn’t automatically weak. Her whiteness makes her powerful but in her own right that cannot be captured fully by Black men.
Following this Euro-colonial logic further, Black women’s femininity symbolizes the weak point in Blackness and how white men manage to overpower and dominate Black men. In theorizing that Black women receive power by being with white men; power that makes Black women more powerful that Black men; Fanon points to the target that has been painted on the foreheads of Black women. Hoteps (who are simply following this Euro-colonial logic and reacting to it) see Black women and the white men as accomplices. Both symbolize the power to weaken and dominate Blackness. And to a white patriarchal society, non-normative sexualities and genders are all feminized regardless of actual gender, sex, sexuality. For example, very masculine cis gay Black men are read as feminine because of their sexuality. Here their gender doesn’t matter nor their genitals. Cishetpatriarchy reads queerness as fem. So even masculine cis gay Black men are read as fem and all women are seen as innately potentially queer.
Moreover, within white patriarchal reads of Blackness, Black women are seen as permanently in cahoots with white men because of the permanence of colonialism and chattel captivity. This is a raced, sexed, gendered, and sexualized betrayal. White patriarchal reads of Blackness see the promise of nationhood & freedom for Black people through the dominance of Black women by Black men. Black women betray Blackness, Black people, and the possibility of Black nationhood when they are sexually available to anybody who isn’t a cishet Black man. This articulation requires the eradication of any genders and/or sexualities that engage in acts that don’t produce nation aka procreate.
White patriarchal philosophies theorize nationhood and freedom that requires dominating Black women and the eradication Black LGBTQ*. They also result in the domination of Black women not only as social beings but also as machines/technologies that are the place that incubates offspring (nation). Thus in dominating Black women, they dominate white men by denying whiteness access to the body/womb of Black women. Denying whiteness access to Black Nationhood. Reactionary/white patriarchal Black nationhood sees sexual and gender acts that result in procreation of Black people as building nation. A failure to recognize the sexed, sexualized, and gendered nature of race to make captive and thus capital makes just as much of a colonial white mistake as Gramsci, Marx, and Lenin’s white normative critiques of capitalism.
You mirror the ways of whiteness in both your Transphobia as well as in your white supremacist racism. You perpetuate colonial violence with your eugenic visions of nationhood that wipe me from existence. You fear the thing you do not understand through your colonial lens.
You do not know my gender better than me. You do not know my body better than I do. You do not know who I am. How could you assume you know me just because you saw me through a dominating gaze? I won’t explain my racialization & ethnic identity to a white supremacist racist and I will not explain my transness & genderqueerness to a transphobe. Nor will I explain my bi-ness to a biphobe. I will not explain NOR prove my humanity to you. Your confusion with my race, gender, & sexuality are YOUR PROBLEMS. NOT MINE.
To say I can separate my Blackness from my Tranness is to say you’d prefer me in pieces.
People who dehumanize me & exclude a part of my humanity because they “disagree” with its existence ARE NOT PART OF MY COMMUNITY.
Your cishetpatriarchy is not community. Your white supremacist racism is not community.
Your cishetpatriarchy perpetuates colonial whiteness. Your white supremacist racism perpetuates colonial cishetpatriarchy. & I don’t want to be part of either one of your ahistorical liberal movements to have just as much power as cishet white men.
We are Black & Trans at the same time. & we are here whether you like it or not.
My suggestion to you?