In recent news coverage, the narratives of trans people of color have been filtered through the perspective of cisgender members of the media. It’s important to increase the opportunities for trans people to tell their own stories about their own experiences, free from distortion by news anchors and other journalists, who often sensationalize the stories.
As Janet Mock reminds us, it’s important for the trans community to tell its own, authentic stories. In publicizing her new book, Redefining Realness, Mock has focused on the process of telling your own story. On her website, she talks about how she opened herself up while writing the book and that although it has made her feel vulnerable and scared at times, finding others who had experienced the same things has given her power. She writes, “What Redefining Realness has done for me is allow me to stake my claim and take up the space in this world that I deserve. We all deserve this space. A space of our own where we can tell our stories and declare our truths.”
As Laverne Cox said at the Creating Change conference 2014: “This feels so amazing, all this love that you’re giving me tonight. I have to say that as black, transgender woman from a working class background raised by a single mother — that’s me — getting all this love tonight. This feels like the change I need to see more of in this country.”
For more powerful voices of trans people of color, check out these links:
- Cece McDonald has blogged about the intersection of race and gender identity, the telling of trans stories by cis gender people, and the criminalization of people of color. And on Democracy Now, CeCe McDonald discussed using her experience of being in prison (for using deadly force while defending herself from a group of people who attacked her) to educate people about violence against trans women and speak against the prison-industrial complex (segment starts at 12:22; interview starts at 18:00).
- Though this interview is from last year, transgender activist and recording artist KOKUMỌ has an incredible voice through her music and her activism as a trans woman that is worth listening to.
- Athlete Kye Allums talked about suicide in the trans community.
- In a Transgriot post, Monica Roberts addressed the issue of black trans people demanding attention and expressing their power.
- In the video below, Daniella Carter speaks at the Islan Nettles rally about being a trans woman in NYC and leads the crowd in chanting: “Trans Rights Matter!”