Thursday, April 11, 2013

That’s Okay We Can Help Each Other

I make mistakes from time to time. Hopefully in lower frequency than before, but as a human being, like the rest of us, I make plenty. I think mistakes are great. They give us a change to amend, readjust, or re-prioritize.

I made one such mistake when I can across a link for an alleged “Transgender Equality” column. It was a particularly busy week for news in the Baltimore community. There has been another murder in the transgender community on Wednesday and there were request for on air interviews.

I accept the fact that I must own my privilege in respect to race. This is why I declined to be interviewed and instead opted to give the reporter some helpful background on hate crimes and the unacceptable rate in which trans women of color fall victim to them.  I included the Executive Summary of the 2011 survey, “Injustice at Every Turn” which highlights the extreme economic and social inequities the transgender and gender non-conforming communities face. These disparities are exponentially higher in communities of color.

So I come across an article in Baltimore Outloud.  It’s not had a great reputation in the transgender community, not only in Baltimore, yet nationally and possibly I suspect, as I know folks in different hemispheres who have glanced across their site, internationally.  But as a community, we thought those concerns removed. Those concerns coming from contributors to the paper, who seek to create discord in the community as a matter of course, or to satisfy a need for self-importance. It is in this light that Baltimore Outloud is viewed, and it is with that filter, I found this piece.

On Friday April 5th, under the byline “Rational T-hought” which is billed as “Transgender Equality”, I was disappointed  to read what amounted to an extremely disturbing commentary of self victimization displayed on the site.  Two day after the death of another trans woman of color, a very white, very privileged woman in our community is bemoaning the injustice of the DC Police force in not assisting her with her lost iPad.

Hold that thought.

Got it?

Great, there’s more.

Members of our community seek jobs, housing, food, access to healthcare and the comfort of acceptance from a society too indifferent to recognize their equal place in this race we call human.  They do not seek some overpriced technological status symbol. We should be so lucky as to find ourselves at this place. That our greatest equality issues in the transgender community are the lack of attention we are given, by large metropolitan police departments serving communities in excess of six and seven hundred thousand residents, with murder rates historically at the top of nationwide lists, towards our lost….


Do not get me wrong, this is not a bash the iPad opinion I write. It is very much an own your impact and own your privilege. The column digresses into a lament of the loss of security and how when filling up that suburban assault vehicle, you wait IN the vehicle. Many members of our community utilize public transportation as their sole means of travel around town. Some will occasional solicit a hack or hail a legitimate taxi.  The relational security is not even comparable. The cost of filling up those expensive UTEs far exceeds the monthly food expenditures of most trans folk in major cities.

My suggestion is consider writing for The Patch, or, simply, own your privilege. How about we all work collaboratively towards the serious problems of economic justice for the transgender community. iPads not included.

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