Today's post is going to be a little different, and I'll try to be objective as possible and handle the subject matter with tact, but everything I'm about to discuss is personal to me, so I might get emotional. I'll give a quick update on my work at the end, but I think at this time we all need to have a moment of reflection and decide how the US will move forward as a country.
I am a black, trans, queer man (I relate more to genderqueer, but in binary terms I'll choose man) living in the US. When I made the conscious decision to transition to my true self ten years ago I knew that I would instantly have a target on my back the more masculine my appearance became due to the color of my skin. I sort of already had one since my appearance pre-transition was masculine leaning androgynous. However, my mental health and overall happiness required that I transitioned, and those feelings and emotions outweighed the fear of the inherent racism that is laced in American society.
I have been lucky because my appearance is non-threatening. I'm a short twig who doesn't cast an imposing shadow and I'm a pretty happy looking person for the most part, but when I see a white woman on the street, and if we make eye contact, I make sure to smile to let her know that I won't cause her any harm. Typically when I'm out and about, I don't make eye contact with anyone, and if I'm in a parking lot or walking down the street I make sure I am a million miles away from a white person or I walk quickly by them so they don't think I have bad intentions towards them. White men I don't even make eye contact with. Again, I'm a smol twig. I ain't about to get my ass kicked.
But do you see the trend here? I am constantly having to make conscious decisions to accommodate white people and their perceptions about me when I shouldn't have to. White people have stood inches behind me in line at the store to where I could feel their body heat. Like why are you that close?! I get certain looks from white people in stores when they think I don't belong in certain spaces. The point I'm getting at here, is that I'm forced to have these types of people take up space in my brain when they think very little about me.
I live like this because I'm trying to avoid a confrontational situation that could possibly escalate to the police being called. Also I hate confrontation in general. Again, I have been lucky enough to have very few interactions with police and have personally dealt with them twice in my life. Once was pre-transition and the other was three years into my transition. First interaction I was drunk as all hell and singing Kelly Clarkson out of the my friend's car window and we got pulled over. I was 19 and in a college town. But like even completely inebriated I was compliant, and some where in my drunken mind I knew I could go to jail because of how I looked. Luckily, I didn't probably because I was around a gang of white people.
Second time, was in 2013, got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone on the highway. I'm surprised I didn't suffer an anxiety attack. My mind immediately went to, "Am I going survive this?" Because of a routine traffic stop. For the most part I am a law abiding citizen and I don't have a criminal record, so when someone like me immediately jumps to such an extreme line of thinking what does that say about the society we live in? I'm pretty certain the cop probably saw how afraid I was by the whole interaction. I got a ticket, and I had planned to go to court to contest it, but I had a death in the family and ended up paying it.
Like even thinking about contesting the ticket in court made me apprehensive because I was pretty certain it wouldn't go my way because of the whole me being a black man thing. With each of these interactions with the police, I made myself small and became compliant to avoid something that would have me in jail or dead. A person shouldn't have to do that when interacting with a segment of the community that has sworn to protect and serve.
With all that being said, black men matter. Black women matter. Black queer people matter. Black trans people matter. BLACK LIVES MATTER. My existence is political on so many levels because other people have decided that aspects about me, which I have no control over, should be political. I support the protests and commend those going out there and fighting the good fight as well as those who are supporting the protestors by donating to bail funds and other non-profit organizations. I also applaud those that are opening their homes to protestors or providing them water or food. This is going to be a long and arduous fight because 200+ years of systemic racism is that ingrained in US society.
And if any of what I said has offended you, why? Take a look inside of yourself and find out why I, a black, trans, masculine presenting person, is a threat to you. I doubt you will.
I am a realist, but I do hope some dramatic and drastic changes are made to the very fabric of our society.
Okay so, after that food for thought, here is a quick update.
Fate Unseen is in round four of editing, and it is going. With all that has been going on around the world it's hard to focus on it because I want to stay up to date and informed, but I'm getting there thanks to an app called Freedom. Blocks apps and websites on both my laptop and phone, so if I'm tempted I can't do anything and all I can work on is editing. Unless I leave my desk. That's a different story lol.
I'll come back with a better update but I wanted to voice my thoughts on what was going on with the world.
Here are a list of pro-black org and legal funds I would like everyone to consider donating to
Google Doc For A list of ways to help, including petitions, contact number to get justice for people like Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and a number of other cases that could use some traction.
An ActBlue donation page that splits donations among several bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers
There are so many more, and if you have something I didn't mention, drop a link in the comments so we can know about. This is a movement, not a moment, and we all need to do what we can to make some serious reforms to our country.
Until next time...