by Monica Roberts
The first column that you write for new readers to your style of writing at a new venue for it besides your host one is always the toughest.
But let’s get to it, shall we?
I am Monica Roberts, a longtime Houston based trans angelic troublemaker and award winning activist who happens to be an award winning writer as well. I transitioned in 1994, have been active in the trans human rights movement nationally, in Texas and Kentucky since 1998, and my home blog is TransGriot, that I founded on New Year’s Day 2006.
So why am I writing at Black Girl Dangerous? I was invited by BGD founding Editor-in-Chief, Mia McKenzie, to do so, and a writer is always looking for opportunities to stretch their wings and expose their writing beyond their core audience.
I also bring to this BGD space in addition to some of my regular readers, the unique perspective of being a trans person who not only has been writing about trans issues for almost two decades and had her work published at a wide variety of print and online spaces, I have had a ringside seat for much of the trans community’s history since 1994 and helped shape some of it. I also come from a long line of family members who are historians and educators, so writing about trans* history is one of my passions.Another thing you’ll discover as you peruse this and future BGD columns that I write is that I am unapologetically Black and trans, I write from an Afrocentric perspective, tell it like it T-I-S is, and have no problem calling crap out when I see it to friend, foe and frenemy.
And if you’re wondering what I mean when I say ‘tell it like it T-I-S is’, it’s a phrase I borrowed from the late father of Black Radio, Jack ‘The Rapper’ Gibson. I loved him for his no holds barred truth telling in his Black music radio trade and news publication The Mello Yello that my late father used to have a subscription to.
The T-I-S in it stands for ‘Truth Is Sacred’.
Two of the points that I will repeatedly drive home in my posts are that yes, trans women are women. That’s one of the things I want you to let permeate into your minds before we even get started. The other point is that African-American trans people are part of the kente cloth fabric of Black America, and our issues as Black trans people are Black American issues.
I am also a Womanist, which is another factor that influences what I write along with being a trans person who grew up in 1970s Texas. I not only love my home state and hometown, I love all my beautiful Black people in all their perfectly imperfect manifestations, and despite its challenges at times, love being on the feminine side of the gender fence.So what will you see when you read this BGD column? Just like my home blog, whatever I choose to comment on that compels me to write about it.
While trans human rights issues, how they impact the African-American community and African descended trans people across the African Diaspora is one of the primary focuses on my writing, I have other things that pique my curiosity beyond just trans human rights ones.You will see me writing about some breaking international crisis one day, race relations in another one, politics, pop culture, women’s sports or sports in general, life in Houston and Texas or me navigating life in a trans feminine body.
To give you a taste of what’s on my mind right now, I’m thinking about the 2014 midterm elections not only nationally but in my home state of Texas.Wendy Davis is running for governor and Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor. It’s not only the most excitement I’ve seen around Democratic candidates at the top of our ticket since Ann Richards was running for governor in 1990, contrary to the Lone Star conservafool chatter you’re hearing that ‘they don’t have a chance’ and ‘they’ll be blown out’, if you’re on the ballot you have a chance to win.Both of them can be inaugurated next January if we as a community handle our electoral business. It’s not only vitally important as trans, bi and SGL people that we show up and show out November 4 at our polling places, but that we continue to do so in EVERY election from now on until you leave this planet to meet the ancestors.
This election is critical because your human rights and whether liberal progressive legislation will flow from this currently gridlocked Congress in the next two years depend on you voting. Getting control of your state legislatures from the Teapublicans is a must as well.
It is illogical to think that you can get liberal-progressive human rights laws and policies out of a conservative controlled legislature.
And yes, the human rights you save will be your own.
As to why I write, in the words of Audre Lorde, “I write for those women who do not speak, who do not have verbalizations because they, we, are so terrified, because we are taught to respect our fears, but we must learn to respect ourselves and our needs.”
All work published on BGD is the intellectual property of its writers. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission from BGD. For more info, go here.
Monica Roberts, aka the TransGriot (Gree-oh), is a native Houstonian and a trailblazing award winning trans community leader. Her writing about trans issues from an Afrocentric perspective has appeared at Ebony.com, Loop21.com Transadvocate, The Huffington Post, Racialicious, Feministe, Global Comment, The Bilerico Project, Elixher, What Tami Said and Womanist Musings.