Being Visible

   I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Live Out Loud campaign and I couldn't pass on it. Scary, yes, to know that my image would be blasted all over New York city making my transgender experience tangible where it usually is merely my private medical history, locked away in stealth and unbeknownst to anyone who I may come across. I've been praised for my courage and bravery, which I appreciate but for me, bravery infers that I am up against something dangerous, something worth guarding against. However, I never for one moment feared anything. Not for one moment did I think about a backlash or a hate crime. The worst that may happen is some kid blacking out my teeth with a sharpie or scribbling some harmless vulgarity, but that's about it. What's important is that people (particularly other black folks) see that there is diversity amongst black people. We don't all have the same journey or the same story or the same mind. The story of our lives is just as different and varied as our complexions; and our differences from the straight Black Christian matrix doesn't negate our blackness. We are on the LGBTQ spectrum. We study non-traditional religions with great faith and discipline. We grow up in suburbs. We love music that speaks to us, and when the Hip-Hop and R&B Top 40 doesn't, we haven't sold out. We just haven't bought in. We are not apologists and we don't appease. We are the Black life in America that you don't see. The part that's pushed to the margins to fend for itself and only whispered about in shame or frustration. The daughter that refuses to wear a dress. The son that can work a mean pair of pumps. The Afrocentric nappy-headed queer that was deemed too weird or too black or too something. We love our community, even when it ignores us. This is who I represent. This is who I am. We are the Black life in America you don't see.

See us now?