Being exceptional isn’t revolutionary, it’s lonely. It separates you from your community. Who are you, really, without community? I have been held up consistently as a token, as the ‘right’ kind of trans woman (educated, able-bodied, attractive, articulate, heteronormative). It promotes the delusion that because ‘I made it,’ that level of success is easily accessible to all young trans women. Let’s be clear: It is not.
This quote is from her book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. This is…so important. Black trans women/trans women of colour face a level of marginalization that most people—even cis Black women/cis women of colour—do not readily experience. Yet, here she is discussing how even in that marginalized space, there is privilege assigned to her appearance, intellect etc. (It’s not a coincidence that Janet, Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera are incredibly beautiful in the public eye even as they face racism and transmisogyny in the public eye. This is because of cis people’s cissexism and desiring "passing" to be palatable versus being who they are, as Janet has discussed before.) And this is then used to presume that Black trans women/trans women of colour no longer have struggle. This is why exceptionalism is dangerous. Bootstrap theory won’t help. And cis people (and I am one of them, a cis Black woman) praising “respectability” for Black trans women/trans women of colour (H/T blackfoxx) does not help. It can oppress.
Oh and there’s (trans) misogynoir too. Expecting Laverne or Janet to not be “Angry Black Women” and be “calm” when people are degrading their humanity, and then “praising” them for the calm? Yeah…uh no. White people, including White trans people (who still have White privilege) need to stop that. Every time I hear the phrase "oh…so much grace" I hear "they didn’t scare the Whites!" Anger about dehumanization is okay and just as empowering.
Well John, if they are not going to make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, why should I take the time to distinguish between decent fearful white people and racists?
Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show (via nezua)
you really CAN. NOT. argue with that.