Today is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day we set aside to honor those who have suffered as a result of anti-trans* hate crimes and prejudice. Today, we remind ourselves to recognize the unique challenges faced by the trans* members of our communities, and pledge to do more to help all year round. For information about TDOR or events that may be happening near you, check out the official website. This is a really important day, and a chance to educate lots of people about some really crucial issues. Let’s take the opportunity.
You are in everything. 99 percent of Hollywood movies feature your faces. 99 percent of magazine covers are covered in you. The Emmy Awards and Oscars are almost entirely you. If you Google “beautiful people” the screen is covered in white faces. Black girls (and boys) are taught from birth that there is one version of beauty, and it is you. Many black girls go their entire lives thinking they are ugly, thinking they need to be lighter, straighter, whiter in order to have value. Everything that you see every day that reaffirms your whiteness; every commercial that has a nice white lady embodying the perfect “mom;” every magazine that has blue eyes and bone-straight hair; every Hollywood blockbuster that has a leading lady with skin never darker than Halle Berry… all of these things are reinforcements of your identity that you take for granted.
You may be fat. You may have hair that curls up at the ends. You may even have acne. But your face is everywhere. Your people are everywhere. What in your heart recoils when you see Black Girls Rock? What bone in your body sees empowerment for black girls and thinks “that’s not fair”? Where is your bitterness rooted? What do you think has been taken from you when women of color are uplifted?
All of the things you take for granted are what you’re protecting when you shout down Black Girls Rock: your whiteness, the system that upholds your face as the supreme standard of beauty, your place in the center of a culture that demands people of color remain hidden in the margins, present but only barely and never overshadowing the white hero/heroine. Your discomfort with black girls who rock tells me that you prefer the status quo: you prefer for black faces to remain hidden, you prefer for America’s heroes to have white faces, you prefer for black actresses to wear aprons and chains.
You must write every single day of your life. You must lurk in libraries to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.