Flipside or a dose of positivity
July 21, 2012
(Originally posted at Womanist Musings. Posting here for archival purposes.)
I've been doing a lot of criticism of the trans community on my posts here. And while trans discourse is in deep need of some anti-colonial criticism, it has tended to make it seem like I spend most of my time thinking about white trans stuff, and less so my own things.
One of the things that has been great about going out and experiencing some of what the community has to offer is connecting with other non-cis PoC (few, if any, actively ID as trans, even if would fit). This has been great because it really has allowed me to see and feel that I am not alone.
I am not alone in my resistance of the white hegemonic and colonial trans discourse on gender. I’m not alone in my attempts to decolonize and liberate myself from white gender constructs and the language that helps form them.
And, more than anything, this is something worth celebrating. It is a great thing that there are so many PoC who wish to take on the difficult work of decolonizing the discourse and carving out some space for ourselves.
One noteworthy thing I’ve seen is how much more accepting the people I’ve been talking with are about language and the specificity of how we express our different experiences. I often feel that there are vast terminological battles fought out in white trans spaces in ways neither helpful nor productive.
Yet, when I discuss these topics with other PoC, we seems to find it easy to establish some common ground, discuss what we need to discuss in that context all while preserving our individual feelings and interactions with language.
It is a type of pluralistic approach I rarely see and experience in white trans spaces. Where, rather than committing to or attempting to find stable and globally applicable sets of meanings, we have shifting, evolving, and mutable frameworks that allow us to speak our truths and understand each other in ways that do not end up erasing or silencing.
What is also interesting, is the way that there are some shared experiences amongst PoCs. Enough similarities that the erasure of our narratives from trans* discourse makes me extra mad, since there is so much value from sharing experiences and connecting over common ground. How much value there is to see yourself reflected in the stories that are told. It is especially awesome to hear narratives of the people who live and are living, to know that trans* poc are more than just obituaries.
It is wonderful and this post, in many ways, is simply a thank you and me gushing about how much it all means to me that I have found with whom I can discuss this stuff with and with whom we can create imaginary and temporary communities with, instead of reifying them at the expense of others.
It is wonderful and it is glorious. Thank you!