“I’ve been talking about this since 1998, and we still aren’t any closer to having integrated LGBT organizations. I don’t want the rest of this decade to drag along. We can’t afford it anymore. We can’t afford it anymore. Our people are getting slaughtered.”
Those are the strong words we heard this week from TransGriot blogger Monica Roberts, an African-American transwoman who once called Louisville home. We called Monica for an impromptu interview for this week’s show, and she was gracious enough to make some last-minute time for us. We were trying to make some sense out of Jai and Doc’s experience at Sunday night’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) ceremony in Louisville.
Every year on the TDOR, we honor transpeople around the world who have been killed during the preceding year due to transphobia (of hate crimes against LGBTQ folks, transgender and people of color are disproportionately at risk). This year, 265 names were read as part of the ceremony—each the name of a lost brother or sister. Around 70% of those victims were black or brown people. Every single one of the 13 victims from the United States this year was African American or Latina.
But the Louisville TDOR was strikingly white. This phenomenon encompassed organizers, participants, and the audience—wherein the three people of color were all cisgendered, and two of them were Jai and Doc. Monica talked to us about the pervasiveness of segregation within trans activism and how the solution could lie in more trans people of color in leadership positions throughout LGBTQ organizations.
Later in the show we bring you the second part of our conversation with writer and activist Darnell Moore. This week we talk about being black, gay, and Christian. “I remember this evangelist saying she would rather her son be addicted to drugs than to be—she didn’t use the word, she just did the broken-wrist type of gesture—than to be gay,” he says. “I was mortified.”
But he reminds us that the black church is not a monolith, and there are also LGBTQ-affirming spaces within black Christianity. “I got to a point where I said if it means that my truth, the true person that I know myself to be, is something that will lead me to quote-unquote hell, then I would rather go to hell [...] for living in my truth than to go to heaven and live in a lie.”