Ebony Magazine online has posted an article Thursday (March 1) that is a perfect transition article (if you’ll pardon the pun) between Black History Month and Women’s History Month that I find fascinating. There is so much history out there and so little of it makes the mainstream that it’s important to boost the signal when we can.
The article, which is titled A Look at African-American Trans Trailblazers, tells the kind of stories I have never heard nor even considered. The article, which is by Monica Roberts, relates both the success stories, beginning with Lucy Hicks Anderson in 1886 and continuing today.
Transgender African Americans have been active contributors to history, even though they have often been overlooked. Their presence and contributions are not a recent development, but can be traced back through the centuries. Consider the story of Lucy Hicks Anderson, who was born in 1886 in Waddy, KY. She made it quite clear that she was a girl and insisted on wearing dresses to school. The term “transgender” didn’t exist at that time, but the doctor who examined her advised Lucy’s mother to raise her as a girl.
Black transgender women were, and are, key in fighting for Civil Rights because their rights are attacked on so many levels that this white, bi-, born female person can’t even begin to fathom. They have been denied rights as women, as men, as queer, as black; they have to fight just to exist. The fight goes on, but there have been successes.
The breakthroughs continue. Kye Allums last year became the first openly trans NCAA Division One athlete. Tona Brown became thefirst transperson of any ethnicity to perform for a sitting U.S. president. Isis King, Laverne Cox and Janet Mock continue to shine in various fields. Jordana LeSesne, Foxxjazzell, Alyras DeCygne and Katey Red join Tona Brown as trailblazers in various music genres. As for the future, we can hope to see even more Black trans history be made in the second decade of the 21st century and beyond.
I can only say thanks to Ms. Roberts for bringing these stories forward. You go, girl!!!!!
Monica Roberts, aka the TransGriot, is a native Houstonian and a trailblazing trans community leader who transitioned in 1994.