yesterday i reblogged two posts by @disabledqueerdyke about Rita Hester. the first post says:
The Trans Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 to remember the murder of a Black trans woman, Rita Hester. Please share as this is important info to know.
and the second says:
Can we just be clear that we would probably be unaware of Rita Hester’s murder without a lot of work from her community, exactly because Rita was Black.
now, i’m including the screencap so that people can see that as i write this the first post is over 20k in notes and the second post is at 364.
i’m sure some ppl are thinking “well, one asks ‘please share’ and the other doesn’t so maybe that explains the discrepancy between the two. which of course, would be an erroneous conclusion.
in general, twoc have done a really good job of making enough noise about the fact that (if we are talking about the US) most of the murdered trans ~ppl~ memorialized on tdor are Black and/or Latina trans women. enough so, that by and large (at least as far as i’m able to tell) people do have recieved this basic piece of information. enough so that it is pretty common to caveat the discussions of trans violence with:
~especially Black and/or Latina trans women~
~especially trans women of colour~1
thus, remember that Rita Hester is the real source/origin of tdor is supremely important as gwen smith still claims ownership over tdor while being a giant racist shitbag who thinks that you can coherently distinguish trans women of colour who’re victims of domestic violence vs transmisogynist violence.
so creating a historical account of tdor that centres the vital and important role that Rita Hester played is not only about important historical accuracy but also destablizes the logic of tdor as enacted by gwen smith and the countless white trans ppl who coopt and build their careers off of the violence endured by Black and/or Latina trans women.
as you can see, many ppl (at least on the surface) are happy to acknowledge Rita Hester’s role….
even as they are unwilling to acknowledge the importance of the Black community in ensuring that she, at the time and now, is not forgotten.
i’m unsurprised that this part of the story fails to engage a lot of people…
i mean. not only does it call out the anti-Blackness, in general, of the trans community, something which is ironically demonstrated by the lack of attention paid to the post.
why does it the role of the Black community matter in ensuring that knowledge and action is made when Black trans women die?
well, because, it works against a general (anti-Black) sentiment that Black people are more transmisogynist (see also homophobic) than white ppl. this is the logic that was behind blaming the Black community for prop 8 in california.
but it also would mean recognizing the critical role that the Black community still plays in ensuring that people know when Black trans women are murdered. the role that the Black community still plays in trying to get justice for these women.
it would mean recognizing that the (not just white but non-Black) trans community often fails to raise any real alarm when Black trans women die or fails to recognize or note the importance of it.
reblogging that second post would have signaled at least some dawning awareness of the serious, deep issue of anti-Blackness amongst those trans ppl (me included) who aren’t Black.
which is, of course, why it has largely been ignored, compared to the nice (sanitized) bit of historical trivia.
which is true, at least speaking globally, even as the global numbers are still mostly Black and/or Latina trans women, this claim tends to erase context and necessary specificity if no further context or discussion is presented. ↩