Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Black is Beautiful,T-shots, and the Reality of Being Black, Trans* & Gay

I am writing this post, curled up on my right side, with a buck on the floor, underneath my head and a bottle of ginger ale and a cup on the desk next to the laptop.

Just in case you couldn't catch it from that long-ass description, I'm sick. Yesterday I was at "Oh my gosh, just kill me now," sick and today I'm just at "Everyone's getting on my damn nerves," sick which means I'm almost past it.

I'm not sick because of the flu or a cold or a stomach virus, I'm sick because I had my first T-shot (Testosterone shot) yesterday. Yay! That's right, the VA finally got their shit together and got me started on testosterone hormone replacement therapy (they had originally prescribed me Estrogen......really?). So, my body is going through massive changes and because of that it apparently has no further use for my internal organs and so it's going to puke them all out. But it's all worth it, because I'm on the path towards being who I was born to be, which is awesome.

My Black is Beautiful
I had a comment left on my official author website (Vicktor Alexander) about the character of Howell. The reader mentioned that Howell was black in the book but that the man on the cover was white....


So I realized that this reader just wasn't aware of the different shades there are to black people, so I tried to educate him. But in the end it made me think. Here recently I've had at the very least, four people that I knew who have bluntly stated that someone wasn't "black" just because the color of their skin was too light.

Now, you all have seen pictures of me, you can look at me and tell that I am predominantly "African-American." The thing is, you'd be wrong.

My biological father is Caribbean. He was born in Barbados. His skin color is darker than mine. However, both of his parents are what is termed "biracial." His mother was half Bajan (someone born in Barbados) and half British, his father was half Bajan and half Trinidadian. But even though that's how they identified themselves, that was still incorrect because my paternal grandmother's mother was British and Irish, and her father was Bajan and Scottish. But her mother looked white and spoke with an British accent and her father looked black.

That's just on the biological father's side.

So as I thought about all of the different ethnicities and cultures running through my veins (my great grandmother Mary whose mother was Cherokee Indian and her father who was "black and a whole lot of other stuff"), I realized that people will continue to visually categorize people. You see someone whose skin is tanned, but not brown, so they must be Hispanic/Latino. You see someone whose eyes are slanted, skin is pale but not too pale so they must be Asian. You see someone whose skin is olive and tanned, whose features are refined so they must be Indian. You see someone whose skin is pale, hair looks soft, and eyes are blue or green so they must be Caucasian. You see someone whose skin is brown so they must be African. But upon talking to them you find out that person 1 is Native American, person 2 is Alaskan, person 3 is Puerto Rican, person 4 is African-American and person 5 is Indian.

Such wrong misconceptions, purely based on color.

"My Black is Beautiful" is something that celebrates African-American women and their varying shades and colors and sizes and there's a picture of some of the women who are involved in this movement, this project, and even though I am a black man, I am a black man who so strongly believes in supporting black women that I'm going to use MBIB to get my point across. Here's the picture:

Every single one of the women in this picture is African American.

All of them.

And you'll notice that they're all different colors, shades, sizes. Their hair is different, their style is different. They are unique and fascinating and beautiful.

One of the reasons that I have the unexpected character be the hero in my books is because I'm trying to pull people (quite forcefully sometimes) out of their preconceived notions of what is beautiful, what is strong, what is manly, what is womanly, what is gay, straight, bisexual.

What is black.

What is transgender.

Because people are unique, flawed, varying shades of being and looking at someone and thinking you know everything just from looking at them is why racism, discrimination, bigotry and hatred still exists in this world.

The Reality of Being Black, Trans* & Gay
There are no transgender people in the black community and there are very few gay people.

No seriously.

We don't exist.

We, those of us who identify as black, transgender and/or gay, are not recognized by the black community, because the black community is one that prides itself on being "Christian," or "religious." I kid you not. Rappers, who spit lyrics with words like "pussy," "fucker," "bitch," "ho," etc. are the ones who when they win their awards get up behind the microphone and thank God. They were all raised in the church. Raised to believe in God. Raised to believe in what the Bible says.

But only the big sins apply to them, or to anyone.

Like the sin of being gay or transgender.

So if you are gay or transgender and black you typically hide it because you know that you can be attacked, beaten up or even killed by your friends, family members, etc. and they don't have to worry about the news media broadcasting about the gay-bashing going on within the black community or the hate crimes against transgenders that takes place on a daily basis, because it's involving black people and that stuff only gets coverage if it's coming from a black celebrity and directed towards others.

Harsh, but true.

And no, the black community isn't full of bigoted, homophobic, violent assholes. There is a lot of good that takes place there. The strength of the black community, the way that we all come out in droves to support each other and stand with each other when a racial injustice is being done is something that has always fascinated me. But don't get it twisted, it is beyond dangerous to be gay and/or transgender and to be black.

So when I hear people talk about remarks that blacks make that are considered "hate" speech, I have to remind them (I try to do it gently), that in the black community that stuff is normal, that is acceptable. They were raised that way. They heard that being shouted from the pulpits ("And the Lord will see all gays and lesbians, all transgenders, will burn in hell for their perversions!"), they had it hammered into them as a child, they were smothered in it through their television programming. And no one really watches BET and TV One outside of the black community but you don't see gay characters there and the reactions in the shows and the movies, the words that are used, the entertainers who are exalted teaches the children that being gay or transgender is shameful and wrong.

And no, I'm not condoning this, but I am pointing out that in the black community being gay or transgender is about 100 times more dangerous than people realize. I'm glad that I live with Cherie because honestly, had I come out and stayed in Florida, I would have been hospitalized by now, because I'd been attacked. No joke.

Something to think about and realize that instead of ripping these people a new asshole for saying stuff they grew up hearing was the right thing to say, realize that they need to be re-educated.

Education is good, but gays bashing gay bashers is not.

-Vicktor Aleksandr


  1. Have just bought a copy of Unassumed, although I have an insane backlog of books to read - might be a while before I get to it :)
    I've looked at the cover picture a few times now having read your post; all I can say is that the guy is sexy. People come in lots of different colours and shapes; and that difference is wonderful and beautiful.

    Hope you start to feel better soon :)

    1. Thanks pointycat. You know when I saw the guy from the cover that's all I thought too. I said "Howell?! Is that you?" Then my big sis and I both mentioned how hot he was. Those preconceived notions about what skin tone someone has to be in order to be something is how people get in trouble.

  2. Rock on, lil'bro. This post is amazing. Brave, bright and informative. Thank you.

  3. As always beautifully written, Vic!

    When I see people who are of mixed race or if I don't know which race they belong, I see it as a exotic fact. Being an Indian who didn't have ANY mixing I feel that is wonderful. But to be honest, I don't know if they do face any discriminations... I hope/wish that my kids at least marry someone who is NOT an Indian - we have had enough mixing as it is... LOL!

    Thank you for also educating us (me) about the treatment of gays and trans people in black community. What you said ...gays bashing gay bashers is not is very true. An eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind.

    1. *blush* Thanks Brahmin.

      You are so right. It turns my stomach when I see people who are/were oppressed turning around and oppressing others. And if we don't learn to stop attacking each other, then that quote is correct, we'll all be blind.


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