- Learn more about Kristen’s advocacy w/ Trans in Action: http://www.mccnycharities.org/trans.html
Monday, February 16, 2015
[VIDEO] Trans Advocate Kristen Parker Speaks: Hypocrisy of Some Non-Trans Blacks Implying ‘Civil Rights’ Aren’t for Black Trans Women; Fatal Domestic Violence; Penny Proud; Media Misgendering the Deceased
Following the tragic murder last week in New Orleans of a 21 year old Black trans woman named Penny Proud, noted NYC trans advocate Kristen Parker quickly responded with a moving video commentary which was so unedited and emotionally powerful that it quickly went viral in many trans and ally circles.
Kristen is 33, from the Bronx and is currently the Program Coordinator of MCCNY’s Trans in Action. Towards the beginning of Kristen’s near five minute long video she exclaims,
“We are human, we are here! There is nothing that you can do that is going to change the fact that I exist…There is nothing that you can do at this point that can stifle our voice. You can take one of us away and ten more will come!”
Throughout the video Kristen reiterated her disdain for the double standard often seen in some non-trans African American individuals (including some Black churches, many hip hop lyrics, online comments sections, Black national/local non-profits and some racial social justice advocacy spaces) that imply that the civil rights movement’s recipients don’t include Black trans women (as if their lives don’t matter as much as non-trans Black lives).
Kristen said, “During the civil rights movement everybody got together; we all had our civil rights problems. And guess what? We overcame - or so we thought. You would think that civil rights would apply to everyone. Every day I flick on the television or scroll down my news feed it’s yet another murder of a trans woman... Why can’t I just live dammit, why can’t I just be myself? People in my own [Black] community, as a Black person, talk about how ‘God doesn’t like’ me. Isn’t that the same sh*t that the white man said about your [freakin’] a*s just for the color of your skin!? So think about that sh*t before you feel that you need to give me ‘what God feels’ - Because the white man felt that ‘God inspired them’ to put your a*s ‘on a slave ship’!”
We reached out to Kristen to ask her why she felt her video resonated with so many trans people and for any additional thoughts.
Kristen tells Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter (BTWLM):
The response has been amazing and I feel the support that the community has given me acknowledges what we are all thinking but can never truly form the words to say. I've also gotten some negative responses as well behind some of the things I touched on in the video, predominantly by males, of course.
I know all too well some of the struggles we as trans women face, such as the violence often associated with intimate partners and domestic abuse. It's sad to think that the ones we love can turn on us and be the ones to hurt us!
Another important point Kristen spoke of in her video was the media’s blatant misgendering of trans women after death:
“Not only that: Then you disrespect her in death by not acknowledging the fact of who she was as a person, as an individual. This goes to the media: How dare you!...If you’re going to report her death can’t you just give her the respect and respect her for the person that she is? The news, I just can’t with you anymore, you constantly disrespect us”
BTWLM asked Kristen to further describe the media’s problematic reporting of trans female homicide stories:
It’s hard enough to deal with the loss of a sister, but the media makes it worse by misgendering her, not respecting her chosen name and using incorrect gender pronouns. The media’s disrespectful coverage of murdered trans women sends the wrong message to society that it’s ok to dismiss our true gender.
A portion of Kristen’s closing statements:
“I know this video probably won’t even make a difference, but I had to put this video out there because I feel some kind of way, and my sisters, we feel some kind of way… When, damn it, as an American? Now, it’s already been set in place by the President, when is the rest of the world going to get on board and deal with it?”
- More INFO on Penny Proud’s story: http://www.pghlesbian.com/2015/02/penny-proud-of-new-orleans-is-fifth-trans-woman-of-color-killed-in-2015/