I went to a rally in support of Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman that was attacked on April 12th after a car incident. Myself and others including transgender women and men and a navy vet turned pastor were in Royal Crest Apartments, the apartment complex that housed the individuals that initiated the attack and stood around as the 23-year old was beaten in the center of a crowd. I missed the protests for L’Daijohnique Lee, the woman attacked in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas last month and I missed the vigils that were held in honor of Nipsey Hussle. I went that Saturday afternoon because I believe that this was more than just an argument between two individuals, I believe it is a hate crime and because of that I wanted to show up for my people, Black people.
We were greeted by the property manager and told that he respected our decision to come out to the event, but pleaded that we were peaceful and respectful. I couldn’t tell if there were people outside of their apartments because they wanted to enjoy the weather or if they were just curious by who would come out and support Ms Booker. I’m assuming the DJ with his speakers outside on his patio was not trying to provide music since there was already a DJ. While I was grabbing a bottle of water and pamphlet, I noticed a poster board, flowers, and candles. There was a memorial for the 28 transwomen that have been murdered in the last year in the U.S. So far, two transwomen have died this year.
According to CNN, all were people of color except 1, and 18 of the murders remain unsolved. “Eighteen of these known victims were shot. Four were stabbed. The homes of two victims were set on fire while they were still in them. Four were beaten to death.” While I was learning of the tragic deaths of 18-year old, Shreveport, Louisiana native, Vontashia Bell, the youngest on the list, Dallas’ own, Nicole Hall, and unfortunately, many others, the organizers were having an open discussion to the apartment DJ and why they were out here today. The only thing I heard from DJ Couch was a brief mention of the Bible. I can only assume that he was trying to use the words of Jesus and his life story into his justification of opposing an event based on love. I can only side-eye people that shrug at the harm and deaths of God’s children because of disagreement with sexual orientation or personal self-preference AKA how they identify themselves.
Like I said earlier, the property manager wanted us to be respectful of the resident and not disturb anyone or record/take pics of anything except where the meet-up was held. While in the middle of information being shared, a courtesy officer stopped one of the organizers from taking any pictures at all. At the end of it all, we were encouraged to speak with residents and have a conversation with them about LGBTQ rights. I did not perform any outreach efforts because I believe that anyone that was against the hateful actions that took place should have been outside in that park. In the last year, I have washed my hands of anyone that is silent and believes violence towards marginalized groups is okay. I will gladly show my support and speak of for injustices, but going back and forth with people on their ignorance is not my form of activism.
Civil Right activists were attacked, sprayed with hoses, arrested and bitten by dogs on TV to gain sympathy and support in the 1960s. Today, we’re too desensitized by all of the videos of deaths and assaults of unarmed and unthreatening Black people being killed and harmed, but people still question their motives and actions to make them the provokers and deserved recipients of the negative energy. L’Daijohnique Lee was attacked for blocking someone that was leaving a parking lot in a popular section of Dallas known as Deep Ellum that has a history of dresscodes targeting certain crowds and even establishments banning DJs from playing Hip-Hop. Two weeks after her attack, there was an arrest warrant for Ms Lee for felony criminal mischief because she smashed the back window of her attacker’s truck after she was beaten. WHAT THE FUCK!? There was a plan to boycott the Deep Elum Arts Festival from Dallas activist, Dominique Alexander, if the charge was not dropped. Fortunately, the charges were dropped the same day. If all lives mattered, Deep Ellum would’ve shown more love to Ms Lee instead of an arts festival telling people when to protest. A community event could have a positive effect if it was actually about community relations and acknowledging the problems of the area, but instead, the founder and director, made up some BS about art not being political or having agendas. 25 years and your festival ain’t even that dope. We should not have a great time at the festival and shrug off the severity of what just happened in the same area weeks ago. We can’t learn from our mistakes if we don’t acknowledge that there is a problem. There is a problem in Deep Ellum and there is a problem in Dallas that are problems in society today. Hours after Nipsey Hussle’s murder there were several posts with the phrase “we have to do better” which was misleading to me because one person failed Nipsey. I saw the L.A. community show up and show out for him. I’ve seen Hip-Hop stand up for him in his absence, but I’ve seen little to no support from all genders and races in two specific instances where Black women needed everyone on their side. We all need to do better.
I want to end with some information I was given by the event’s organizer and local activist, Niecee X , whom I became aware of because of her work with bringing attention to L’Daijohnique Lee.
L – Lesbians: A lesbian is a female homosexual: a female who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction to other females.
G – Gay: Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual. Gay is often used to describe homosexual males but lesbians may also be referred to as gay.
B – Bisexual: Bisexuality is the romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or romantic or sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity; this latter aspect is sometimes termed pansexuality.
T – Trans, Transgender, or Trans-Identified: Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. It is sometimes abbreviated to trans.
2S – Two-Spirit: Two-Spirit is a modern umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe gender-variant individuals in their communities, specifically, people within indigenous communities who are seen as having both male and female spirits within them.
Q – Queer: Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or cisgender. Queer was originally used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires but, beginning in the late-1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word.
Q – Questioning: The questioning of one’s gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or all three is a process of exploration by people who may be unsure, still exploring, and concerned about applying a social label to themselves for various reasons.
I – Intersex: Intersex is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.
A – Asexual: Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.
+ – Plus Sign: The symbol is for inclusivity all identities to make our community feel welcomed and that nobody is left out.
Ally – A person who considers themselves a friend to the LGBTQ+ community.
Pansexual – Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.
Agender – Agender people, also called genderless, genderfree, non-gendered, or ungendered people are those who identify as having no gender or being without any gender identity. This category includes a very broad range of identities which do not conform to traditional gender norms.
Gender Queer – Gender Queer is an umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.
Bigender – Bigender is a gender identity where the person moves between feminine and masculine gender identities and behaviours, possibly depending on context. Some bigender individuals express two distinct “female” and “male” personas, feminine and masculine respectively; others find that they identify as two genders simultaneously.
Gender Variant – Gender variance, or gender nonconformity, is behaviour or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine and feminine gender norms. People who exhibit gender variance may be called gender variant, gender non-conforming, gender diverse or gender atypical, and may be transgender, or otherwise variant in their gender expression. Some intersex people may also exhibit gender variance.
Pangender – Pangender people are those who feel they identify as all genders. The term has a great deal of overlap with gender queer. Because of its all-encompassing nature, presentation and pronoun usage varies between different people who identify as pangender.
“Transgender” is both an identity and an umbrella term for other identities, In general, a transgender person is someone who doesn’t completely identify as the gender they’re expected to.
Assigned Female At Birth – (AFAB) – An individual who was announced as a girl/female as a newborn.
Assigned Male At Birth – (AMAB) – An individual who was announced as a boy/male as a newborn.
Nonbinary – A transgender individual who does not identify strictly as male or female.
Cisgender – Someone who completely agrees with their assigned sex at birth. Opposite of transgender.