At least nine trans women have been murdered in 2017. Dee Dee Watters offered this powerful Prayer for Black Trans Women to close the "Do ALL Black Lives Matter" online conversation hosted by Black Trans Women, Inc's Houston, TX chapter on February 27, 2017, shortly after a string of murders of black trans women in Louisiana. Check out Transfaith’s interview with Dee Dee and spread this message of love and compassion.
One of the many astute observations in the video was the role of LGBT nonprofits getting money to serve black trans women but ignoring their murders. How can nonprofits work to change this paradigm?
One of the main ways that nonprofits can change is to employ black trans people, especially when that is a target group. There's more to it, but that's one of the main things.
What can trans men and other trans folks who were assigned female at birth do to amplify the voices of black trans women and trans feminine people? How can we be in solidarity to end violence against trans women and trans femmes?
That's very complicated because there are so many things that can be done. I have this saying: "not every person is meant to be the President of the United States; some people are meant to fry french fries and it's O.K." When we go through the drive through, baby, and those french fries are cold we're sending them back. When black trans women are murdered the reason it’s so shocking [is because] they don't know what it's like to live a trans experience and coming from a black trans women's experiences is completely different. We don't have the ability to speak out and tell our stories, and even worse, when we do tell our stories, our LGBT counterparts and trans brothers wind up frowning upon us for telling our authentic and true stories. Those stories are so needed. One of the main things would be to create space and affirm that space for us to be there and feel like we can be our authentic selves and tell our truths and our stories.
In “Do ALL Black Lives Matter” Monica Roberts talks about ending hypermasculinity and transphobic stigma, how do we all work to end that paradigm and support black femininity?
We need to do is remind our brothers that genitalia and gender are two totally different things. Gender is between the ears, not between the legs. Genitalia is between the legs, not between the ears. We have to remind our sisters that when it comes down to being femme, especially being a transgender women, especially a black trans woman, the same struggles they have gone through and overcome are some of the struggles that I can relate to. We have people who talk about how as a trans woman you were born into masculinity. But in reality if I'm born male and I transition to female in a black body it's totally frowned upon, because in a black body masculinity is so important. We have to remind our sisters that this fight we're fighting is the same fight they fought. It's a fight that they are fighting to this day. If my sister who's a black woman says that I'm not femme enough, or not woman enough, is it fair for me to get paid more than her? We have to start having these conversations in a way that's real, relevant, and radical because then people will actually get it.
How can the black church love black trans women better?
By remembering Jesus, that’s the way that the black church can start to love, honor, and respect black trans women. Remember that Jesus came down here for all of our sins. Remember that Jesus was hung, bled and died. Remember that Jesus loved the whosoever crowd and when you really think about it, black bodies are part of the whosoever crowd. We need to be reminded about who Jesus really was, and Jesus was love and that was that.
Dee Dee Watters a Transgender entrepreneur, leader, teacher, director, and performer. Using her skills and talent to not only entertain the community but to also educate the community. Dee Dee has been listed in various magazines articles and some of her work noticed in the Huffington Post the Ambassador! She's been awarded numerous awards and has made history within the trans community. Dee Dee is the CEO of Take My Calls Virtual Assistant Services and COO of Koncept Kit! She is the founder of T.W.C.U.C. Transgender Women of Color United for Change and Chair of BTWI, Dee Dee sits on a host of boards that are in line with her vision of building community, trans inclusion and equal rights for ALL!
Cyree Jarelle Johnson is a black non binary essayist and poet. They are Managing Editor at Transfaith, a Poetry Editor at Deaf Poets Society, and a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University.