Bishop S.F. Makalani-Mahee
Minister. Performing Artist. Community Organizer
So I’m sitting in this workshop at Philly Trans Health Conference entitled “Everything in Africa is Gendered” given by a south African trans woman of color, and before the workshop even begins she comes over to me introduces herself and tells me that she is living and working in rural South Africa as an out trans woman of color. I am immediately sobered by the courage of her reality and share my thoughts as such with her; and her response to me was somebody’s got to do the work for those who come after her, so why not her and what I got in that moment is that as difficult as navigating a transgender experience in America can be, I am grateful to be doing so.
I and most of the trans folk I know have access to services like mental health and medical services, we have access to education, and most of us have access to food and community. While our sister’s and brother’s in developing countries struggle to simply eat, find language that speaks their truth, experience boundaries to accessing competent and lifesaving medical care, limited (if any) education, and they may not have community for support. Those of us that are employed, have access to care and community resources (like the ability to attend Philly Trans Health) may want to consider that we have trans first world problems and I would offer that we bare this in mind when wanting to fall out with each other or want to go to battle over things that really don’t matter; like young trans folk thinking older trans folk are stuck in the past and just “don’t get it”.
I would offer instead that we remember that there are trans people who wish they had other’s to relate to; and as we fight amongst each other about setting a trans agenda there are trans folk in our world just trying to stay alive. We should find ourselves extremely grateful for what we have and the community we have, and if we recognize that even given the work yet to be done we are in a unique place of privilege that other trans people would perceive as the promised land, and we have a responsibility to do the work so that those that come after us have a promised land to enter into.
Continue To Walk In The Light, Redefine Your Faith, and Remember It’s All The Rhythm.