Exactly one month and one day ago the day after the election I left my home in New York and proceeded with my daily routine I took my afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop in Manhattan where I flirted with the Italian owner then retreated upstairs to the sitting area. I felt the quiet everywhere, on the subway, walking through Time Square station, but I didn’t think much of it and it was easy to ignore. As I sat in the corner writing, a different post for The Cis Jungle, I overheard two assumingly cis white men talking about the election. One of them went on talk about how his wife was devastated and spent the entire morning in tears. They sat in silence for a few moments.
I was in some regards taken aback and confused. First to all of my friends who organize, self identify as social justice warriors or consider themselves socially conscious; Why are you shocked? This is the literal manifestation of the oppression we fight against; sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, islamophobia, xenophobia, racism. These fights literally keep some of us employed so why is it that oppression is so shocking? Donald Trump is cis white rich and a man. When did that ever spell out loser here in America?
Second I say Welcome. Welcome to my world my reality every single day without fail. The only reason I no longer live in “fear” is because I’ve become so desensitized to it no longer phases me. I am so cynical many people can’t stand me, I am so delusionally confident I confuse myself sometimes. Welcome to my pain I can’t escape through family time, or date night, or a trip to Bergdorf’s. I have to endure and move on. It’s almost like discovering who your white feminist friends are, has my struggle not been invisible to you? Can you see me, the real me? I partly blame myself for being such a good faker, many of you can’t see my daily struggle that occasionally even begins with finding a motivation to open my eyes in the morning. The injustices of my life extend beyond whoever is in office. It begins with you the people I see everyday talk to everyday or who chooses not to talk. Our injustices start with the people who surround us. Is it bad that it’s easy for me to ignore your pain and tears as my own have been ignored most of my life? I think that part of my heart has frozen over because when I try to reach inward to the empathy I still have it but it’s hibernating. My empathy has to take regular seasonal breaks in order to remain even somewhat functional.
I never felt free or truly liberated. I thought once I finally moved to New York that feeling of Freedom would overtake me; it didn’t. I am a black trans woman living in America which for many girls like me is a death sentence whether it be by someone else’s hand or our own. In my not so humble opinion freedom has never been truly granted to black and brown people and certainly not transgender people. As Kanye said “Like a light skin slave boy we in the muthafuckin’ house!” Women, black people and trans people we’ve simply become house slaves no longer subject to laboring in the fields, but nonetheless still under rule in the masters home while being paraded and tricked as the favorites. We are simply “new slaves” (Kanye west).
I must say it’s a little entertaining to see these bitches scatter, frantic, running for their lives, planning to move their families to foreign lands, pouring tears. For the first time in many people’s lives they feel what my existence feels like every single day. There is nowhere for me to hide, trust me if there were I would be hiding now. I have to survive, women like me and under privileged and hyper marginalized people have to survive. We must work we must interact we must exist because the alternative is a sure death as opposed to a possible one.
Why must there take so many of us feel the pain to feel our own pain how our own struggles before we are able to believe anyone else. These stories ,these complaints ,their pain, my pain, which is nothing new and has existed for as long as I can remember yet now we are being heard. I am being begged and I am being expected to empathize with a community of people who have a new of my story ignored my pain or taken for granted my existence since the beginning of time. The best advice I can give is to continue living; even if and when people ignore you your skin will begin to grow so thick and tough and over time you will no longer feel it and you too can be painless like me. And so “I’m gonna live my life like it’s the last damn night” (Elle King) because for any black transgender woman in today’s world it very well may be.