Published on February 27th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
Where is the Love Among the Transgender Community?
By Toni Newman
Within the transgender community, you have the whites vs blacks, pre-op vs. post-op, and the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have nots.’ Most black transgender people in America come from a place of just trying to survive and exist. Most black transgender people do not have financial resources, family support, health care or education to elevate themselves out of their current situation.
The reality is, the white transgender journey and the black transgender journey are like day and night. I cannot speak about the white transgender journey and they cannot speak about my experiences and my transformation as an African American transgender.
I recently wrote a Book about my Life Story as a Black Transgender in America. My memoir I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman details my life, my story, my experiences and my thoughts about the african american transgender journey. My story is not a pretty one, detailing homelessness, living in crack hotel, street prostitution, escorting, mistressing and using my body to make money and survive. During all my interviews and in my book I only tell my story and my truth through my own eyes. I recently came across an article by a white transgender person criticizing me for telling my life story and being open about my past and my sex escapades. How can a white transgender person criticize me about my own african american life story? How can she criticize me for not having the finances or support to obtain the sex reassignment surgery? How can she discount my life story as not being valid? The Root.com just did a study about double discrimination of minority transgender people living in poverty, facing violence at a high rate, and high suicide rate.
We must embrace all the transgenders whether black or white, whether pre-op or post-op, whether escort or physician. Every transgender person has their own unique story and experiences. Lets not judge one another for each individual choices but support and give love whenever we can. In Chapter 10 titled “I Rise” within my book, I write the following text which expresses what my Memoir is all about:
My spiritual foundation gave me light when there was complete darkness in my life. When there was no one to turn to, I turned to God. It was a process for me to understand that God had created me, I was His child, and He loved me.
In my darkest hours, I prayed and cried unto the Lord to help me and guide me. And the next day I would see some relief, some sunshine, in my otherwise dark life. My journey has led me to fully believe that if you work hard and do your very best, God will do the rest. He guided and uplifted me when there was absolutely no one to encourage and help me.
When I stood completely alone, the song “I Need You Now,” sung by gospel vocalist Smokie Norful, was my prayer in the midst of the darkness. And Marvin Sapp’s song “Never Would Have Made It Without You” would become my song of victory.
I feel victorious that I have endured, and have come into my true essence. I am a black transgender. I am happy and healthy and free. I am more than a conqueror through Christ, and I will not be defeated, and I will not give up!
Throughout my life, my favorite author and poet has always been Dr. Maya Angelou, Reynolds Professor at Wake Forest University, whom I met while at student at Wake Forest University in early 1980′s. I have read most of her works and felt her love and compassion for all people, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexuality, or nationality. Her poem “And Still I Rise” says best what I feel in my heart today. Her words provoke my soul, energize my body, liberate my mind, and heal my wounded, crying heart.
And so my story is I Rise.