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Friday, September 30, 2016

In the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Written by  Merrick Moses

“I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” So reads Psalm 23, in part. Violence against black people, especially black men, continues unabated. We are living in crazy times. There appears to be heighten racial tensions with a candidate of a major party courting the white supremacist vote and giving voice to the KKK. And as we see extrajudicial killings of black men and women on social media, the angst and anxiety of many black men grows. As a black trans man, I must say we are included in that number among the anxious.

When I saw the shootings in Tulsa, Charlotte, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, my heart hurt. These black men were like my brothers, my cousin, my uncles, and father figures. When I step out of my home and walk the streets of Baltimore, I am a black man period. There is no equivocation. I do not wear my gender history on my sleeve. I am a black man at the start of the 21st century. I am a black man in a mirror historical period which saw lynching. Although technology has changed things, the spirit of white supremacy has not. Its deadly paradigm is the dominate cultural program of this society. No American is immune to this program; however, we are not all affected by it in the same way. It is patently clear that black and brown men, women, and children face the brunt of the racist program by being dehumanized in ever sphere and facet of American life. But even in the deadly specter of this reality, there is hope.

What the black trans man offers is a unique view of living at the intersections of gender and race. Having lived on both sides of the gender line, the black trans man has a unique gift of perspective, that when effectively amplified and acknowledge, can contribute to the healing of our nation. As it stands now, I believe that the black trans man is emerging as the Invisible Man of the 21st century. His testimony is often obscured, even in the LGBT community. He needs are ignored by institutions which serve black men and institutions that serve LGBT communities. Even when he does tell his stories, he is ignored. I know because it has happened to me. However, my resolve to give voice to the concerns of black trans men, remains stalwart. We must speak up and out. The world needs our voice.

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