Friday, March 16, 2012

To my fellow Trans* people of color,

                You are brilliant, beautiful, and incredible.  Not that you need to be reminded, just that it’s not a message we get a lot and I want to add it to the world as often as I can.

                And I think you can help me with that.  See, thirty years ago Audre Lorde wrote that poetry is not a luxury in an essay that outlined the importance of writing in our daily lives.  You should look it up, like all of her writing.  I guarantee you’ll love it, because few writers or activists have shown the sheer love in their work and ideology that Lorde has.  Anyway, her point was that we must create and find beauty in our daily lives, even in the most mundane aspects.  This is something we as Trans* people of color need to do both as a community and as individuals.

                We need to begin to define who we are if we are going to organize and move ourselves forward, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by writing poetry.  Creating and performing poetry is possibly the most basic way of creating a united community that has existed for as long as human beings have, and contributes to the development of a culture and a shared identity.  Take a moment and think about how our writing—your writing—could shape TPOC culture and consciousness.  While we have a history,  a long and powerful one, the writings that are most influential, those from the Seventies and Nineties are in many aspects as removed from our lives as the white, straight, cis narratives that pervade this country’s culture today.  There is an undeniable need for something that defines us now, in a time when the world is constantly changing and being redefined.  

Also, I know that in my own case I need a vent for all the frustration and the fury I feel when I confront oppression, in any way I might be doing it.  Poetry can be a creative outlet for that, and can give us, a group of people who are never given the opportunity to speak for themselves, a powerful voice.  Only we can outline the full extent of our experiences, and we need to do so.  Not for others, not for the media that has misrepresented us or the communities that have marginalized us, but for ourselves.  For those of us who are just beginning their journey as a Trans* person, and for those of us who are isolated from a welcoming space.

                Even more than expressing all the rage we must stifle in our daily lives, we must show our beauty.  To portray the inner and outer beauty of our community is one of the most revolutionary things we can do, and one of the most fundamental for us to create a strong community.  Nothing remotely close to this exists, certainly not as a cohesive consciousness toward writing.  There are some poems online and in Trans* history, but these things are few and scattered.  That leaves it to us to add to this body of work and to make a space for our community to thrive and create spiritually and emotionally.  These writings can be our love note to one another in a world that has no positive messages for us, they can counter every stereotype, every internalized bit of transphobia, and replace them with strength and self-confidence.

Our words can and will carry power that no one has ever seen before, they can create bonds between us that will never be broken.  In my life I know that loneliness and a sense of alienation were some of the biggest struggles I faced, and I know that this is the case for many Trans* people.  I firmly believe that when we begin to represent ourselves, when we work to find one another, this situation will end and the TPOC movement will finally begin.   

                 Todo mi amor,
Sam Andazola


  1. And if you're looking for some amazing Trans* poetry, I recommend Morgan Collado's "A Trip to the Morg", a blog about social justice and life as a Transwoman of color, which has a lot of poems.
    So far, my favorite is "Barren", and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

  2. Cool, I will have to check that blog out.