I am a black trans femme, happy to be alive and grateful that a man’s desire for my body has not led to violence, which is all too common for trans women and gender-nonconforming people of color.
And to complicate this even further: Black, fat and gender-deviant are the targets I wear on my back as I move throughout the world. People feel a sense of entitlement toward my body — whether they are random men on the street, goofy teenagers in Brooklyn, police officers, women and children on the subway, or people on the internet.
I often wonder, when is my body my own?
People are often ashamed that trans and gender-nonconforming bodies produce pleasure for them, and they’re also fearful that others might find out. This is similar to something the poet Claudia Rankine wrote about police violence: “Because white men can’t police their imagination, black people are dying.” Similarly, trans women and gender-nonconforming people of color are dying because people, especially cisgender men and women, cannot police their imaginations.
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