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Recently, Angelica Ross had a complete hissy fit on social media. She felt that trans-women were excluded from this year’s BET’s Black Girls Rock event.
BLACK TRANS GIRLS ROCK!!!! I’m willing to B.E.T. that no trans women were invited or highlighted at #BlackGirlsRock. Is it 18 now? 18 black trans women have been killed this year, but NO MENTION during the segment dedicated to the lives lost??? 🗑— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) September 9, 2019
Not to say her feelings were invalid, but how can she diminish the accomplishments of the other women at the event?
To me, it seems a bit unfair, especially since this same energy wasn’t expressed at the SAG Awards. If she wants to fight for visibility, then her anger needs to be directed at everyone. Not everyone is well-versed on the trans community. Most people are just getting to a stage of tolerance. In minority communities, we are light years behind our white counterparts accepting their LGBTQ members.
It’s getting better in minority households for children to come out, but it’s nowhere as easy as white households. Minority parents have utilized therapy for dealing with their gay children. Years ago this was unheard of. This shows progression being made in the right direction.
For Ross to say that BET ignores LGBT accomplishments is simply not true. Lena Waithe is gay, out and proud, and she’s been flourishing on their network. Another LGBT member who’s been embrace by BET is Janelle Monáe. Her music is on regular rotation on all BET platforms.
Do I commend Ross for bringing attention to an issue that’s been ignored for a long time? Of course! Just this year alone 17 Black transgender women have died. Last year it was 28 lives. So, instead of directing her anger at Black people, why doesn’t she direct some at the white gays? Anyone who is affiliated with gay culture knows that the community is very segregated and racist. Is Ross wanting acceptance from her own community? If so, I sympathize with those feelings. But for her to say there has been no progression is unfair.
Does the Black community need to be educated on what it means to be transgender? Absolutely! That’s where she should start. Ross is on one of the biggest shows on TV. If trans-lives matter to her like she says they do, then attack the problem by continuing to spread knowledge. She has the world's attention right now. Unless someone has direct affiliation with the trans community, then they’re oblivious to the community’s problem. To me, it’s no different than a white person who has never been around Black people.
Please don’t misconstrue this as an attack on anyone; I'd rather unify than divide. With that said, I’m a firm believer that we can agree to disagree and still coexist.