Saturday, May 21, 2011

Racism, Co-Racism and why I hate the word prejudice

By now most people in the anti-oppression blogiverse have heard about the Satoshi Kanazawa Study that black women are "objectively" the least physically attractive of all human beings.

I feel little need to tread ground other better blogfolk have already trod before me (with much more precision than I ever could).  Bottomline, Kanazawa's "study" was execrable, and Psychology Today's editors behaved in a wildly irresponsible manner for publishing it. 

Renee, at the brilliant and engaging blog Womanist Musings, wrote a great post about Psychology Today's lack of accountability in posting the so-called study.  While I agreed wholeheartedly with her take, I differed with her on whether or not Kanazawa's actions could be considered racist, actions which she referred to as "prejudicial."

Here was our exchange: 


Renee I disagree with not labeling Kanazawa and his actions as racist. True, only White people are uniquely positioned to plug in to a system of White Supremacy and fully benefit from that, but I would think anyone who actively supports and furthers the aims of White Supremacy , including its specific hierachy of racialized bodies (black ones at the bottom), is indeed being racist regardless of their own actual race. If you actively assist the dominant body in its dominance then you are accountabile for your own part in helping maintain the dominant group's supremacy.


If the definition of racism is prejudice plus power then a person of colour cannot be racist because they do not have the power to actualize whatever prejudicial feelings they may have on a systemic level. This separation is absolutely necessary because without it we have no real understanding of the way that Whiteness operates. This however does negate responsibility on the part of poc who choose to further White supremacy through prejudicial actions. I specifically chose not to address Satoshi Kanazawa claims because I believe that they are based on junk science.

Without an understanding of power it is easy to become distracted and believe that the actions of POC like Satoshi Kanazawa have the same effect as racism from White people. Even though Satoshi Kanazawa as an individual is responsible, it is the institution of Whiteness that created the bigotry upon which his conclusions were based. Ultimately racism begins and ends with Whiteness.
I will consider this. But ultimately I have a big problem wrapping my head around the idea that there can be such a thing as benefiting at the expense of another without being fully accountable for one's own part in upholding the very system that created the original benefit. Or that one' holding up of that system can be classified as less harmful if one also happens to be a target of that same system.

However I definitely agree that white supremacist prejudce does not and cannot have the same effect coming from a POC as it does from a white person. I will make every effort to consider what youre saying because I respect your opinion and work.

And I've been thinking about this ever since.  The conclusions I've come to (so far) lead me to believe that anti-racist language (and anti-oppression language in general) is in need of more explicit terminology to deal with the phenomenon of marginalized individuals/groups who actively support their own marginalization and the marginalization of others.
We already have the concept of internalized racism, of course  But that doesn't adequately explain why a POC of one ethnicity would go out of their way to uphold racist and white supremacist stereotypes  about another group.  We also have the term Kyriarchy, which I find handy in alot of anti-oppression discourse, but is so widely applicable to just about every single person as to be diluted in its emotional impact when articulating the power dynamics of supremacist structures.
So far the only term I can think of that, for me, fully describes the harmful impact of Kanazawa's Study and the Supremacist agenda behind it is Co-Racism.  Or perhaps Co-dependent Racism.  or even Co-signed Racism.

(As far as I know I made these up.  I'm not married to them, just to the idea that we need more words to discuss the spectrum of how racism can influence a POC's actions and beliefs. I did google the terms first and I didn't find anything.  I also looked up definitions of codependency and found alot of applicability to race, in terms of specific POC relationships with Whiteness).
Describing as "prejudicial" Kanazawa's blatant advocacy of clearly white supremacist/black subordinant stereotypes  simply because he is a MOC advocating these stereotypes  just doesn't cut it for me.  "Prejudicial" abstracts the offense.   Calling what he did mere prejudice potentially softens the graphic reality that kind of toxic thinking does to black women as a whole.
Co-Racism could perhaps describe what's going on more clearly without linguistically removing focus from the racist root of the phenomenon in the first place.  
As  I told Renee, I definitely DO agree that the impact of a POC's racial prejudice and a White person's racial prejudice are NOT equivalent.    A white person's upholding of racial prejudice functions entirely to their own (perceived) social benefit and uplift in a white supremacist super-structure.    A POC can never fully benefit from doing the same thing in the same context.
But that isn't to say there IS no (perceived) social benefit for a POC to do so.  Particularly when that POC does not belong to the lowest racial caste in the overall racial super-structure (hello again, Kyriarchy).
Furthermore there has always been the phenomenon of "selling out"... sucking up to those with the most power to cause you harm is just one of many common  strategies for survival across civilizations.  But survival at the deliberate expense of another MUST be viewed critically in a civilized society.  It must be called out loudly, unambiguously, and in no uncertain terms.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Renee's post in any way minimizes Kanazawa's Fail and the potential damage his study could do and already has done.  Just the opposite in fact, as she always fiercely call these kinds of things out in her blog.   I just don't believe that "prejudicial" gives enough weight as a descriptor of his actions and motives in this case.

Then again I've always hated the word prejudice.  It's never been powerful enough for my tastes.  And when you take it to "prejudicial" it's damn near poetic sounding.  To me, being prejudiced against a person sounds almost benign.  Saying something is racist snaps your attention to focus.  There really isn't any dithering about the seriousness of that charge.

Which leads me to address one common area of conceptual conflict that I'd like to clear up right now:

Some people (usually White People) like to say that Black People are 'more racist than anybody else.   You'll hear many a troll say this during discussions of Racism.  What they actually mean is that they think Black people are anti-white, unfairly mean to and critical of white people, and that they must think they are oh so special, deserving recognition just because they are Black.

In this way, White people have cleverly defused and re-written the definition of Racism over the last couple of generations or so to mean prejudice against any racial group for any reason.  This is a way of controlling the discourse around White Supremacy, protecting it  by rendering it linguistically inarticulable.

Let me be clear.   THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BLACK RACIST- that is to say, a black person who exists with the institutional backing to see that their own needs and preferences as a member of the Black Race are met before everyone else's.  

Because THAT is what Racism is.  It's a system of economic, cultural, and social privileging of a dominant race (WHITE people folks, helloooo) over the other designated "lesser" races.   The concept of Race was invented for the express purpose of legitimizing the exploits of European Imperialists, recasting their systematic conquest of lands and indigenous peoples around the globe as part of  the so-called natural order of things.   The Race Concept was a necessary coping mechanism, a rationalization for the morally indefensible. 

Now some 500 years later we have convinced ourselves that Race is a biological reality and that phenotypic similarities across vast ethnic groups indicate an essential truth.  Globally, we are all still struggling with the psychic impact of the White Supremacy delusion called Racism.

A POC attempting to protect himself in a racist environment by adopting racist attitudes himself and then actively using  his environment's racist institutions to distance himself from other marginalized people is entirely different than a White Person attempting to exploit marginalized people in order to uplift  himself. True.
But it's not just some de-fanged imitation of Racism Proper for a POC to publish a study that "proves" his personal belief that Black Women are the least attractive of all human beings on the planet.  It may not be Racist, if that means prejudice backed by institutional power on one's own behalf, but it's at the very least CO-RACIST

For those of you who prefer analogies with your discussions of violent social policy think of it this way:    Your army  may have somehow hoarded all the firearms while  my army  is left only with sticks to fight back with, but if  I'm always using my stick to trip my troopmate so that you can get a better shot at her (cuz.... just between you and me I couldn't stand her anyway...but shhhhh)  I may as well be fighting on your team, no?

ETA:  Please note, I will not be publishing any comments to debate or discuss the findings of Kanazawa's study, etc.  My final opinion on the subject is that it's co-racist drivel fueled by anti-black stereotypes.  If however you wish to discuss the legitimacy of  co-racism as a concept, or prejudice vs racism and the language we commonly  use to deconstruct racism, please feel free to comment here.  

Jane Laplain

Saturday, May 14, 2011

woman shame

I think there's a misconception about trans women that we don't experience body shame as women, except in the sense that we fail to "measure up" to cissexual female phenotypes.   Whatever body shame we do have, the thinking goes, surely revolves around the fact that we simply aren't "woman enough" physically and so we spend every waking moment trying to obtain that "woman enough" body. Piece by piece.

It's practically unheard of that a trans woman could feel anything other than gratitude for the ways in which she actually "meets or exceeds" expectations for what women are "supposed" to look like.

In other words, we can't possibly experience plain old misogyny, sexist oppression, and the inevitable internalized shame issues that come with having a readably feminine body.

Well, we can. 

We do.

I do.

As far as "phenotypes" go, I have a fairly curvy figure.  I'm told this has everything to do with genetics.  Or  perhaps I was young enough for my body to  respond emphatically to estrogen therapy when I first started.  Or perhaps my body just had its own plans from the start.    People think that trans women exist in a perpetual state of transition, we are somehow never quite finished "acquiring" our physical womanhood, and we're always ALWAYS trying to obtain ever more feminine features, by any means necessary.  So obviously if I have a curvy body, it must be some kind of trophy for me, right?  Some kind of collector's item on the mantle of my um...gender 'hobby.'  My body couldn't possibly be real in the way a cis woman's body is real.. I couldn't possibly suffer the same consequences a cis woman with a similar body type might?  My life inside this body couldn't possibly be a real inner life.  Right?

Trans women do tend to spend alot of time fretting about the way their bodies measure up at the start of transition.  But what girl isn't preoccupied with the way her body is beginning to change into something that will eventually mark  her, forevermore, as --"Woman"--?
Because I'm trans, most people assume I've had plastic surgery to look the way I do.  False.  The only cosmetic surgery I've ever had was the one between my legs (which, as I have written about earlier, was a cosmetic and functional failure).  The rest of me... is all me.  Yes really.

I dont say this to make myself out to be superior to anyone who has had plastic surgery.  I hate it when I hear trans women bragging about how little surgery they need to pass, etc.  It's all transphobic bullshit.   Full disclosure tho, and this is very hard for me to admit, I most certainly did once think of myself as "more real" and "better" than other trans women who had had lots of cosmetic surgery in order to pass.  My body was "mostly real" theirs was "mostly constructed."  (There's a little Janice G. Raymond in us all, it would seem?)

This was during a time when my changing body was still young and callow, tho my mind was pre0colonized with cissexist standards of femaleness; In my desperate bid for survival as a woman on these terms, living in a world that clearly wanted me to fail at being a woman, I was more than willing to apply these standards to other trans girls like myself to see how I "ranked."  When I ranked "higher" I congratulated myself (if only inwardly) and tsk tsked at the misfortune of the poor girl being compared to me.   When I ranked "lower" I blamed myself and vowed to work harder on my appearance, to "improve" my presentation, my "realness."

Admitting your own privilege and fail is.. fucking hard.  I'm ashamed of the lateral transphobic oppression of others I engaged in over my lifetime.  I apologize with everything in me.  This is a post for another day.

Back to being in my body.  My body that for over two decades  has both flattered and embarrassed me with it overt femininity.  This body that came from a long proud line of full-figured, full bosomed, full buttocked black and brown women who all at different times in their lives, have worn their bodies bravely, resentfully, deliberately, cautiously. 

I wanted what I saw as that same strength, that mettle. I was eager to join the ranks of womanhood and become indestructible in the face of certain man-caused doom.  I couldn't understand why anyone would dream of discouraging me, let alone my own mother.  I didn't understand why she seemed to resent her womanhood.    As my body changed, I was soon rewarded with a too-fullness of thighs that begged apologies from my mama's lips: "It's a shame you inherited my legs. I'm sorry."   A growing bottom heaviness that furrowed her brow: "You're getting hip-py, miss piggy... better lay off the sweets."   

I was  even prepared for the ocasional bruises on my ass from being slapped and pinched by strange men in public, just ike my Auntie Lisa had all thru her teens.  I was prepared for every woman worry I had witnessed on my mother's face, my aunties face, my grandmothers' faces as they moved guardedly thru the world in their own unmistakeably brown and feminine bodies.

I was unprepared for that silent inner world of woman shame I couldn't yet know or see. The way my own body would one day leave me feeling sexually harassed just to look at myself, because it was.. just too much with the daaaayum! and the pow! sometimes.   

I was unprepared for the relentless self-consciousness about having curves, at having a "figure" that could be commented on at all....   utterly unprepared for the way "slut" would echo in my head everytime I got dressed in a mirror and I had the gall to admire me..."slut slut slut!!  who do you think you are??"

Soon, just the fact that my breasts were the size they were and my butt the size it was made me feel ...pornographic. Like I had turned into some kind of deliberate sex object. I felt silly, like somebody would think I had listened to a Sir Mix Alot album one day and thought, hey what a great idea!   I didn't think anybody could possibly take me seriously looking like this.  Because the only thing a body like this was any good for was looking at, right?

And of course feeling confused, because in some respects, I had deliberately turned myself into an object.  Not for the sake of male attention, but because I didn't know how else to survive in a world dominated by men who seemed to have one of two reactions to me:  abject hatred or confused lust.   Since the former too often resulted in my ass getting kicked or threatened,  I felt that the latter at least gave me a little bit of a chance to protect myself.  Maybe.  But oh what a price I paid for that protection. The price of having a body that so loudly called attention to itself.  Attention I both craved, simply to know I existed, and feared, knowing what it would bring.  

But this body shame went much deeper than mere intent could take me.  It was a shame that seemed to pre-exist me altogether.  An embarrassment in my physical predicament that came to greet me instead of my own image in the mirror. After a lifetime of avoiding mirrors because I didn't like the body I saw there...  I learned to avoid mirrors... all over again.  I had acclimated to the white noise of woman shame that surrounded me.

The shame worked its way deeper in to my psyche, and I began to slowly believe I was "asking for it" just because of the way I looked.  And of course, too many men responded to my body in kind, and I let them.  The attention they paid me left me feeling both flattered and utterly mortified at the same time.

Even today I still cringe when I look down at my 38G's (by my last count) and think "Gross!"  Then I stop and scold myself, but it's too late.  Somehow I always feel like I did something wrong, like I went too far, growing boobs this big...  As if I'd had any control over how my body would turn out. 

But that really isn't the point.. the point is being made to feel bad about your body no matter what; because you're a woman, your body is but an absurd distraction from the business of being ... what?  Human?   You feel a bit chastised, like you should have picked more wisely.. a body that was more discreet, more modest, more...   gender neutral?  Whatever it is you should have done, look at you now! You should feel ashamed of yourself, young lady. 

And so you do.

So.  If you haven't gathered already, I struggle with hella body issues. Not all of them trans related, or disability related, or size related. Some of them are just  female related  believe it or not.   And sometimes it's all of the above.

For instance I have major ambivalence with my wanting and possibly needing breast reduction one day.  The part of me that is exhuasted from the shoulder, neck and back pain from dragging around this damn shelf just wants it all over with, especially since I deal with chronic pain elsewhere.  Then the  part of me that fought tooth and nail to be able to have breasts at all thinks I'm a fool and should just count my blessings.   The part of me that is of this woman-hating, transphobic world thinks that it's all my own damn fault...  that that's what I get for being a woman... Cuz if you didn't want the womanheat you should have stayed out of the kitchen.

And then there's the part of me that just longs to feel comfortable in my own body... someday.  It  wants to look like what I think of myself looking like whenever I picture me in my mind.  This part of me  is always shocked everytime I look in the mirror, because yes indeed I look nothing like I think I do.   Oh sure i no longer look like the wrong damn gender... but after all these years you'd think I'd bear more than just a passing resemblance to the woman I am in my mind... yanno?

And then there is the society that feels the need to dogpile on, just because I'm a woman, and/or just because I have this body.   Patriarchy privileges men with the freedom to dissect and evaluate my body  piece by piece, perpetually appraising its/my worth as a potential receptacle for their unsolicited interest.  It's an outrage to go from feeling trapped in my body to trapped BY my body.  An outrage to feel, after a lifetime, that even after working so hard to get as far away from the "wrong body" as possible, my body still leaves me open to endless commentary, hateful critique and even physical attack from MEN i don't know and don't care to.

Then again, such is life as a woman in a society that hates women.  Yes, I know, I am in alot of company.  Bring me a choir and I'll preach to it, Sister.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Contempt For Trans Men, Much?


This effed up article is proof of why a reframing of mainstream perspectives on transsexuality as a phenomenon is CRUCIAL for the survival of trans people as a community.

Note their cissexist framework from the jump:   the characterization of "transmen" as biological females and cis women/girls as  "typical girls" , how young CAFAB children who are vocal about not being girls are presented as potentially having a condition in which they are unable to be socialized properly, like some form of autism maybe, (Disableist!).

Note the correlation of young CAFAB trans kids apparently higher incidences of autistic traits being routed into causation for their very certainty that they are indeed not girls: 

“If such girls do believe they have a boy’s mind in a girl’s body, their higher than average number of autistic traits may also mean they hold their beliefs very strongly, and pursue them to the logical conclusion: opting for sex reassignment surgery in adulthood.”

Because, yanno something's gotta be responsible for the crazy idea that these "atypical girls" feel so sure they aren't girls.  They are just confused autistic spectrum females who find that they socialize better with boys, who tend to be less socially advanced to begin with.  That's it!!  (Way to undermine the agency of autistic spec persons too, by the way!!)

More and more I'm becoming militant about the use of Cis when referring to the dominant majority, i.e. those who feel comfortable in the way their bodies were first assigned a gender (which was based on their genitals) and agree either explicitly (yes, my genitals make me a man/woman and that's how it should be!)  or implicitly (thru lack of questioning how they were assigned) to take on the societal implications of that assignment.

Without that framework it is very hard to see the insidiousness of studies like these for what it is.  It starts with the premise that questioning one's gender assignment and/or asserting another gender identity than the one you were given at birth is somehow the result of a neurological disorder.  And that disorder doesn't necessarily point to the gendered hardwiring of the brain so much as that brain's inability to learn social roles properly.

Autistic Spectrum "Disorders" therefore might explain the problematic notion of why any assigned female would grow up to "believe" she  could be anything else but a female (as defined by her reproductive bits).

Before I learned the word cis, stuff like this article would bug me but I was stymied as to how to explain exactly why it was so fucked up.  Cis makes visible that which was invisible and unquestioned.  It also helps me see the Disableism that would otherwise have been a minor issue for me.  But no... because I can understand things thru a trans vs cis lens, I can see the use of disableism to reinforce cissexism for what it is.

I'm so grossed out that a trans woman is apparently on board with this disableist and cissexist study.  But trans people certainly aren't immune to buying into the paradigms of the dominant classes. 

Anyway.. UGH. 

It's stuff like this that also makes me realize that maybe I really must have a much stronger trans identity than I thought...  Because whenever me or my people are under attack from the medical gatekeepers like this, I come out swinging!  >:|

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You need to read this

This blog just changed my life today, I think.

This article at the wonderful Leaving Evidence, explains the concept of access intimacy .

I'm a bit shaken up because when I apply the concept to my own life, I clearly see how lacking my life is in ALL forms of intimacy, not just this one.  But access intimacy is something I've certainly experienced in many ways myself and never had a name for.  And I feel its a huge area of concern in my closest relationships today.

I am ashamed of the ways I fail to give the kind of access intimacy that author Mia describes.  I also am ashamed of even needing this kind of intimacy myself and the hard-heartedness I've come to have about ever having it in my life....  the ability to truly physically drop my guard with another human being and trust them not to harm me or shame me or make some kind of mistake that leaves me feeling ashamed in my own body on some level.  

I am ashamed to say I don't think I've ever done this in my life, not even once. Not even close.

I am ashamed of the way I've been acting out for the last 24 hours or so, because I am in so much pain, physically.  I am ashamed of the anger I feel that I should be able to say "I am in so much pain" and have that mean something in the way of "let me make it better."  I am ashamed that there is no way to make it better and there would be no point of anyone even saying that, and even if they did, I'm ashamed of the further rage I'd feel at their asking me because, alas, there is nothing anybody can do to make it go better any time soon, make the pain go away NOW, TODAY, TOMORROW, SOON, not maybe someday, not even me.

I am ashamed of the hostility I have towards anything that diverts my attention from the needs I can meet:  physical needs of having food, water, shelter.  Survival.   I am ashamed at the way I'm coming to see how completely I've invested in survival as a paradigm, rather than in  connection and sharing with others.

I am ashamed that I don't even know if I truly long for connection with others or not or if I just feel guilty for having people in my life who DO long for that and who I know can't get it from me but I continue to let them pine for the day I finally do give in... someday. 

I am ashamed.. but I know that this shame is only the first part.  It is the beginning of a journey I can choose to take so long as I push thru the shame to whatever it is I'm really afraid of feeling on the other side.

I am ashamed that as meaningful and as much of a breakthru this concept for access intimacy has already been for me.... I know that I'm probably not going to change the way I do things for a while, if at all.  If only because I don't see how.... and if it means taking a chance on doing things differently than the way I know for certain keeps me alive... I just don't take that chance.
But maybe.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting Real: Being Trans vs Having Trans Experiences

Lately I've been re-evaluating my concepts of "trans identity." 

I just read a post on the excellent blog Critique Of Popular Reason, about the use of trans and cis as adjectives rather than prefixes, which has sort of guilted me into cleaning up my use of the terms and being more meaningful in what I intend to convey when I use them. 

I admit I've been haphazard in writing  trans woman, transwoman, cis man, cis-man  and so on. I've always realized in the back of my mind that each way of writing trans or cis represents a slightly different understanding of the terms, but I didn't think it a big deal.  Well, I do now, so the inconsistency stops today.

Here is what I've come to realize:  As much as I talk about myself being a trans woman,  I don't honestly think of my being trans as an "identity"... so much as a description of my personal history. 

I do not experience being trans in the same way I experience being black, for instance.   For me, being black is very much an identity experience based on shared cultural experiences, shared language, and shared history having been born and raised in the United States among other black people.  I am black not just because I am readable as black, not just because I was "assigned" to be black by larger society based upon my readability as black, and not just because that is how I am expected to identify my race on government documents and other demographic tracking forms.   I am also black because my mama is black, because my family is black, because I am descended from the African Diaspora, and largely, perhaps ultimately, because I was "raised" black and because I am recognizable to other black people as black. 

I do not feel quite the same way about being trans.  For me, at least for right now, I am trans only because I was born into a society based on a truly shitty premise:  that one's reproductive organs predict and define the way in which you will experience yourself, that your genitals predict and define who and what you are, who and what you must grow up to be.  I am trans because I was born into society that refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that for many many people there is no direct correlation between their reproductive organs and the gendered bodies and the identities in which they find their most valid form of self expression.

To put  it more simply... Society does not allow for being born with a penis and NOT feeling like that has anything to do with anything... other than having been born with a penis.  That existing with a penis between your legs does not MAKE you feel like, think like, act like or identify as male...  even when that same society makes every effort to force you to do exactly that,with its armada of rewards and punishments.  (Of course the same is true of being born with a vagina and not feeling that necessarily connected to one's being a woman). 

Following this point of view, If I am to accept being trans as my identity then I must accept an identity which is based upon society imposing upon me its definition of me, externally, an identity with seemingly no other defining criteria than this particular experience of imposition.   For me, an identity has to be based on much more than being in the same crappy boat as a lot of other people.  I could define being black that way if I wanted... but I do not experience being black that way.  For me, being black is a much fuller and more complex experience than a mere description of my racial phenotype and cultural history.   I feel the same way about being a woman, as well.  There is actually much more to my being a woman than other people's perception of me and treatment of me as a woman. Or even a black woman.  

But for being trans.. at this stage of my self-awareness journey anyways,  it feels like something that is entirely about other people's perception of me as trans, a mere description of my life trajectory  having been assigned to be one gender but I vetoed and invalidated that assignment in favor of my own contrary self-knowledge and need.

I'm sure there is a much fuller experience of trans than what I list above.  Certainly there is a unifying theme of the (apparently) uncommon drive to fly in the face of society's explicit demands for conformity in favor of one's own self-knowing.  Time and again, I have experienced firsthand  that instant bond of recognition and empathy between persons which is born of people living the same oppression.  Especially, when it comes to being trans.  I have definitely experienced community among my fellow trans people...  so why do I feel so keenly that while being trans identifies my life experiences, it is not my identity?

Is it due to internalized transphobia of some sort?   I know as I read this thru and come back to add this paragraph, what I'm saying sounds an awful lot like similar protestations I've heard:   "Being gay doesn't define meeee, I'm just someone who happens to experience homosexual attractions..."  etc.   No that is not what I mean at all, I hope.

What I think I mean is that ... so MUCH of my life, even to this day,  actually revolves around accomodating the social consequences of my being trans.... but is mere oppression enough reason to take it on as an identity?

Personally, I feel I experience MUCH more blatant oppression around my trans status than I do with race. As far as life challenges go, being trans has been many times more difficult than being black and I probably think about it way more than I do race or any other zone of marginalization I live within.   But is that due to my having a more multi-dimensional understanding of  my blackness (identity, culture)  than I do my transness (burden, stigma)?  Or is it because I am loathe to acknowledge areas of privilege in my other identities (do I not experience being black as terribly oppressive  simply because I am relatively privileged as far as my blackness goes, e.g. being light skinned, being middle-class, being from the U.S. etc...?)  and wish only to attach the grand title of "identity" to areas  in my life I feel I can be more "proud" of?

 Is it a lack of self-awareness or lack of  appreciation for the complexity and positive reward of trans experience?

I'm not sure.. but these are questions that consume me on the daily.  I am determined to sort this all out.