I kept debating about whether or not I should post this cuz of how depressing it is, but I think I should. Basically, if I could give one piece of advice to young Trans girls of color it would be “Don’t trust anybody”. Not your friends, not any nonprofit, not the ~~radical~~ QPOC collective that does slam poetry every Thursday night, nobody.
Put yourself first and keep your guard up; be selfish. And if any queer tells you this is wrong or bad or not revolutionary tell them to fuck themselves. If these same cis people can make sloppy stencils saying “Queer Existence is Queer Resistance” they should have the capacity to understand that being a TWOC is basically just coming up against challenge after challenge. I say “should” cuz so often they don’t display this capacity.
If you feel you should, or need to, do community work don’t volunteer too often and definitely don’t put your heart and soul into it (or, like me, your self-worth). These people are more likely to only use you for a grant at best, and actively work against you at worst. If you’re unlucky enough to work at a nonprofit remember that it’s just another job, it’s just another cog in capitalism. Don’t burn yourself out for them, don’t work overtime. Do what you need to do and get out. And honestly? If you can, look for another job. I know it’s really hard to find any kind of job, and even more so if you’re out and transitioning, but working for a nonprofit is precarious at best, doesn’t really help your resume, and pays terribly. I say this all from experience. The worst part is that if you’re working for a nonprofit and you think you can challenge people a bit on their politics, you’ll probably get pulled aside and told that this job is obviously not the right fit for you. Get a paycheck and get out.
I worried about selling out, I dedicated my all free time to organizing and nonprofits and collectives, to the point that my grades suffered and now my undergrad GPA is too low for most grad schools. And of course, I burned myself out.
You’re not the representative for all TWOC. I can understand wanting and trying to be that, the impulse to educate people, I did a lot of that. But it will wear you down, and people will only keep demanding more from you.
Unfortunately, you should even be careful which TWOC you trust. Some will just use you for articles, will steal your work, will call you out to make themselves “the good one”. Be careful.
And last, but maybe most importantly, don’t trust trans men. Don’t. You might think that you all have something in common cuz of your transition, but you don’t. And if they’re in charge of a group, that’s not gonna be a safe group for you. If you’re just starting out your transition they’ll hit on you, take you shopping as an excuse to check you, and they’ll manipulate you. Again, this is from experience.
I know this seems paranoid and Kafkaesque, but you need to trust me, these things will happen and you need to be on the look out. You can ask almost any of the TWOC on here if this is true, and they’ll tell you it is, even if they all disagree politically. We’ve all shared this experience, and a lot of us end up isolating ourselves as protection. I don’t want to see that happen to you. So many of you are so optimistic, so excited for the future, I don’t want you to be disappointed and disillusioned.
Take care of yourself. Guard your heart. Move slowly.
Good luck. <3