In a space where they are meant to be safe, surrounded by family members who are meant to make them feel loved and supported, transgender people of color instead find disdain, disrespect, and in some unfortunate cases, violence. Cases such as those listed in the studies and others observed in the real world, or in our own lives, convey the uncertainties faced by LGBTQ+ adults. Trans-POC, having their gender identity and, if applicable, their sexual identity dismissed, are left to deal with the dangers faced by overlapping minority stressors. Instead of seeing these overlapping stressors as resilience to further forms of discrimination, we must recognize intersectionality as a phenomenon. Then, we must ask ourselves why a person should have to experience multiple nodes of discrimination in order to be “less sensitized” to the next one.
The corruption of gender as an object of colonialism created the climate needed for gender-based violence and transphobia to flourish. In rejection of these expectations and shifting the responsibility from the individual, appreciation of the different gender identities and forms of expression will begin to replace censorship. Undoing the color line, separating the double conscience, recognizing the gendering of bodies from early development, and understanding that by perpetuating these gender roles and expectations we push away trans individuals are all steps we must take to broaden our perspective on gender and its relationship with all of us.
During my investigation, I was surprised to see how little existing literature there was on transgender identities, much less of transgender people of color. Most studies or theoretical frameworks I came across were limited to the cisgender binary, making it difficult to construct an argument that was not simply a statement of my own experiences. I want to also acknowledge that although the sociological theories employed were not related to gender identity, it is their relevance to the hierarchical and racial structures that have fueled the colonization of gender and the consequential effects of restricting gender expression that made them crucial to the conversation. Interest and future dialogue are needed to spark further investigation and provide this topic with the resources and time it deserves. This conversation is not only beneficial to trans people who are afflicted but to many others whose self-expression was sacrificed by the heteropatriarchy. By deconstructing our implicit biases and decolonizing our perceptions of gender, we may become ever closer to reaching self-actualization and fully realizing our social potential.