My message is simple. African culture is humanistic. When I was growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s, during my high school years, we lived on Haight Street (six blocks from Ashbury). My mother was really into drama and she was always in plays. Therefore, there were always actors and actresses at our house rehearsing. In 1970s San Francisco, this meant trans people, African trans people, were usually among the cast members present. My father, as old school as it gets. Born and raised in Louisiana. A tough, take no nonsense postal worker, was always there during these rehearsals. Now, if you sat my father down and asked him if he believed that someone could be transgender, he would probably have looked you dead in the face and said no. Still, what he modeled for me was him treating every person who came to our house with dignity and respect. He cooked for, transported, and regularly interacted with everyone in my mother's group, including our trans friends. And if anyone had insulted any of our people, my father would have been first in line to defend them. Why? Because my father understood that African people are collective in culture, not individualistic. He knew if there were two of us, we have a community. We don't discriminate against anyone. We have experienced far too much oppression to be insensitive to any people's suffering, especially members of our own community.
My point about my father is that our culture is one of acceptance. We don't discriminate and we are not intolerant. This doesn't mean everyone is going to come to a progressive mindset about everything, but we never restrict and treat anyone with anything less than genuine respect, dignity, and caring. So, how and where did we get to this place of some African people being so intolerant? Some of us refusing to acknowledge and respect that our community is diverse. Some of us even sadly seeing nothing wrong with saying that our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers are only welcome if they deny who they are while in the presence of the hetero community. Well, there are many reasons for this happening. European right-wing reactionaries like Franklin Graham (yes, that devil Billy Graham's son) and his thug organization "Samaritan Power" is one of those reasons, but that's another article. For now, the message is I, pledge to call out transphobia and transmisogyny. Every time. I LOVE AND SUPPORT MY AFRICAN TRANS SISTERS. And, hopefully my little message can influence other African men to do the same.