K. Ryan Ziegler on Black male feminism

Content notes/Trigger warning: street harassment, gender/gender identity discrimination, gender dysphoria, racialized misogyny

I love this post by Dr. K. Ryan Ziegler (@fakerapper): How my past as a black woman informs my black male feminist perspective today (TW: racism, misogyny, domestic violence). It’s a really thoughtful piece on how racism and misogyny affect relationships between black women and black men and about how his beliefs about the responsibility he has to black women as a black male feminist have been shaped by his experience of misogyny as a transgender man:

For some transmen, their female past conjures up memories of pain and humiliation, and rightfully so. These feelings are not absent from my journey but I’ve come to embrace my past as a beneficial asset to my practice of a progressive black masculinity.

Primarily, I am very careful with my interactions with women in order to not be perceived as a physical threat. I am always thoughtful of my newfound “bulk” due to hormones and the ways in which my masculine body moves and occupies space. While walking on the streets, I maintain my distance from women. I avoid eye contact unless we are engaging in mutual conversation and even then, I do not stare. The memory of harassment as a woman doesn’t allow me to.

In professional situations, I am always aware of my male privilege. I do not hog the intellectual space and make it a point to deeply value the input of my female collaborators. My goal is not to be the dominant voice of reason but to attempt to exist as an equal colleague. Furthermore, in my work I find it very important to centralize the experiences of women to supplement the work that they are doing for themselves.

Ziegler, a Ph.D. in African American Studies, is also doing great work chronicling stories of trans people of color, particularly in his film STILL BLACK: a portrait of black transmen. The clip below of his interview with Kylar Broadus, a black trans man who just a few weeks ago became the first openly transgender person to ever testify before Congress, is really worth checking out.

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