Where Are We?

Calling for the Representation of MoC Lesbians and Trans Men

BY SHARRON FINCHER

The more I become involved in the community the more I notice something is missing. Not

totally missing, but the representation of MoC lesbians is lacking. Masculine of Center (MoC) is a term, coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project, that recognizes the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer/womyn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale.

This project includes trans men that I also rarely see and this is concerning to me. I personally know many MoC lesbians as well as trans men who are great individuals with amazing ideas that could contribute to the many discussions that are often held within the LGBT community, but I feel as if those perspectives are missing.

I am a MoC lesbian and I have become very active and visible not only in the LGBT community but within the community as a whole. I feel as if all issues are important and just because something doesn't directly affect me during a particular time doesn't mean that it won't in the future or affect someone I may care about. I must admit that I am a grassroots type of activist so there have been many opportunities for me to meet and interact with different types of people.

I meet many feminine lesbians and bisexual women. I meet many trans women and I also meet and interact with many gay and bisexual men along with allies. I appreciate all of the people who I have crossed paths with but I have noticed that I don't often see members of the LGBT community in leadership positions that are similar to me.

It would make me feel good to see more people who are similar to me representing various

organizations and speaking on different panels. I would enjoy working with other MoC lesbians and trans men to host conferences here in the Detroit area. I would enjoy having discussions that pertain to our demographic of the LGBT population but where are we? Why are we not more visible?

This is not to bash anyone but to express a genuine concern that voices and perspectives are being excluded from the many conversations that are resulting in the advancement of our community. I do not believe that anyone is purposely not including us in the conversations but I do believe that at times we may not be including ourselves.

When I say "in the community," I mean in positions of leadership, but why aren't more MoC lesbians and trans men getting involved? I facilitate the Woman 2 Woman group at LGBT Detroit which meets the third Friday of every month. The meetings are usually filled with feminine lesbians and bisexual women. Occasionally, there will be an MoC lesbian other than myself in attendance. Not only do I notice this within the group I facilitate but I also notice this in other settings that are not club related.

I spoke with Greg Green, Supreme President of Alpha Omega Kappa Fraternity, Inc., a non collegiate fraternity for trans men. He shares the concerns that I have. Greg agreed that we must become more visible within the community. Greg works with South Carolina Equality where he is a voice for trans men. Greg feels that he is a voice for the trans community but not the only voice that should be heard when he attends functions to speak on the behalf of trans men. Often times discussions surrounding health and safety needs more representation among other topics of discussion that require more trans men to be present. He too would like to see more men like himself being heard and taking on leadership roles.

There may be more of us behind the scenes and all the work we are doing is appreciated but we need to be more visible in the forefront. With everything that is happening locally and nationally it would make more sense for us to be more vocal and present so that we can speak and be heard from our own perspectives and add to the conversations. This is vital because with all of the progress and changes taking place it is very important that our input is needed, not just for ourselves but for those who will come after us.

Fighting for progress and change is not an easy task but nonetheless it is an important task. As I mentioned before I know that we have some amazing MoC lesbians and trans men who have great ideas to add to the many conversations that are being had. I am asking for more participation so that those who are coming after us have a path to follow. If you don't know how to get involved look up different organizations within your area to work with or partner with someone who shares in the ideas that you have and create your own projects. Whatever your passion is please just be visible.

Sharron Fincher is the Program Facilitator at LGBT Detroit. Connect with her at 313-397-2127 or email sharronfincher@lgbtdetroit.org. Learn more about the Woman 2 Woman group online http://www.facebook.com/Lgbtdetroitwoman2woman/.
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