I Ain’t Your Model Minority

And furthermore, I don’t intend to be.

A quick note on the word ‘Ain’t.’  My mother came from a solid, low-income, working-class, inner-city (New Haven) background.  And while she spoke well enough for the substandard education endemic to poor neighborhoods all over the U.S., she would occasionally pull out the odd ‘ain’t.’  When she used it, the tone implied a certain amount of sass and attitude, and it is in this spirit that I write.

I mean, I pass, generally, which is to say most people don’t notice me.  But no-one would ever call me pretty.  I may not always have my makeup right.  Some days, I might not wear any makeup at all.  I might not always dress appropriately – I’m still learning, I have bigger (mental health) issues to worry about, and sometimes, I don’t even care if I’m wrong.  I am starting to get an attitude problem.

I ain’t your model minority.

My boundaries are routinely ignored and disrespected in public, and I no longer have the energy to take it gracefully.  Sometimes, quite publicly and loudly, I just may respond with questions about your private anatomy, just to see if your squirming will make you see how invasive you are to me.  If I’m in a mood, I might drop an f-bomb before I have a chance to censor it.  And with the constant abuse from ignorant people, I’m in a mood a lot lately.

I ain’t your model minority.

I swear.  I drink occasionally.  I smoke marijuana regularly.  I’ve given up on trying to fit in, I’ve given up on expecting decency and respect, oh, anywhere I go.  I’ve given up on defending my existence to everyone who thinks they know more about me than I do.  I’ve developed an attitude problem.

I ain’t your model minority.  

My attitude?  I have the outrageous attitude that I shouldn’t be put on defensive everywhere I go.  I have the attitude that I should be able to expect more of people than not being killed by them.  I have the attitude that my voice is equal with all other voices, that my competency and worth did not disappear with my transition.  I have the attitude problem that says I am as good as anyone, maybe even better than most, since I don’t do to others what is commonly done to me and my trans and non-binary siblings.  I have the attitude that it shouldn’t be up to us to constantly accommodate the world’s bigotry, that we have the inalienable right to show up, stand up and speak up just as we are, and if anyone has a problem with that, it’s their problem.

I haven’t worked in over two years, and I’ve given up trying.  Dealing with everybody else’s ignorance isn’t worth the effort, and it takes enough energy from me that I have little left in me to breathe, never mind work.  I definitely have an attitude problem.

I ain’t your model minority.

Sometimes I rage against the injustice, literally rage at the unfairness, at the constant expectation of little but fear, anger and pain every time I leave my house.  Sometimes, helpful statements implying that my anger is the problem only make me angrier, more depressed, darker, darker, darker.

I ain’t your model minority.  I won’t even try.

The standards are too high to meet, anyway, and the goalposts of acceptance fade further into the distance the closer we get.  I will never be perfect enough, pretty enough, never meet the level of acceptability of most people.  I’m tired of playing a rigged game.

I ain’t your model minority.

So, I’m sorry if I make you uncomfortable with my existence.  So, if you’re uncomfortable with my existence, suck it up.  I got no reason to answer to your hate, your ignorance, your self-righteous superiority.  You don’t even deserve a reply.

Either you see someone’s humanity, or you merely calculate how much society guarantees your right to put us down, any of us, by race, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual minority, ablism, agism, etc, etc, etc.  Either you accept a person’s wholeness and self-worth, or you don’t.  Either you accept that minorities can be just as human, just as imperfect, just as capable of making mistakes – and learning from them – as the ‘master’ patriarch, or you don’t.

I ain’t your model minority.  I am not here to meet your expectations or to make you happy.  I am simply here.

I’m a tranny with a ‘tude, and I make no apologies, and I am happy to let anyone know it who gets in my way.

I ain’t your model minority.

I did not come to beg for crumbs at your feet.  I came to let you know I am here, we are here, and we have no reason to settle for anything less than full equality, and we deserve it, oh, we deserve it.  

I ain’t your model minority.  

I fight for justice and equality for all, and that makes me so much more.


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CAM (she/her)

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