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Build Presents Civia Tamarkin And Luchina Fisher Discussing Their New Film "Birthright: A War Story"

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Whether it’s Lil Boosie, J Boog or Lil Mama, there are more than a few [random] celebrities who have felt the need to speak on Zaya Wade and her trans identity. They argue that while they have no ill will toward the LGBTQ+ community and even have “gay friends,” they don’t believe Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are making the right decision for their child. They misgender Zaya and claim that she shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions about her identity at this point in her development. They argue that her story is an attempt or campaign to emasculate Black men and even go so far as to sickly speculate about a child’s genitalia.

It’s been disturbing to watch. What perhaps is even more disheartening are the scads of people in the comment section who support their ignorant and ill-informed opinions.

Recently, we had the chance to speak to writer, producer and film director Luchina Fisher. Fisher is at the helm of a new documentary about “Mama Gloria,” a Black trans woman in her 70s.

Fisher is also the mother of a teenage trans daughter. We spoke to her specifically about what people have been saying about Zaya and other trans youth. See what she had to say below.  

MadameNoire: There’s a lot of debate and discussion about how Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are raising their trans daughter Zaya. And a lot of random Black celebrities are coming forward and saying ‘a child shouldn’t make that decision for themselves until they’re x age.’ I feel like there’s so much ignorance about what decisions the children are actually making. I wanted to get your opinion about this as the mother of a trans daughter. What should the conversation be in terms of when kids are able to make decisions for themselves?

 

The conversation should first and foremost be had by the family. All of these people who are chiming in from the outside—what business is it of theirs. Nobody is telling them how to raise their children. And the nerve, really for people to feel like they have some right to pass judgement or have an opinion on how you’re raising your child just because your child is trans is really galling.

So I think first of all, we have to respect that parents are making the best decision based on a myriad of evidence and support that they are getting. Nobody, nobody goes into this lightly. You can’t. And as I said, my journey started when my daughter was 2. That’s a really long time before she made a social transition. Before she said this is who I am. We didn’t tell her this is what we think is going on. And I’m pretty sure, that’s the same case with Dwyane and Gabrielle.

None of these decisions are made lightly. And really, it’s such a very long process that is made with the help of doctors, therapists, sometimes clergy and other family members.

But ultimately, I think for me as a parent, the biggest lesson that I got from the very beginning, is that our children do come into the world often knowing who they are. It’s the world who tries to tell you otherwise. And as Black people, we understand that. We understand that very well that the world is going to try to tell you that you’re not something that you know deep down you are.

So how can we tell LGBTQ people, ‘No, you can’t be that’ when they know deep down who they are? Are we not being as hypocritical?

As a parent learning that lesson very early, sometimes you have to listen to your children. They are trying to tell you something. If you get quiet and you get out of your own expectations of who they should be, you might actually hear them. And you might be there to learn how to be the parent that they need you to be.

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