I was born in 1956 right here in Baltimore, so I guess that makes me very young! Yes I am the youngest of twins, she was about five minutes older than me. Growing up we were very close and that bond remains today we go shopping and everything. My sister is very accepting which actually makes me very nervous at times. The funny part is I remember while growing up I used to unconsciously hold my hand with a bent wrist. She would get really upset, saying, “That irks me!” My sister had a teacher in the fourth grade who was killed and I inquired why would someone do this to such a nice man. My mother said, “You don’t know about ‘’those kind of people.” So I was informed early on that gay and transgender people are not accepted and their lives were often taken because they were out in the open about who they were.
“God does not make mistakes. God allows struggle to see how we will come out of them.” This belief is what keeps Mr. Walker moving forward as he continually learns to accept himself as a transgender person. While sitting with Mr. Walker it was not easy to detect the countless life experiences on his face. His deep, dark, flawless skin highlighted with a smile that illuminated the room complimented by the small framed smart glasses that cannot possibly convey the wisdom amassed over the years, Mr. Walker revisited poignant moments that have defined his life.
One night mid or late 70s I’m sleeping in my bed and it’s about 3 a.m. and the phone rings and it’s this kid. This was in the days when every telephone was personally installed by a Ma Bell representative and you could never turn the damn things off.
I remember like it was yesterday, the day she was born. When I saw her pretty little face I knew that my life had taken on a new meaning. I was in law school, newly married, and a proud father. Those days seem to haunt me, on days like this. Days when the seasons are in between winter and spring, the extra hour of light on the never-ending clock shines through, exposing my holes. Holes created by year of pain. Pain only a parent knows when they lose a child. My only child. My baby girl.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. R. A. Walker, an African-American Transgender man born and raised in Baltimore City. Born in 1962, I asked if he remembered the Civil Rights movement. Immediately his head reared back, smirking and assuredly told me, “Yes I do!” “They took that lady’s handbag!” he recounted. See, right across the street from my church was a white church and the next thing I knew a man came into our church alerting us to ‘shut down the church, go home, Martin Luther King been shot!’ We rushed home to be met to my community in turmoil.
REACHING OUT TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
ADVERTISE IN BALTIMORE OUTLOUD WITH PRIDE!
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