Billings takes the issue a step further: “We need to have the right conversation… about how we’re raising our little boys, because we need to remember, who’s doing the killing? These are men, all of them. There is no such thing — not one case — where a female has murdered a female transgender human being. Not one. We need to look at the fact that most of these humans that are murdered are trans females of color.”
Billings adds that people, “still believe that being transgender is a choice, a fetish, or a custom. We still believe that’s true. No matter how much medical science there is to prove otherwise, we still believe that’s true.”
She thinks that the way Americans gender children is part of the problem.
“We teach our little boys: blue is for boys, violence is for boys, aggression is for boys, power is for boys. Softness is for girls, ease is for girls, and smaller spaces are for girls… Say this, sound like this, behave like that — and thus we treat other human beings that way.”
Billings argues that the inevitable extension is discounting those who are differently gendered as though “this human being isn’t a human being anyway. All we know is that we like to have sex with this human and that makes you a homo. Kill it. And that’s what happens. It doesn’t happen in the reverse. Women don’t learn that. That’s what men learn. What are we teaching our little boys and how are we parenting?”
Together, Billings and Lysette continue to rise hand-in-hand as soul sisters and trailblazers for a future generation — one that doesn’t promote such binary thinking. At least that’s the goal.
“Life is not black and white. Neither is gender. Neither is drag. Neither is a lot of things,” Lysette says. “I think that sometimes labels are not all-encompassing. And so sometimes you have to use a sentence or two to explain who and what you are or what you believe in. And I think that we need to stay away from the boxes... It’s good to be able to identify with the movement, to identify with something. But 20 years from now, do I want to be labeled a transgender actress? I’m an actress. I’m a woman. I happen to be trans.”
Looking at where she’s come from, Billings can’t help but smile and surrender to her own story. “I am the contributing writer to my own story and my only job is to listen and just keep writing. That’s all I know. Everything else is up for grabs.”