Time to Be Floored by Shea Diamond’s Stunning New Video for Trans and Self-Empowerment Anthem “I Am Her”

The first time I saw Shea Diamond’s (pronounced like She-A Diamond) hard-hitting video for her amazing song “I Am Her,” I was in love. It’s a total banger that forces you to move your body. The video is shot in gorgeous black and white and, like the song itself, it celebrates what it’s like being a trans woman out in society, even if sometimes it’s hard and ugly. This video and song were by far one of my favorites of the year. The song has a killer and infectious beat and Diamond’s vocals over it are powerful and rich, they feel like a warm summer day. Shea Diamond is a superstar in the making; once you get a taste you won’t be able to forget her.

Now, I’m feeling so beyond honored and blessed that I get to premiere this new live version of “I Am Her.” Diamond’s powerful anthem becomes even more powerful when it’s stripped down like this. In this black and white video we see Diamond singing a capella into a mic, alone in a room, standing in front of a blown up image of trans revolutionary icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera marching and proudly being themselves. When Diamond sings “There’s an outcast in everybody’s life and I am her,” you can feel all of her trans woman of color ancestors singing along and looking tall as they do it.

Diamond told me that she released this new version “in honor of the forgotten founding mothers of the Stonewall movement Marsha P. Johnson aAnd Sylvia Rivera. Without these pioneers there would no LGBT/TGNC liberation. They are the real inspiration behind this song! It was their fearlessness and power that paved the way.”

If you’ve slept on Diamond so far, she’s a Black trans woman singer/songwriter born in Little Rock, Arkansas, who now lives in New York City. She ran away from home at 14, and a few years later she was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in a men’s prison. According to her manager, Shea says that “I Am Her” “means that no matter who the world treats me, no matter if I’m rejected, accepted, denied or misunderstood, I will continue to live out my truth as Shea Diamond! It was in losing the world that I found myself & the will to keep living as the woman I am proud to be.”

2017 is going to be hard as hell, especially for women, disabled people, queer people, trans people and people of color, and especially for people who are more than one of those things. “I Am Her,” and Shea Diamond’s live video for it are going to be things that I return to over and over again to find pride in the fact that I am beautiful, I am strong, I am powerful and I am her.

Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 574 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. I refuse to take seriously anyone who believes “biological sex is a social construct”. Goodbye objectivity.. everything is a social construct, including your life. This trans-whatever believes we don’t exist, we are simply imaginations floating about. I wonder how people like this are giving platforms. I thought to be on this level required some sort of merit, or basic knowledge of reality.
    Your attempt at going the philosophical route to denying any dissenting voice regarding the trans-phenomenon is below anything philosophical. Luckily those of us who have dealt with philosophy know the facade you were spewing. Social Constructivism, as a philosophical point is itself based on objective reality and doesn’t cross the line you did to claim everything is a social construction. At the bottom of every social construct is something that exists. In case of your trans-mantra, it stops at biology, which of course you don’t understand as evidenced by your long article on why “biology’ is a social construct with no objective ground. If you knew your own social constructivism well, you would also realise that, although what green, red and orange lights MEAN in traffic lights is socially defined, the existence of a light emitting electrical device is something even the greatest of all social constructivists acknowledge. BUT HEY you are the modern philosopher and we should just go with what you say just because you socially self-identify as female. GOOD BYE SCIENCE.

    • YOU KNOW WHAT – NO. I’m usually content with lurking & not getting into “internet fights” but such voluntary misunderstanding of the situation and what’s at stake is infuriating enough.

      First of all, disclaimer: I’m cis. I cannot pretend to have the same experience of gender as that of my trans friends. So I’m answering this not from a position of experience but from a position of “I’ve come to collect transphobic jerks”.

      “Luckily those of us who have dealt with philosophy know the facade you were spewing.” FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU AND YOUR CONDESCENSION.

      I’ve dealt with philosophy, and guess what? I’ve also dealt with science. So I can definitely tell you this with authority: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Biology *is* a social construct. Wanna know why? Because science, like everything, is a discourse. It’s a way of talking about reality – a way of *representing* it, and thus partly of *interpreting it*. Just think about ALL the ways science’s been used (and still is) in history to justify racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc.

      When it comes to gender, things get immensely complicated. On the biological level, there’s not *one* thing that ‘determines’ ‘gender.’ Be it hormones, chromosomes, genitalia – all of these things do not ‘determine’ anything. They are *interpreted* by doctors, scientists, and the public to *mean* certain things. For example, in the Western world, someone having a vagina is often interpreted as being female.

      Except this is still an *interpretation*, based on – guess what? – A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER.

      Not everything can be explained by social constructivism, but
      1/ in this case, gender & ‘biological sex’ can be
      2/ “objectivity” is largely an illusion, most often wielded as proof of truth by groups in power so as to maintain their power. Go read f*****g Foucault.
      3/ saying everything is a social construct does not mean “oh your whole life is an illusion! we’re all social constructs!” If you actually knew ANYTHING about philosophy, then perhaps you wouldn’t resort to false equivalencies and illogical conclusions. Saying that our lives are built on social constructs means acknowledging that the way we think and interact with the world around us is not innate, but rather largely influenced by that same world. This doesn’t deny the reality of our lives; instead, it brings into focus what constructs our lives.

      If you feel uncomfortable with trans identities, and more generally if you don’t like seeing a lot of concepts that used to be defined in a stable way before, being reconceptualized as social constructs, that’s on you, buddy. As the world is changing, we’re led to reevaluate the way we thought about the world, then and now.

      You know what the scientific method is based on? Make an hypothesis, test it, collect data. If the data fits the hypothesis, cool. If it doesn’t, you don’t change the freaking data. You change the hypothesis.

      If *you* can’t deal with trans identities being integrated into scientific discourse and leading to gender being seen as the social construct it is, if you can’t deal with revising your world view based on new experiences and data, then you have no authority in either science or philosophy.

      I’m out.

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