An illustration on “Femme Queens” sent to me anonymously from a sister of mine.
I asked her where she got it [No official source] and she said, “On some page for us girls on Facebook.”
What I love about the illustration is it realness, and that fact that trans women of color are illustrating how others see us and how we in fact see ourselves.
We are many distorted things to many people, but we are who we are to ourselves.
I’m PROUD to be seen by my sisters as an example of “how we really are : )” alongside my sister Isis King.
Just got the new issue of GOOD magazine, in which I’m recognized as part of the GOOD 100 2013, “our list of 100 individuals we should rally behind.”
Says GOOD: “The dazzling array that follows, curated from your submissions, consists of trailblazers and truth-tellers, defenders and disrupters, inventors and inciters, but they all share one basic trait: They are DOers.”
I’m part of the “disrupters” section.
CeCe McDonald, in her new piece called, “Violence Against (Trans) Women Today” in which she discusses street harassment and violence and her being criminilized because she dared to defend herself.
You are so loved, CeCe. Thank you for your leadership.
On May 12, 2012, the New York Times reported on Lorena Escalera’s death in the midst of a fire in Brooklyn apartment. It was a highly problematic and glaringly dehumanizing article that focused on her body, her alleged sex work profession, her sexuality and much more. GLAAD organized a meeting with some editors of the Times - a meeting they only agreed to after being publicly called out for writing another dehumanizing piece on trans and queer youth of color on Christopher Street. But that’s besides the point.
Nearly a year after Lorena’s death, her family, friends, activists and community members have rallied around Lorena, whose death was surrounded by sketchy details, yet was not investigated by NYPD. Those who knew and love Lorena are seeking justice.
Here are a few ways YOU can help. Please complete at least one of these action items in solidarity with the grassroots efforts being organized for beloved Lorena:
1. Write a message about Lorena to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz via:
Twitter: @MartyMarkowitz (suggest hashtags: #LorenaEscalera #TWoC #girlslikeus)
Mail: Brooklyn Borough Hall | 209 Joralemon Street | Brooklyn, New York 11201
I post this message in solidarity with Lorena, with Cemia Acoff, with Brandy Martell, with Paige Clay and with thousands of other trans women of color, whose lives have not warranted those who are charged with “protecting us” to utilize their resources to seek justice.
Video, June 2, 2012: In which I channel my anger to call out the dehumanizing, victim-blaming NYT article about Lorena’s death
Hello, Miss Major! Get into her everything.
Visited the living legend, the Stonewall Riots veteran, the self-proclaimed Glamour Puss, the prison abolitionist, the Executive Director of TGI Justice in her NYC hotel room.
We shared space, talked shoes, discussed our girls, our future, our struggles, her living legacy, and what our collective lives as trans women of color really look like.
If you don’t know her, I’m judging. (Google is your friend).
TW: sex work, anti-LGBTQ violence, drug use, rape
Trans Afrolatina Monica Beverly Hillz talks about her life prior to entering RuPaul’s Drag Race
“I had a lot of friends around me that did [escorting]. To me it was just like, ‘Who wouldn’t want to go out with a guy. He can pay you all kind of money. It’s fierce.’ First it started off with a sugar daddy, then when the sugar daddy gives up then it starts off with a trick then one trick turns into to two tricks. Then, ‘Ohhh I’m going to stop this week.’ And then you’re doing it, and you’re doing it to get all this money to get high. None of this is making sense. Something has got to give…I have a huge then where I don’t really like to talk about it because the more I talk about it I start to relive it again. I just want it to go away. I don’t want to keep thinking about it. I’ve learned from it. There was a point, a time in my life where I didn’t even love myself. I was really in a bad bad place. And I didn’t care what would happen to me. I could care less. I gave up everything. I lost everything. Most importantly I lost myself.”
-Monica Beverly Hillz, sharing the truth behind engaging in survival sex trade/work as a young trans woman of color. Thanks for sharing yourself with us and also offering safety tips to other trans women on “surviving in this world.”
Help kickass trans activist and singer KOKUMO fund her second annual T.G.I.F. (Trans*, Gender Non-Conforming, Intersex Freedom) Pride Rally in Chicago. It’s rare for our movement to support spaces created by trans women of color. Let’s make a change.
Contribute funds here or reach out to T.G.I.F. organizers in Chicago (kokumomedia[AT]gmail[DOT]com) for opportunities to help with organizing or assisting with the 2013 rally.
While reading, I was stunned to see that the news section of the magazine not only covered trans folks and restroom use, but also a story from a 29-year-old trans woman of color named Brandi Ahzionae.
In the one-page profile (on page 15), Brandy opens up about her journey towards womanhood, about having to leave home due to a lack of acceptance of her gender, about “turn[ing] to the streets,” about using drugs and partying as a means to cope and about daring to survive this hostile world by engaging in the sex trade.
“My life shifted when I met a group of fellow tarns sisters who provided love I’d never felt before,” Brandi says. “They made me feel comfortable about fully transitioning.”
Never underestimate the transformative power of sisterhood. We need more spaces dedicated to collective growth, learning and pro-sisterhood intent.
To have this story featured in a legendary black publication, one read by many black households, is a feat. When our stories are told not only in “mainstream press” (which is way far behind) and by the “LGbt mainstream” (which is also failing us and trans and queer folk of color miserably), but in the publications read by communities of color, true acceptance and growth occurs.
We hear often about the violent exiling of trans women of color, we hear about our vulnerability when it comes to HIV/AIDS, homelessness, sex work and sex trade, lack of employment, housing, shelter and education. But what we do not hear often is the stories and the voices of black trans women like Brandi, like Kiara St. James and Tanya Walker and numerous other sisters of color. My voice, Laverne Cox’s voice, Isis King’s voice is not enough.
I applaud you, my dear sister Brandi, for daring to be seen, for sharing your story with all of us, for carrying the torch and legacy of active resistance and survival that trans women of color have long uplifted. I also applaud the editors of Jet for recognizing Brandi’s resilience and brilliance - and embracing trans women as your sisters and daughters too.
Now we must call on the rest of our communities to do this embracing work and ignite change for all of our sisters.