TW: transmisogyny, racism, violence directed at camab trans people of color
There is a place in this world full of horror, untranslatable. Here, in the midst of violence inconceivable, we struggle. Would you envy us, if you knew?
As trans women and camab trans people of color, we inhabit a…
Learn it, and learn it well - from the brilliant minds behind a new space called Tranny Power which is ”a Take-Shit-From-No-One TWOC (trans women/femmes/genderescents of color) blog.”
And yes, this blog is a reclamation of a word that still stings many women - so please if you’re not a trans woman don’t go around shouting “Tranny” as your own.
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.”
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.
This little seen documentary (sacrilege that there’s only 7,321 views!) is a testament to a legend, someone who has left an indelible mark on those she touched, entertained, loved, gave to, received from, crashed with, said hello to, babysat and fought for.
Marsha P. Johnson, how you inspire me everyday to step even further into who I am and find that slice of freedom we all deserve. Thank you for always coming from a place of compassion, kindness, love, and yes glitter and flowers.
I had the pleasure of being on a panel called “Race & Gender in the 21st Century” at last month’s “Facing Race” conference by the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com. In it, I added my two cents on the intersections of race and gender, specifically issues and advances for trans women of color.
The Center for Social Inclusion’s Maya Wiley led the conversation with myself, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, race scholar Michael Omi and the Albany Law School’s Christian Sundquist.
I’m a woman. I’m black. I’m trans. And I’m alive. That’s a radical idea if you
really think about it because trans women of color - specifically black and
brown bodies - are active agents in our own survival despite unbearable
statistics, lack of resources, dehumanizing media stories and exiling from many
And this notion of survival and resistance isn’t new.
We’ve always been survivors (I bow to Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera as I write this). For me, personally and politically, there’s no separating my womanness, my blackness, my transness from my me-ness.
I am a trans woman of color who is writing, speaking, loving, fighting, smiling, living and who honestly has no choice but to be exactly who I am and use the blessings I have been given to shed light on the struggles and triumphs of my community.
To be of service and to be fully me makes me proud.
I discuss the power of telling our own stories and the urgent need to (re)frame the way trans women, specifically those of color, are portrayed in media. This conversation was had in anticipation of November’s Facing Race conference, where I’m speaking on a panel about the intersections of gender and race in the 21st century.