Signal boosting. This is a post-Transgender Day of Remembrance post in which I want to respond to the call to “elevate and support” the work of black trans women who are organizing effectively and creatively against violence in their communities. Who should know better than they do, what to do, and how? What they need from the rest of us is practical support!
So I am sharing this vibrant video from Black Trans Circles, sent to me in a newsletter from the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco. And here is a link to an opinion piece in Essence titled Black Trans Women Are Solving the Epidemic of Violence, written by Raquel Willis (Nov. 20, 2019), founder of Black Trans Circles two years ago.
The series of 2019 Transgender Day of Remembrance articles by Raquel Willis
Out Magazine’s Trans Obituaries Project (Raquel Willis, Out Magazine, Nov. 20, 2019.)
Layleen Cubilette-Polanco Died in the System, but Her Fight Lives On (Raquel Willis, Out Magazine, Nov. 20, 2019).
How We Can End the Violence Against Trans Women of Color (Raquel Willis, Out Magazine, Nov. 20, 2019). “A 13-step
Quote from the article above. I post this excerpt because I want you to read the entire article–it is so important. Read it for the 13-step plan to combat and end the violence:
“…it’s not enough to honor the women we’ve lost with platitudes, social media posts, or thoughts and prayers. Instead, we need the rest of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to make a deep commitment to keeping us alive—specifically by trusting our leadership and our solutions. Here, we’ve identified a 13-step plan to ending the epidemic, crafted, in part, from the expertise of leading figures who do this work daily.”
The Open Letter to HRC from Trans Community Leaders
Also mentioned in Willis’ Essence article, with a link: An Open Letter to HRC from Trans Community Leaders. The letter, dated Oct. 1, 2019 and published in Out Magazine, was signed by numerous trans leaders in a response to an announcement that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was now intending to “stand on the frontline to provide meaningful solutions for the transgender community.” Such cis-saviorism undermines and dismisses the grassroots community leadership that already exists among trans people, including trans people of color. In the past HRC has thrown trans people and trans issues under the bus, and have been otherwise not exactly inclusive of trans and other gender diverse people, and so their announcement is viewed with justifiable suspicion. As the Open Letter states:
“Trans people, and primarily Black trans leaders and trans leaders of color, have been leading the work for trans liberation since long before HRC existed.”
Here is another quote from the Open Letter to the Human Rights Campaign, dated :
“We need more funding. We need more power. We need to be trusted to lead with our own solutions to the oppression that threatens our lives. We do not need a cisgender-led $40 million organization to copy our work and brand it as new.”
I post these links and excerpts because I want you to read the whole thing. Don’t just stop with this blog post, please!
Other Organizations and Initiatives
Willis’ articles include references and links to other organizations and initiatives created by black trans people, particularly trans women. Here are the links from her articles:
CANS Can’t Stand Facebook group (fights the “Crimes Against Nature” Law RS 14:19).
Compton’s Transgender District, San Francisco
DeCrimNY – “A Coalition to Decriminalize, Decarcerate, and Destigmatize the Sex Trades in New York City and State.”
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Los Angeles.
Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (GLITS) – “The goal is to celebrate and encourage the expansion and public awareness of queer fluid expression. Notions of the nature and definition of gender, narrative, agency and expression and representation are examined.”
Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNaPCo), Atlanta – repurposing a jail as a wellness center, and more.
TLC@SONG – Collaboration between the Transgender Law Center and Southerners on New Ground. Download a PDF of the 2019 GrapeVine Report on conditions for trans and gender diverse people in the south from this link.
Monica Roberts’ TransGriot blog
Also noted in a couple of Willis’ articles:
American Medical Association policy announcement: AMA takes action to help prevent anti-transgender violence, June 10, 2019.
As I find more links to the work done by black and other POC trans women, trans men, and other gender diverse people, I will also put them here.
Finally a word about “signal boosting” via this blog. I assemble these references in blog posts so that I can pass a convenient collection of information and links to colleagues and the “general public.” With regard to this blog, I will “signal boost” in these platforms:
AASECT listserve (for members of AASECT)
American Counseling Association’s Sexual Wellness Network (for members of the ACA) and possibly my ACA members blog.
My Twitter account: @AmyMarshSexDr
My own Facebook timeline and Facebook page for my counseling practice.