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This resource document was a collaborative effort between people who stand in solidarity with Black trans women and wanted to make a difference, and some of the foremost Black trans leaders in community and culture. It is a breathing document, so we welcome your suggestions on additions or amendments.
Send us your thoughts at: email@example.com
WE CREATED THIS to honor the Black trans lives we have senselessly lost this year: Nina Pop, Monika Diamond, Tony McDade, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, and Riah Milton, and now, young Brayla Stone, at just 17 years old. For more on the most recent deaths of Black trans women, read this Statement on Tragic Deaths of Dominique Fells and Riah Milton from The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), and their statement on the death of Brayla Stone.
To make a donation to a group of Black trans-led organizations:
Split donations page to donate to support Black trans futures
As we were compiling these resources, two news stories broke that perpetuate or shed new light on violence against Black trans women.The first was of the Trump administration finalizing a regulation that will erase protections for trans patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies. While the rule technically doesn’t go into effect yet, it can and will if we don’t flip the Senate and change the Presidency, which will inevitably impact the composition of the justices on the Supreme Court. State violence isn’t just limited to the police: It is systemic transphobia rooted in all branches of our government. For more information on how to act, see Section O.
NEW: NBJC has an action for you to take on behalf of Brayla Stone:
- To help ensure justice for Brayla Stone call Sherwood Police Chief Jim Badwell at 501-835-1425 and demand a complete and public investigation that honors and respects Brayla Stone and the many ways that she showed up in a world that owes her, and other Black trans women and girls so much more.
The second was a new development in the ongoing case of Layleen Polanco, an AfroLatinx trans woman who was found dead in solitary confinement at Rikers’ Island last year. For more on her case, go here. New video shows prison guards laughing and trying to wake her for approximately 90 minutes before calling for help. Just last week, the NYC DOI concluded that staff members at Rikers’ were not criminally responsible for her death. The Anti-Violence has a list of demands for you to take NOW to demand #JusticeForLayleen. They are all here. In brief:
- Contact or tweet at Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) and or contact, call (718-546-1500), tweet at Department of Corrections (@CorrectionNYC) to release publicly the names of and immediately fire correction officers involved in Layleen Polanco’s death in solitary confinement at Rikers http://Island.One Year of #Justice4Layleen
- Contact or tweet at Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor), contact your New York City Council Member, and/or contact or call the Board of Corrections (212-669-7900) to demand that they end solitary confinement in City jails immediately.
- Contact, call or tweet at your state senator (@NYSenDems) and assembly member (@NYSA_Majority) to 1) pass #HALTSolitary Act to restrict solitary confinement’s use in New York State, and 2) stop implementation of 2020 bail reform rollbacks.
THE VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK TRANS WOMEN IS PERPETUATED BY THE STATE AND BY THE SELF. We compiled these actions by consulting The Trans Obituaries Project by Raquel Willis. In 2019, at least 26 trans or gender nonconforming people were fatally shot or killed, prompting the American Medical Association to declare an “epidemic of violence” against Black trans women. 91% of those lost were Black women, 81% were under the age of 30, and 68% lived in the South. 2020 has already seen the deaths of 14 trans or gender nonconforming people. But the violence against Black trans women is not just a conversation about police brutality. It is also one about: sex work, intimate partner violence, economic and housing stability, the prison industrial complex, healthcare, and the immigration system. When trans women are killed, there is also the issue of systemic transphobia within the media, which further compounds the hurt and misinformation about the lives of Black trans women. Finally, Black trans women suffer from the least visibility not just in the media, but in the entirety of the Movement for Black Lives. Their names go unsaid, and Black queer and trans organizers are sometimes chastised for bringing their names and cases to the fore.
Police Violence and Incarceration
Transgender people are routinely over-policed, thanks to outdated legislation that targets trans people, as well as the typical instances of systemic racism that prevail in law enforcement (criminalization of poverty, the over-policing of neighborhoods of color, etc). Nearly one in six transgender Americans and one in two Black trans people has been to prison. Defunding or abolishing the police, then divesting those funds specifically towards the trans community is the only way forward. After abolition, we must focus on decarceration and ending the prison industrial complex. Trans women are often placed wrongfully in solitary confinement “for their own safety,” or they are placed in men’s prisons, where they are 13x more likely to be sexually assaulted than cisgender people in prison.
- For more on abolition: 8 To Abolition
- For more on how to support incarcerated trans folks:
- Providing resources or funds to Black & Pink
- Provide legal resources by donating/volunteering to Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Bail trans people out of jail via National Bail Out Fund.
- Support TGI Justice Project.
- The Anti-Violence Project Demands on behalf of Layleen Polanco
- For more on Layleen’s story, go here.
- Sign a petition demanding justice for Tony McDade, donate to support his family.
- Transgender Law Center has collected policies related to the treatment of incarcerated transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) people from every state prison system in the U.S. These policies address everything from placement, to access to transition-related healthcare and gender-affirming clothing and property, to sexual violence prevention and response, to grievance procedures. Access to these policies can be critical in holding prisons accountable for the ways in which they regularly abuse and neglect the TGNC people in their custody. This spreadsheet is organized so that each state is a row and each type of policy is a column. To find a particular policy, simply locate the cell for the state and type of policy you are interested in and click the link to view and download the policy. Most of the policies are listed by their policy number, but in some cases, we have multiple policies from a state that fall under one policy type: in these cases, click “Folder” and you will be able to access all the relevant policies in one folder. Please note that these policies are accurate to the best of our knowledge as of October 2019. If you have access to additional resources you think would be helpful to add to this spreadsheet, please email Ian Anderson, TLC’s Legal Services Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Donate to BreakOUT, helping LGBTQ+ youth in New Orleans.
- For crisis management and cold case work, visit the Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR).
Visibility in the Movement and Movement Leaders
- Black trans women experience critical levels of intersectional oppression. Even in movements committed to women, Black lives and Trans lives, they are often rendered invisible—even as they have been central to the leadership of all three. And yet, somehow neither movement adequately centers or prioritizes Black trans women, thus leaving them to slip through the cracks. This is a form of violence in and of itself.
- Feminist iconography, advocacy and leadership often revolved around cisgender women, their genitalia, and reproduction.The famous “Pussy Hats” of the Women’s March are a simple example of that which has excluded Trans women, who have always played essential roles in feminist movements. Oftentimes, Pride events are orchestrated without the consultation or advocacy of Black trans women, thus making for events that center cis, white gay men. Making sure these events, boards, organizations, etc. have Black trans people in leadership is critical to advancing a more equitable movement.
- The chants of “Say Her Name!” rarely center or even include Black trans women. Please familiarize yourself with their names. This year, they include:
- Nina Pop
- Donate to her Mental Health Recovery Fund.
- Monika Diamond
- Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells
- Donate to her funeral costs here.
- Riah Milton
- Donate to help Riah’s family here.
- Tony McDade was a Black trans man who was killed by Tallahassee police. Even in conversations about police brutality, he is often left out. Donate to his family and loved ones here.
- A list of the Black trans women we lost in 2019.
- Identify the Black trans women who are community leaders who are not invited to speak at the major rallies or demonstrations. Demand their presence and that they get the mic.
- Support organizations that train and elevate Black trans women to be community leaders.
- SNaP Co
- Kween Culture
- Transgender Cultural District (San Francisco)
- Black Trans Media
- The Okra Project
- Reuniting of African Descendants (R.O.A.D. Project)
- The vast majority (estimated 80%) of corporate Pride donations go to white-led LGBTQ+ organizations. These organizations rarely—if ever—have trans women in leadership, and approximately 0 Black trans women in leadership positions. This level of systemic neglect starts at the top, and we as consumers need to encourage corporations, celebrities, and our peers to donate directly to Black-led LGBTQ+ movements and organizations.
- Support Black-led LGBTQ+ organizations. (Most of the orgs you’ve already seen on this list are, indeed, under this category. To make a bulk donation all at once, go here.)
- For a specific list of Black trans-led and Black trans-serving organizations and initiatives, check out this evolving list.
Economic and Housing Stability
- The criminalization of poverty also contributes to the over-policing and violence faced by transgender people. An estimated 34% of Black and 28% Latinx survey respondents reported a household income of less than $10,000 per year. We need to invest in Black-led LGBTQ+ organizations that work to provide stable housing and job security for trans folks across the country.
- Donate to:
- GLITS, who is currently fundraising to buy a house for recently incarcerated trans folks
- House of GG
- The Transgender District
- Support NYC’s Princess Janae’s Place, New York State's first and only community based housing organization led by, and for, people of trans experience.
- Support The Okra Project for greater food stability.
- Support the Homeless Black Trans Women Fund.
- Support the House of Tulip in New Orleans, LA.
- Make sure that your workplace actively contains resources and recruiting methods for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Half of LGBTQ+ adults live in states where there are no laws banning job discrimination, and we are still waiting on the SCOTUS decision regarding employment discrimination.
- For more, check out Transgender Law Center: Employment.
- Here is a thread of Black trans creatives to hire.
- Multiple trans women have been reported dead while in ICE custody, a problem that has only been exacerbated under the cruel policies of the Trump administration. When a 25-year-old asylum seeker from El Salvador named Johana Medina Léon died in custody last year, FAMILIA was there to fundraise for her family and bring media attention and awareness to the public about her case. According to the Center for American Progress, ICE detains trans women in 17 facilities, and four are in all-male facilities. Elsewhere, they have a “pod” of trans detainees. Trans women were detained more than twice the average length of an immigrant’s detainment.
- Immigration organizations need funding, legal volunteers, and sometimes people to make themselves available for demonstrations.
- Donate to and subscribe to FAMILIA, which is devoted to immigration justice for queer and trans folks:
- Donate and subscribe to El/La Para Trans Latinas.
- For a more localized list of resources in your area, check out this list.
- Transgender Law Center and RAICES also aid in the assistance of trans migrants.
- Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, of TLC, works specifically to support Black migrants in the community.
- Trans Latinx Network
- The TransLatin@ Coalition organizes and advocates for the needs of Trans Latin@s who are immigrants and reside in the U.S.
- For too long, sex workers have been an after-thought or considered a marginal part of the Movement—despite the fact that trans sex workers like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson are largely credited with starting the first Pride. In fact, 10.8% of Trans Equality survey respondents reported having participated in sex work, while an additional 2.3% indicated that they have traded sex for rent or a place to stay. Black respondents had the highest rate of sex trade participation overall. “An overwhelming majority” of sex workers also reported workplace discrimination, and current unemployment rates were “dramatically higher” for those who reported involvement in sex work. Regardless of motive, though, we must work to understand that sex work is work, and sex workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. In order to get there, we must take a page from DecrimNY: work to decriminalize sex trade-related offenses, decarcerate people arrested on sex trade offenses, and destigmatize the sex trade so that workers have access to housing, education, employment, healthcare, and other basic needs.
- Volunteer and Donate to DecrimNY to support their efforts in New York state.
- Donate to GLITS, which is advocating for community, housing, and economic stability for transgender people, particularly sex workers. GLITS provides immediate needs and crisis support to provide round-the-clock urgent care for those in need.
- Stop SESTA/FOSTA (and demand our political candidates repeal it!), which outlawed online communities of sex workers, thus making it even more unsafe for them by forcing many to take their work back to the streets.
- Donate to St. James Infirmary to provide self-defense training for sex workers.
- The New York Transgender Advocacy Group is a trans-led organization that advocates for more inclusive gender-based policies that benefit TGNCNB individuals through building community leaders, educating practitioners, and influencing policy makers.
- Donate to Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project to provide more on-the-ground resources for trans women.
Intimate Partner Violence
- A study by UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law shows that between 31 and 50% of trans people have experienced dating violence at some point in their lives. It is believed that half of 2019’s cases may have been related to intimate partner violence. Much of this comes down directly to the stigmatization of trans women and discrimination against trans people more broadly. This is all exacerbated by laws proposed endlessly by the GOP in America, which continue to portray trans people as predators or disingenuous. It is on each of us in our own communities to show and spread love and acceptance for transgender people.
- You can find out how to do so by supporting your local LGBT Center and getting involved (volunteering or donating).
- Donate to Taja’s Coalition, a Black trans-led organization.
- You can also educate yourself by reading books by Black trans authors (see below for a list).
- And of course, support any LGBTQ+ organizations that offer shelter or refuge for people in need.
- To find a shelter to support near you, go here.
- AVP (Anti-Violence Project) empowers LGBTQ+ and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
- As we continue the fight for universal healthcare—so that healthcare is a human right and not a privilege—we must make sure that we also fight for governmental protections for transition-related surgeries. Many states’ Medicaid programs actually exclude transition-related healthcare. Just this past week (in the middle of a global pandemic), the Trump administration finalized a regulation that will erase protections for trans patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies. The rule is part of his administration’s ongoing efforts to narrow the legal definition of sex discrimination. While the rule technically doesn’t go into effect yet, it can and will if we don’t flip the Senate and change the Presidency, which will inevitably impact the composition of the justices on the Supreme Court.
- Donate to GoFundMe’s by trans women of color who are seeking fundraising for FFS and other transition-related surgeries.
- Here’s a guide to understanding your rights for acquiring healthcare as a trans or GNC person.
- Donate to Trans Buddy Pittsburgh.
- Donate to your local LGBTQ Centers.
- Donate to your local LGBTQ-focused hospitals. Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides sensitive, quality healthcare and related services targeted to New York's LGBTQ+ communities.
- Make a sustained donation to Planned Parenthood, which continues to support gender affirming and affordable care.
- To find out more about how to flip key Senate seats, go to Vote Save America.
- To protect voting rights, go to Fair Fight.
- Black trans women get disproportionately LESS media coverage than cis Black folks. While we want to remain respectful of the media’s efforts to give more thorough attention overall to the Movement for Black Lives, it is on us to hold major institutions accountable for not covering the deaths of Black trans women, thus relegating them to the margins. Additionally, when the media covers the deaths of Black trans women, they often insist on using their “deadname”—the name assigned to them at birth—rather than their chosen name. This is an example of institutionalized transphobia, and there is no reason any pro-LGBTQ+ workforce should be upholding it as a journalistic practice.
- Support and follow the work of Monica Roberts, the leader of this movement, and her blog, TransGriot.
- Support Black Trans Media.
- Follow and elevate the work of Black trans journalists, including Raquel Willis, Serena Sonoma, Tre’vell Anderson, Tiq Milan, Ashlee Marie Preston, Shar Jossell, and Tyler Ford.
- Use the hashtags of names of trans women to bring attention, only sharing media sources that properly elevate the women we’ve lost.
ATTEND THESE ACTIONS:
Global actions, crowdsourced in this reply thread to Raquel Willis
Sunday, June 28: New York | Reclaim Pride for Black Lives Matter
Sunday, June 14, 1pm ET: Brooklyn | Brooklyn Liberation
Sunday, June 14, 11am PT: Los Angeles | All Black Lives Matter March
READ THESE BOOKS:
READ THESE ARTICLES:
FILMS & TV SERIES TO WATCH:
- Happy Birthday, Marsha! (Reina Gossett, Sasha Wortzel) — available to rent here
- Pose — Netflix
- Gun Hill Road — available to rent on YouTube, iTunes
- Tangerine — available to watch on Hulu, iTunes
- A Fantastic Woman — available to watch on YouTube, Amazon Prime
- My House — available to watch on Hulu
- Legendary — available to watch on HBO Max
- Disclosure (Sam Feder) — Netflix starting on June 19th
- Orange is the New Black — Netflix
- Paris is Burning — Available to rent
- MAJOR! (Annalise Ophelian) — available to rent on Vimeo
VIDEOS TO WATCH:
PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO:
MUSICIANS TO LISTEN TO:
MORE RESOURCES FOR TRANS FOLKS:
FOLLOW THESE ORGS, GROUPS AND HASHTAGS:
FOLLOW THE WORK OF BLACK TRANS SCHOLARS
This document was created with the oversight of Janet Mock, Raquel Willis, Nala Toussaint, and support from David Johns. Labor provided in solidarity by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, and Phillip Picardi.
Please feel free to use and share this document widely, and this artwork to help get the word out. Please credit the artist as follows: @lavenderlilacviolet on Instagram; @NymphStory on Twitter.