I attended this weekend’s March for Black Trans Lives, a powerful space where an estimated 15,000 people showed up to support the call to end violence and harm against trans, gender non-confirming, and non-binary Black and Brown folks. It was the first time in weeks that I was honest about how I’ve been affected by the rampant murders, attacks, and police brutality on my community. A friend who I hadn’t seen in months due to the pandemic asked how I was doing and I said “terrible. Everything feels awful. But we’ll be ok.” I stopped pretending I was fine, that the trauma we face by watching the news, walking down the street, having cops occupying every (non-white) space in the city, doesn’t impact me greatly. As a Black trans masculine person, I’ve been more alert and vigilant than ever lately, worried about how cops and others will see me, especially in a mask, as a threat. Worried about being an immunocompromised person during mobilizations. Worried about my comrades and those close to me in community who remain isolated at home or behind bars. But I maintain hope. Hope that these uprisings show that our people are not willing to go back, return to a world where the few with power and money control the lives of the many without.
Those with power are running scared. Last week, the federal government released new guidance that attempts to allow transgender people to be discriminated against when accessing healthcare. This was yet another ridiculous attempt at chipping away at the progress we’ve made, similar to the failed 2018 Health and Human Services proposed guidance to define sex in a way that would have erased TGNC people. Thanks to the tireless work of organizers, we are still protected from healthcare discrimination in New York and are able to access gender-affirming care. But the government’s message still remains - they view trans people as disposable, especially trans folks of color. The government sanctions the deaths of TGNC people, like Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Riah Milton who were lost last week.
As I'm writing this, there's more news of hope. Police departments in some cities are already conceding to decrease their budgets or disband altogether, while more and more people are joining the conversation on abolition. Our country's highest court has noticed the seas changing and stood in solidarity to affirm that trans people should not have to face discrimination just for being our authentic selves. When raised together, the voices of the people work. We must continue to resist, continue to ensure that being Black or trans in America is not a death sentence, continue to build spaces where TGNC folks have access to healthcare, housing, and can have our basic needs met. If you agree, sign our Brick by Brick pledge to help our campaign push local electeds to do better.
Usually around this time, ALP members and staff would be organizing for our annual Trans Day of Action, a response to the corporatization and white/cis-washing of Pride. Acknowledging the continuing effects of multiple pandemics (COVID, systemic racism, and transphobic violence) on our community, we have decided to shift direction this year. In TDOA's spirit of healing and protest, we'll be holding Community Care Day on Monday, June 22 and coordinating with allies from Bayan, Sige, CAAAV, BYP100, and Nodutdol to facilitate a Community Safety Training on Tuesday, June 23. On Friday, June 26, we'll be hosting a roundtable discussion for TGNC leaders to uplift accessibility, class struggles, local organizing strategies, and other issues we'll navigate on the road to liberation. Stay tuned for more details soon!
Sending care and resilience,