In the wake of over 20 trans women losing their lives last year, we are full of not only grief and reverence, but of resilience and commitment to protect black trans lives. These terrible happenings are a result of the many factors that place black trans women in so much risk just by leaving our homes, if we even have homes to begin with. Black trans women have consistently resisted against anti-blackness, patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and white supremacy by being a model of unapologetic truth. The pervasiveness of these systems of domination negatively affect access to basic needs–even down to our personal relationships.
The unemployment rate of trans people is twice the rate of the general population.This not only includes general workplaces but in specialized LGBT based organizations as well– who often market themselves as inclusive yet their practices aren’t aligned with their expressed values. In addition, The executives and staff of these organizations very often fail to reflect those of which they say they serve, yet profit off the trauma of black trans women. Even when these institutions hire trans people, they are often tokenized to facilitate the facade of inclusivity, without directly investing in the sustainability and viability of trans people in the community, effectively keeping the status quo.
Alternatively, despite mass public consumerism and curiosity surrounding Trans bodies, Black Trans women, specifically, are two times more likely to experience violence and intimidation than the general population. This no doubt expresses itself in the relationships trans women have with their intimate partners. Sustainable relationships should center respect, trust, and safety – ironically paradoxed by the fact that over 20 Trans women have been murdered in 2015 with most at the hands of their partners – The same men targeted by the criminal justice system and gunned down by the police. The of the gravity of this epidemic against the lives of Black Trans women clearly articulates the lack of solidarity and urgency of the broader community. It is imperative that we protect black trans women at all costs. Sometimes from the very people who claim to love us.
It is time that we honor and invest in the work, the art, the lives of trans women who are still here. The apologies are empty when these organizations, institutions, and abusers scream to love and uplift us while having our blood on their hands.
We will not stand for any form of violence by these organizations that scream trans allyship and inclusivity for funding while reinforcing the action of undermining, underpaying black trans women.
We will not stand for the abusers of black trans women. especially those who claim to love us, profiting, and building platforms off of the pain of black trans women in public sphere, while abusing them in private.
We will not stand for ANYONE who is complicit in the violence against Black Trans Women.
We are done asking for your consideration, your funding, or your positions. We are taking the space that is rightfully ours.
Ahya Simone, Trans Sistas of Color Project
Bre Campbell, Trans Sistas of Color Project
Aaryn Lang, Black Trans Lives Matter
Rae Nelson, Black Trans Lives Matter
L’lerret Jazelle Ailith, TransgenderHQ
LaSaia Wade, TNTJ Project