Black Trans Lives Matter
Black Trans Lives Matter. In collaboration with local St. Louis transgender rights activist Gabrielle Inés, we have created this BTLM tee to shine a light on the importance of the black transgender community's visibility, rights, inclusion and safety.
"How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?" - Marsha P Johnson
100% of all profits from the sales of this tee will be donated to the Metro Trans Umbrella Group of St. Louis - "a grassroots nonprofit organization that is diligently working to create a more inclusive and supportive community here in St. Louis."
Gabrielle speaks on the matter further in the below piece:
"On May 27th, 2020, two days after a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, an officer in Tallahassee, Florida, killed Tony McDade, a Black trans man. He was 38yrs old. According to HRC, McDade was the 12th Trans or gender nonconforming person to be killed in the US this year. That number is very likely an undercount. because shortly after, the known total rose to 14, following the killings of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, in Philadelphia, and Riah Milton, 25, in Liberty Township, Ohio. Both Fells and Milton were Black trans women, a group that is particularly vulnerable to police brutality and other forms of violence. Not to mention the many more deaths that followed theirs and the ones before that would more often then not, go unaccounted for or discussed.
The issue with and surrounding many of these unfortunate deaths is the fact that we don’t speak on or celebrate Trans people until they have been murdered. We can’t only talk about Trans people when they’re dying, especially Black Trans Women. It leaves too much room for a lack of acknowledgment, a lack of protection, a lack of understanding and simply, the lack of truly caring for another human being whilst that person is living. Why do we operate in such a way? Which leads to the question of what are we actively and intentionally doing to create spaces that not only keep Black Trans people safe, but also uplift them in ways that unfortunately, many don’t get to experience or see in their lifetime. We have seen the erasure of Black Trans women from many Pride celebrations, when in fact, Pride was a riot started and carried on the backs of courageous Black Trans Women. But even the LGBTQ community seems to forget that and us. Why aren’t we committing ourselves to providing visibility for Black Trans Women in order to spread awareness and education in hopes of receiving everything that our lives may lack.
Still, and unfortunately, recent coverage and visibility clearly speaks to a longer-term complaint of Black Trans activists like myself and our allies - that Black Trans lives are commonly erased within power structures and ecosystems across society, from the broader Black Lives Matter movement to the news media. As the recent protests have taken place, the narrative about the violence against Black Trans people too often gets left behind. The reality is though, is that centering those that are most vulnerable is critically important in movement work, because a specific community’s distinct pain can too often be minimized when lumped in with others.
In a study conducted by GLAAD, more than half of our population stated they did not know anyone personally who was Trans. But what we also know is that someone who personally knows a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is much more likely to be accepting. Which then translates to possibly standing up for and fighting for known person. That is why for me, it is imperative that I utilize my Black Trans voice as well as cultivate the very necessary relationships with various brands, organizations, officials, people, etc to bring onboard as many people to assist in the fight for Black Trans Lives. To continue to educate and spread awareness in hopes of creating safe and uplifting spaces for my Black Trans siblings.
We are not just people who die, we are so much more than that and we will fight for that to be known, honored and respected. As the Trans Day of Remembrance mantra (written by B. Parker) states: “Give us our roses while we’re still here.”