The fight for black, trans, queer liberation are not separate fights, but so interconnected. If you're fighting for trans and queer liberation, black liberation should also be on your agenda. If you're fighting for black liberation, trans liberation should also be part of your work!
One week ago on February 27th, this nation’s seventh transgender sibling, Ciara McElveen, was murdered in New Orleans. Just two days before that, on February 25th, our transgender sister, Chyna Gibson, was also murdered in New Orleans. Chyna was a beautiful member of the Sacramento community. Her death hit this community hard, especially because the murders of our transgender sisters is a repetitive, heart wrenching story. What is at the intersections of these murders is transmisogyny and racism, particularly anti-blackness.
What is transmisogyny?
Transmisogyny combines the words transphobia (or, rather anti-transness) and misogyny. You may have heard the word misogyny before, which to simply put it means the hatred of women and/or femininity. We live in a world that devalues femininity every day, every hour, every minute. This hatred exists in our culture, in our interactions with one another, in our institutions, in media, in every corner of our lives. Transmisogyny then is the hatred of femininity and/or womanhood particularly geared towards trans women or gender nonconforming feminine folks. The most targeted for transmisogyny is trans women of color (people who were assigned male at birth and identify as women).
What is intersections?
This term was coined by critical race theorist, Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe overlapping identities, such as gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, race, ethnicity, class, ability, etc. These intersecting identities cannot be viewed as "separate" identities, because they exist simultaneously and impact one's experience with oppression and/or privilege. As an example, a black trans woman lives at the intersections lives at the intersections of racism, sexism, and transphobia, and that all these identities and experiences exist together, all at once, and influence one another. This is why we see vastly trans women of color being murdered, and not white trans women. Yes, white trans women face transphobia and sexism; however, white trans women live at the intersections of whiteness, which we know benefits in white supremacy culture.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, transgender people of color are three times as likely as the U.S. population to be living in poverty. An astonishing 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide at some point in their life, compared to 4.6% in the U.S. population. And in regards to violence, nearly 46% of respondents had been verbally harassed in the past year, 9% were physically attacked in the past year, and 47% were sexually assaulted in the past year.
After these heinous murders, often times the victims are misgendered in news articles, by police, and in official reports, completely erasing their identities and the level of hate behind these deaths. Almost always, the murderers are not located, their "cases" by police are not solved or investigated, and there are never answers. Time and time again, in every corner of the world, to the families and to the communities, the message is clear that black transgender lives do not matter.
Trans black liberation is about….
Gender affirming healthcare, including having access to healthcare!
Being able to EXIST as your most authentic self.
Having your name and pronouns respected in all aspects of life.
Identity documents that match who you are.
Access to housing, income, love, compassion, respect, safety.
Getting the police out of trans and queer spaces, including Pride. Abolishing police altogether.
Getting ICE out of your cities! Ending deportations.
Ending murders of our trans sisters.
Mesha Caldwell, 41, who was shot to death in Mississippi on January 4, 2017. #SayHerName
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28, who was found dead in her Sioux Falls, South Dakota home on January 6, 2017.
JoJo Striker, 23, who was found dead in a garage in Toledo, OH on February 8, 2017. Initial reports misgendered JoJo and did not report her death as a trans killing. #SayHerName
Jaquarrius Holland (Brown), 18, who was shot in the head in Monroe, Louisiana on February 19, 2017. #SayHerName
KeKe Collier, 24, who was shot multiple times in Chicago, IL on February 21, 2017. #SayHerName
Chyna Gibson, 33, who was shot 10 times at 7:30pm in New Orleans, LA on February 25, 2017. #SayHerName
Ciara McElveen, 21, who was stabbed to death in New Orleans, LA, on February 27th, 2017 at 8:30am. #SayHerName
Speaking of hate crimes, California currently has a piece of legislation, AB2, being heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee next week on March 14th at 9am. AB2 would add "peace officers" to the list of protected identities of hate crimes. BLM Sacramento is organizing action around AB 2. Call and email the Public Safety Committee! Here are the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1291398307616841/