The fifth black transwoman has been killed this year. Her name was Chyna Gibson. She was visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
How do I know this? I keep up with the killing of my trans sisters. I have no choice. However, I’ve notice that the community at large has no interest in trans existence. Black trans women are the most vulnerable people of the queer community, and it is time folks take a stand to support and defend them.
I offer five ways for folks to support this community, with an emphasis on black trans women.
1. Start by educating yourself on trans identities. Look into intersectionality and different types of epistemologies (ways of knowing) Look into the cultural differences between black trans women and other trans women. Understanding that there are other identities that fall under the trans umbrella and they too, need protection.
2. Create space for black trans folks to feel safe. Build community with trans women and be willing to support them in any way possible. ANY. WAY. POSSIBLE.
3. Stop expecting trans women to educate you on their lives and who they are. It’s not their jobs to educate anyone. It is not their job to educate their oppressor. Folks in power have resources. Google is free. There are articles and texts all over the internets. Find them. Read them.
4. Ask black trans women what they need of you! Stop assuming you know. Stop assuming that you have the tools to help the trans community. Ask.
5. And the last one. This is the most important one! Give. Donate. If you have cis-het privilege, donate to trans collectives, trans authors, trans support spaces, trans spaces. Donate and share the links. If you are cis and queer, gay, lesbian or any other identity donate.
Understandably, this may new to folks. But we all have to start somewhere based on our level of awareness. Incorporate your friends, family and other circles into protecting black trans women.
Remember: we cannot get free without them.
Tyrell Cooper is a black gender non-conforming queer person (pronouns they/them/their) from Virginia. They have spent the last five years splitting time between academia and activism, with ach space being crucial to the development and shape of their personal and political views.
Tyrell has done workshops around gender, sexuality, and race relations as well as academic conferences dealing with the same topics. Currently, they are working on a Women Studies degree at Old Dominion University and managing a website, BlackGNCfree.