Unlearning Racism Roundup 25 – Black Trans Lives Matter


Before we forget, here’s our website of past newsletters, here’s a link to subscribe to our Patreon, here’s an anonymous question bank for anyone who wants to keep their questions private, here’s a fund tracker that breaks down how we spend our money, and here’s the link to sign up to receive these newsletters if someone forwarded them to you.  

Hi friends,

We forgot to share our speaker synopsis from Professor Jonathan Beecher Field’s conversation with us + Repeal the Heritage Act on in Wednesday’s newsletter! As a reminder, you can watch the whole thing by subscribing to our Patreon, where we donate all our funds to our speakers’ work or the causes they support (this month’s went to FairFight, Stacey Abrams’ effort to register voters in GA!).

We wanted to send a quick message to acknowledge Transgender Day of Remembrance heading into the weekend. Per GLAAD, Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. We know there have been at least 37 trans or gender nonconforming folks who have been violently killed this past year, most of whom were Black or Brown.“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — in sometimes the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.” – Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance
We know some of our readers may not yet have trans friends or neighbors that they know and love up close yet. And, we know that because some of us don’t yet have friends or neighbors out as trans, there will be readers who see this as “one more political newsletter.” It’s not. It’s (still) just about lending space to a safer, more just world. It’s (still) just about caring for others. However, if you are having the “here we go, they’re being political again” or “I feel uncomfortable with this, I thought this newsletter was just about racism” inclinations, we urge you to explore that discomfort and commit to unpacking it. 

You can do that. We believe in your ability to reach inside yourself and identify something that has emerged as a prejudice (whether by way of unfamiliarity, perceived religious belief, or your own feelings of insecurity in your gender). We believe that you have the capacity to care about people you don’t yet relate to, that you may have been told to dislike, or that trigger an insecurity about what your own gender (and the roles you’ve been asked to fulfill in that gender) might mean for you. If some of that bias happens to be toward people who are transgender, this weekend is a great time to start learning more. You can start here:

* READ: Young Trans Youth Know Who They Are – ”From interviews with trans people, “one of the most consistent themes is that at some early point, sometimes as early as age 3 to 5, there’s this feeling that the individual is part of another gender group,” Tate says. When told that they’re part of their assigned gender, “they’ll say, ‘No, that’s not right. That doesn’t fit me.’ They have self-knowledge that’s private and that they’re trying to communicate.””
* LISTENHow to be a Girl – a mom and her young trans daughter explain parenting, how their daughter knew she was trans from as young as 2 years old, and the importance of having influences who they can relate to.
* READThe Death of Vivek Oji – a novel (we don’t recommend enough of these!!) about a family as they learn to love their gender nonconforming child and sibling. Critics describe it as a story of loss and transcendence.
* WATCHDisclosure – streamable on Netflix. Unpacks the ways the media we consume has shaped so many of our shared anxieties and biases about gender. An all trans cast, an all trans production team, produced by Laverne Cox. So much to love.  


We are not trying to trauma porn this situation. However, we want to make clear just how dire it is that we step up for our trans neighbors, particularly our Black and Brown trans neighbors. 
* Nearly half of Black trans people and 30% of Latino trans people report being denied equal treatment as their cisgender counterparts (Trans Equality)
* Nearly half of Black trans people and 30% of Latino trans people report being verbally or physically attacked because of being transgender in the past year. (Trans Equality)
* Transgender women of color were more likely than any other demographic to report being physically attacked in the past year. (Trans Equality)
* Black and Brown transgender people are the least likely to be searched for as missing person if reported (Kyle Broadus, Trans People of Color Coalition)
* One in five transgender people has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Trans people and LGBQ+ identifying people make up an estimated 40% of the national unhoused population.
* The total number of murdered trans people in the first 7 months of 2020 eclipsed the total for the year before. (Trans Equality)

Point being: anti-trans violence is real and it is killing people. Allowing people to live their lives without stigma or shame is totally free! Learning more is totally free! Caring about others who you don’t yet relate to is totally free! You have enough room in your heart to care about multiple things at once. You can do this. 

Respect people’s pronouns when they tell you what they are. This is a small, important change for you that shows a deep respect for someone else. You would be hurt and offended if someone repeatedly called you by a pronoun that didn’t fit (if anyone referred to Emily with he/him pronouns, it would hurt!). When someone shares their pronouns with you, respect them, acknowledge their dignity in knowing themselves better than you will ever know them, and use that pronoun. And if you slip up, correct yourself! It’s okay to make mistakes, it is not okay to disrespect someone’s humanity by referring to them in a way that they have instructed you to not.  

We’ve been highlighting some Black trans icons all week on our instagramstory but we wanted to make sure we said it clearly here too: Black Trans Lives Matter.We will see you Monday. Stay safe and healthy until then. 

In Solidarity,
Ellie, Emily, and Hayden

PS! How helpful are these graphics from @pridetrain? Changing our language as society changes is such a small big way to make people feel safer in our communities. Ugh. We love to see it. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: