Black Girls Rulez
Over the years we have seen a record number of murders of Black Trans Women, as well as new attempts to criminalize the Black trans community. With the recent announcement of the Trump administration’s attempt to write transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex identities out of existence, it’s clear that our communities are facing a war launch against our bodies and our lives. The impact of this war is falling particularly heavily on the South and Midwest regions of the U.S., where the majority of the murders of Black Trans Women in the past year have occurred. Trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) folks in these regions often cannot obtain government-issued identification that shows their actual (rather than assigned at birth) name and gender marker, which affects their ability to find work, housing, and health care. Gender-affirming medical care is also inaccessible in many parts of the U.S., which is particularly detrimental in these regions where gender non-conformance is met with increased violence—especially for Black and Brown women.
At the same time, in other parts of the U.S.—like California and New York—TGI folks have gained significant victories in the fight for access to health care, legal name and gender changes, and freedom from discrimination, violence, and oppression. Many TGI folks in areas where these rights have not been recognized, particularly those who also face the oppressive forces of anti-Blackness and misogyny, lack the resources to relocate to regions with better care, access, and resources.
In order to develop an organized response to these attacks, Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) is calling for an emergency convening of Black Trans Women to develop a national organizing campaign that will look at how the intersections of racism, criminalization, and transphobia are impacting Black Trans Women. This convening will advance the work during the previous two #BlackGirlzRulez conferences, building this existing network while creating space to focus on the spike in violence and transphobic rhetoric at the federal level in the past few months.
A key part of the campaign will focus on developing a national network of Black Trans-led organizations who will provide support to Black Trans Women, focusing in particular on the South and Midwest, to get the services and documents they need to recognize their existence and live their lives as they want. Based loosely on the idea of the Underground Railroad, Black Trans leaders from organizations across the country will be connected with TGIJP and other organizations, who will support them in gaining temporary residence in areas with increased access and opportunities for Black Trans Women in order to get needed documents and medical services.
Black Trans Women who wish to relocate to San Francisco can apply for a Residency program through the forthcoming Black Trans Cultural Center that TGIJP is in the process of forming in the Tenderloin neighborhood (see following two pages for a description). During their stay in San Francisco, participants will receive support with name and gender change documents through TGIJP’s legal program, receive leadership development trainings, access networking opportunities, and learn organizing skills to take back to their home organizations.
This convening was created to develop a national organizing campaign through an intersectional framework to focus on issues impacting Black trans women. Using popular education, we work in supporting new leaders and emerging organizations, with a focus on the Southern and Midwest regions of the United States.
During this time, we strategize a national response to the violence Black trans people face in-all systems by building mutually beneficial relationships and committing to community building with Black transgender people across the globe.