Since taking office, Donald Trump and his administration have taken extreme steps to make his campaign promises rooted in racism, sexual violence and xenophobia the law of the land. Since he has taken office, we have been grieving and resisting with our communities around the country. His administration’s latest attacks targeting transgender students and immigrants is an attempt to oppress our identities, control our lives, and intimidate us into compliance. But we have seen this before.
State-based violence is not new to our Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Two Spirit and Queer communities, especially queer and trans Black, and Indigenous people. Our ancestors for centuries have been disrespected, ignored, caged, abused, and subject to deadly violence since the formation of the American national identity. Stories of family members disappearing in police custody, violent backlash and attacks to silence and suppress us, and twisted politicians using our bodies for political gain are all too familiar.
And while the new political realities in the US and the rise of fascism around the world have many of us calling for unity, bold action and even revolution, we continue to see the transphobia, misogyny, xenophobia, anti blackness and racism that is at the root of Trump’s power reflected back to us in our own community and in the growing movement to resist Trump’s agenda. This year is on track to be the most dangerous year yet for trans women of color — even more violent than 2016, and 2015 before that.
So far in 2017, seven of our sisters have lost their lives to horrific acts of violence. These Black and native trans women’s lives were in jeopardy on multiple levels before November 8th and threats have only increased since. However, despite the hyper-visible outrage against anti-woman and anti-LGBT policies led and inspired by the Trump administration, the loss of Mesha Caldwell, Jaquarrius Holland, Chyna Doll Depree, JoJo Striker, Ciara McElveen, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Tiara Richmond, and the calls for action from trans women in our community have been met with telling silence.
Today, we are making a collective call to action. Any resistance movement that is dynamic and powerful enough to overcome white supremacists and religious extremists who hold power in our government must also be bold enough to stand up and fight back against transphobic, racist, anti-woman, anti-femme forces in our ranks and in our neighborhoods. We must demand more of ourselves and of each other. Join us on March 15th, for a National Day of Action to Celebrate the Lives of Black Trans Women and Protect All Trans Women and Femmes. We must rise with urgency and conviction to support the resistance led by those most on the margins and protect trans women and femmes of color by any means necessary.
This year, Women’s History Month began with a historic number of reported deaths for trans women — and history tells us that without intentional intervention and action, this violence will escalate and these women’s stories will continue to be erased. We have the chance to change the herstory of this moment by taking action to show up for trans women of color. The statement “None of us are Free until we all are Free” must become a mantra for how this mass resistance movement. Participating in this day of action is just one step toward living this value. Click here to sign up for an action or find information about an action in your area.