Celebrating Trans-Led Organizations In Our Community

We’re observing the National Day of Action For Trans Women Of Color with Atlanta’s very own Southerners On New GroundGetEQUALForward Together, and more.

Earlier this month, the campaign released a joint statement that set the tone for a truly intersectional movement:

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… 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.

The National Day Of Action provides a far-reaching platform to bring attention to the struggles and triumphs of trans women during Women’s History Month, an occasion that has steadily become one of the most visible public shows of solidarity within the feminist movement. Naturally, SPARK joined the call as part of our ongoing effort to centralize the experiences of queer and trans youth of color within any liberation movement.


The primary goal of the day of action is to protect trans futures. To that end, SPARK recommits our outreach efforts to seeking out trans-led organizations in our community and using our platform to highlight the work they do, starting with Southern Fried Queer Pride, an Atlanta-based organization that was founded by the multi-talented  Taylor ALXNDR.

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Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP) is an Atlanta-based queer and trans alternative Pride festival and collective celebrating the robust and vibrant community in the Southern United States. Cooked in the oils of our forequeers of the Compton Cafeteria Riots, the Stonewall Riots, ACT UP, and the many radical uprisings of years past, SFQP holds close to the political identity of being queer. SFQP is arts and politically based and serves to provide an intersectional, radically inclusive festival on the last week of June, along with events throughout the year.

SFQP is a community-driven organization and depends on grassroots contributions, both creatively and financially. They are currently accepting submissions for their very first gallery show, Digital Queerness, and have sponsorship packets for their annual festival, #SFQP2017, taking place this May, available by request.

Follow their social feeds on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to learn more about Southern Fried Queer Pride and how you can get involved with their work.

Honoring Ciara McElveen’s Life

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25-year-old Ciara McElveen was a joy. As pictures of her surface on the internet, it’s immediately apparent that she enjoyed life’s small pleasures much like most of her peers – down to the millennial cultural staples like foodie shots and mirror selfies before a night out with friends – reflecting a full existence and at times, even a carefree one. If nothing else, Ciara took charge off her own narrative and charmingly described herself as a “very smart and nice individual looking for new friends” on her Facebook profile. She had moxie.

Ciara’s death came just two days after well-known ballroom performer Chyna Doll Dupree was found dead in a New Orleans parking lot. Reports surrounding what actually transpired are still unclear, but by most accounts, it appears that she had been in a car with someone and was stabbed by the driver before being dragged onto the street and left for dead.

At her memorial service, Ciara’s friend Dheran Dupree described her as “a fun and loving person”  who maintained her kind nature in the face of a long struggle with problems involving her relatives, a situation that is unfortunately not unique to Ciara’s case. Members of the trans community are often shunned by family members and, according to a recent survey, have reported high levels of mistreatment, harassment, and violence in every aspect of life. One in ten (10%) of those who were out to their immediate family reported that a family member was violent towards them because they were transgender, and 8% were kicked out of the house because they were transgender.

Friends gather for a vigil at N. Claiborne and Columbus, scene of last Monday’s fatal stabbing of Ciara McElveen. Photographed on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

This year, Women’s History Month began with a historic number of reported deaths for trans women like Ciara – 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 at SPARK are celebrating Ciara’s life and enduring spirit in honor of Women’s History Month and the National Day Of Action For Trans Women of Color with the hope that the violence against trans women will end if we continue to shine a light on this tragic phenomenon. Participating in this day of action is just one step toward living this valueClick here to sign up for an action or find information about an action in your area.


Celebrating Chyna Gibson’s Life

Before her devastating death last month, 31-year-old Chyna Gibson was a budding star with a promising future. According to the Sacramento Bee, Chyna was visiting New Orleans to see family and appear at a performance for the Mardi Gras festivities. She was well-known dancer who performed under the name “Chyna Doll Dupree” and had toured several cities across the country, performing at drag shows and LGBT events.

Adam Hicks, a longtime friend of Gibson who lives in Houston where he had last seen her, described her work as upbeat and cheerful. “She was just really happy and she was having a good time,” he said. The two met in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when Gibson moved from New Orleans to Houston. She had moved to Sacramento roughly four years ago to live with her adoptive mother where she had become a local fixture.

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This week we celebrate Chyna’s life and sheer talent in honor the National Day Of Action For Trans Women of Color. 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. Participating in this day of action is just one step toward living this valueClick here to sign up for an action or find information about an action in your area.