Papa-Activist BT Calls on Us to End Abortion Stigma and Transphobia

BTBT is the Founder of Trans(forming), a chapter organization of Female to Male Inc. (FTMI).  An activist and advocate for over 25 years, BT works on social justice issues like decriminalization and healthcare access with several communities: Black, trans, working class, homeless, and immigrant people. He fights for trans-inclusive health insurance with Trans Health Advocates Atlanta, and, as a member of the Solutions not Punishment Coalition (SNaP CO), he designs sex positive and safe approaches to sex work for trans women. He is a historian and keeper of the flame for Transsexual People and is currently editing his first book, Stealth World: Hiding in Plain Sight. Notwithstanding all of his rich accomplishments, most important, BT is a step-father, uncle, mentor and role model to many.

For our Strong Families Papa’s Day campaign, SPARK asked this father and social justice activist, “how do you work in solidarity with Black women in the fight for reproductive justice?”

“It’s really amazing to me how these really antiquated laws in Georgia and around the South – heck, country – still exist, especially when it comes to things that directly affect poor and working class communities.

No one knows better the power and allure of this system of patriarchy than a trans man. There is a war happening against women all over the world. The desire to control women’s bodies is as old as time.  Fighting against those systems of oppression that continue to devalue the majority population is something I have to work to be intentional about. Being involved in women’s struggles with close friends educates me and helps me work on being a better man.

Where I live in the West End community of Atlanta, GA, the Radiance Foundation had the nerve to post an awful, shaming and blaming billboard right in the neighborhood, saying Black women were the cause of Black genocide. I had to pass by it every day on my way home. It made me so angry that I, SPARK, and many others successfully organized and got it removed.

I first began advocating for reproductive justice many moons ago, when I was a teenager. I walked my friend into a clinic for her abortion. We walked through a barrage of shouting people holding up disparaging signs. I sat and held my very afraid teenage friend as she cried and wailed from the stress of that entire situation. From that day on, I joined the cause for a woman’s choice.

In my daily work with my organization, Trans(forming), I fight for the rights of all folks to identify and claim their bodies, their names, their choices as a human right. We collaborate with many progressive organizations. SPARK, for example, co-sponsored and helped us produce the only comprehensive name change booklet for the state of Georgia, and, along with ACLU of Georgia and Attorney Chara Jackson, we hold quarterly Name Change Clinics and hope to soon add Document Clinics.

In our continued connection and fight for ALL women’s rights – we speak up and out about transphobia in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer communities. We rallied against the Michigan Womyn’s Festival for not allowing Trans women to attend, and local Women’s health clinics who continue to refuse to treat trans women. With the SNaP CO, we fought against an awful ordinance seeking to banish sex workers from the City of Atlanta, which we saw as part of the continued profiling of our trans sisters.

I see ALL women issues – as basic Human Rights! Period!

Thank you, SPARK, for this honor, and seeing that there are many kinds of men in the community.  And lastly, Happy Father’s Day to my own walking example of a ‘good man’, my dad.”

SPARK thanks BT for his participation with our Papa’s Day campaign! BT reminds us that by fighting for women’s rights, we are fighting to uplift all communities. To learn more about the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition and get involved, check out their Facebook group!

To support reproductive justice efforts in the South, make a donation to SPARK.

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