I think we can all agree that 2020 has proven to be quite a year of stress, heavy hearts and fear of our future. Between our fight for Black lives, the fight against police brutality and injustice…how to navigate an airborne disease that has proven to be quite deadly, as well as tanked our economy. And more importantly, how we plan to save our democracy.
But there’s a fight amongst these that too often has gotten lost in the conversation. Some would say even non existent. – the lives of Black Trans Women. 37 Black Trans people have been murdered this year alone and the numbers keep climbing. This year has been deemed the deadliest and most violent year for Black Trans Women like myself. However, our pain and suffering isn’t often spoken of, if at all. Yes, misgendering and dead-naming within the media causes a great deal in and with this lack of visibility. But if we are being honest, Trans people have always gotten the short end of the stick.
Take the gay rights movement for instance, started and fought for by brave Black Trans women who sought liberation for everyone. Stonewall, a pivotal moment for the LGBTQIA+ community would change the way the world viewed the LGBTQIA+ community. While yes, there was still and is still a lot of work to be done, Black Trans women are always at the forefront of many of the movements for and in our community. Sadly, we don’t get the same from our cis gay and hetero counterparts. We don’t receive the respect, care, love, or uplifting that we deserve.
Black Trans women face unimaginable hardships, from homelessness, lack of jobs, education, etc and much of that has to do with the stigma around our identities. Many are forced into sex work because of this, which adds another level of danger. Visibility and education around these hardships has been vital in the fight for Black Trans Lives. It is through visibility that people can see us as human beings simply trying to live our lives as our most authentic self. To make it past the age of 35, which is the average life expectancy of Black Trans women.
I urge anyone reading this, to include Black Trans women in your conversations of a better world, better future. Fights for women’s rights. We are deserving. We are here, too.
– Gabrielle Inés