Originally published in the Winter/Spring 2023 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 71, printed March 22. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For other issues dating back to 2012, see the Full Issues page.
How does one write a letter when your life’s in danger? When being Black and trans puts you at the lowest point in society, against your will. When you and others like you are targeted by the state until it kills you.
My lens and lived experience are at the intersection where race and gender meet at the crossroads, so I cannot speak for every (white) trans person. As an identifying Black transfemme, my life is full of both joy and fear. Joy for who I am and fear for what may happen to me because of it.
Trans rights in Virginia are non-existent as more policies are attacking and criminalizing us as opposed to meeting our material needs. We are over-policed, over-surveilled, susceptible to violence and intimidation and continue to be dehumanized.
Nearly all transgender prisoners in the state of Virginia are housed according to our sex at birth, not our gender identity. This puts us most at risk for abuse that isn’t just misgendering or strip searches. We are also the most likely out of any demographic to be incarcerated in our lifetimes. We are often left out of the narrative of many prison justice movements and continue to be silenced both behind bars and outside.
People who wish to stand in solidarity with us MUST listen and let us determine our paths toward liberation against a growing fascist state. You must do more than “center” us. You must FIGHT with us.
Look towards organizations like SONG-RVA or Equality Virginia. By doing this, we advance both Black women’s liberation as well as the universal freedom of all African and oppressed people.
Black trans women and transfemmes have been and continue to be on every frontline of nearly every resistance movement within Amerikkka, you just have to find us.
love & peace,
Categories: Letters to the Editor
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