February 7, 2023


K Richardson, Communications Manager,

Black Trans Leadership Calls for Deeper Commitment to Racial Equity in LGBTQ Movement

Today Transgender Law Center is proud to celebrate the continued leadership of Mickaela Bradford (they/she) and Mariah Moore (she/her) as our Co-Directors of Policy and Programs. Moore and Bradford have over 20 years of organizing, advocacy, and leadership experience in LGBTQ and youth-led movements. They both previously served as TLC’s Co-Deputy Directors of Policy and Programs. 

Imara Jones, Board Chair of TLC and CEO of TransLash Media, said the following of the change: “I am so excited to see Transgender Law Center enter into this new phase of leadership. We are at a time where transgender and nonbinary people are being attacked. Because Black trans women have long borne the brunt of transphobia, the skills, dedication, and vision that Mickaela and Mariah will bring in their leadership of Policy and Programs teams will help trans people thrive.”

During their time with TLC,  Moore and Bradford were central in the creation of the Fierce Freedom School in partnership with Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP). Mickaela coordinated the powerful Trans Agenda for Liberation Coalition, building upon a smaller grassroots group of trans leaders responding to increased attacks on their communities and eventually launching the groundbreaking Trans Agenda for Liberation

“I am thrilled to see Mariah and Mickaela step into this next phase of leadership,” said Shelby Chestnut, executive director of TLC. “Consistently, they have shown incredible leadership, empathy, and dedication to our community. Having worked with them directly for the last five years, I know their growth is immeasurable. They have a unique vision that I know will take the entire TLC in the direction we need to go. We are honored and thrilled to be led by Black trans southern brilliance, who have been at the frontlines for generations”.

From Mickaela’s days at Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and Mariah’s time with Black Trans Circles, both have been dedicated to creating and shepherding a space for southern, Black leadership at a time when TLC was seeing to enter a new chapter of much-needed advocacy and representation. With staff located across the country, TLC programming currently consists of Black Trans Circles (BTC), Positively Trans, the Disability Project, and the Gender Justice Leadership Programs in collaboration with GSA Network, Rapid Response, supporting trans leaders in states facing attacks, building upon our national training institute and launching community calls during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I am deeply honored to serve as a Co-Director for Policy and Programs alongside Mariah,” said Bradford. “As the first full-time national staff member and the first nonbinary Black trans woman/femme, I have seen many iterations of TLC, and I’ve seen how TLC’s fierce community of supporters and staff create and build on a legacy of fighting for liberation. I am not—we are not—here by accident, mistake, or chance. Our liberation is dependent on each other’s willingness to live and lead fiercely. I look forward to doing my best for and with y’all.

“Working with Mariah feels like having someone I can trust. She is consistent, a realist, and always keeps her word. Mariah can dig deep into the reality of the situation, and I can meet her there with the vision and creativity. I am very much in harmony while working with her. We’re like crystal gems fusing for impact greater than either one could accomplish by herself.”

Moore responded with the following: “This has been a positively challenging year. TLC has encouraged my growth and the ways I view the world for the better.” “Black Trans Circles (BTC) was the first time in my life that I was affirmed by a room of Black trans femmes. They saw value in my story and experience, and they taught me how to be more vulnerable to trust this beautiful community I am a part of. Raquel [Willis] saw something in me that led me to deepen my advocacy and organizing skills, and I am here today because of the many trans women and femmes who have opened those doors to me. It’s my turn to open doors and help get us closer to the freedom we speak of.

“I am pleased to continue my work as the Co-Director of Programs and Policy with Mickaela and have the opportunity to learn from my colleagues, our partners, and collaborators and intentionally educate those around me. Working with Mickaela is like having a “sister colleague” at work every day. We can depend on each other.

“I am from New Orleans; I know what community looks like. I do this work for my people. I do this because we keep us safe – we always have. I am living proof of that.”