Resources

COVID-19 Call 9 — The Black Trans Leaders Showing the Way to Liberation

An ninth TLC community conversation with Kayla Gore, Ciora Thomas, Carson Graham, and Zahara Green. 

TRANSCRIPT

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ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION SERVICES, LLC

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This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings

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My name is Kayla Gore.  I’m Transgender Law Center as the Southern Regional organizer.  We are coming here today with a great panel for you all today. 

Black, Queer, Trans people experience other — the last few days we mourned Helle Jae O’Regan, Nina Pop and Brianna Taylor.  Our grief is only in the entirety when we are around other black Queer and Trans people.  What needs to happen in the movement is love, center, and treat — I like to invite everyone to take a moment of silence in honor of those people we lost this year. 

Thank you. 

We strive to make our (inaudible) accessible.  We know disability justice is a value for Trans Liberation Disability Justice helps access for the necessary practice for disrupting isolation and making sure participation and leadership.  Access is meaningful it includes the radical transformative demands of disability justice.  Disability justice charges us to identify interrupt and disrupt — ableism and black racism, classism and many more. 

My commitment to build accessible places like we are doing here today we implement a commitment to have critical conversations together.  As an organization invested in ending anti-black we urge folks to take a minute you see this live to have a moment of silence with us.  We are here with you. 

Black Trans leader having to do liberation work even while mourning the mourning didn’t ease.  The Black Trans leaders workout of love for all black people.  All black people. 

While knowing that Black Trans’ lives doesn’t have as many cries of outrage and solidarity we feel Black Trans continue to meet us to freedom we will not stop until people everywhere pay the proper dignity for Trans black lives.  We will take the moment for the panelist to introduce themselves to give them name, pronouns, where you are located, and organization and role.  I will start with Ciora Thomas. 

>>  We can’t hear you. 

>>  There we go.  Sorry about that. 

My name is Ciora Thomas.  She, her, they, them pronouns.  I’m in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

My organization.  I’m the Founder and Director of SisTers PGH.  We have a community center specifically for Transgender non-binary community members in Pittsburgh and provide housing for Transgender and non-binary for the initiative housing team.  And Commissioner for commissioned on LGBTQ affairs.  As well as the President for advisory council of Pittsburgh.  Thank you for having me. 

>>  Thank you.  Zahara, you like to go? 

>>  Yes, I could go. 

Zahara Green they them as pronouns.  And I’m in Atlanta, Georgia in TRANScending Barriers as the Executive Director. 

>>  Thank you, Zahara.  Due to technical difficulties, Zahara’s voice will be played live.  We want to make sure people have ASL interpretation her video will not be shown.  You will not be able to see her beautiful face.  Go onto Carson. 

>>  Hi everyone.  My name is Carson Graham.  I’m he, him, his as my pronouns.  I’m the Co-Founder and President of TIG, we go by Trans Inclusive Group we are in South Florida we serve West Palm county and also the Co-Chair of South Florida Flex and Board Director of the Dolphin Democrats. 

>>  Awesome.  Thank you, Carson.  We will go ahead and get into our discussion.  Today.  Black community standing on the intersection of violence and oppression. 

This question is for anybody. 

How is advocating change during COVID-19 for you?  In your small community? 

>>  I would say, advocate differently has changed at least here in South Florida. 

We have been having a lot of virtual Townhalls.  We had one COVID-19 recently.  Also, a lot of political Townhalls have been going on and strategizing to figure out, you know, what is the best we could do.  At this point everything is virtual.  So you know we’ve been sending e-mails.  And we also have been reaching out to people in other states like we are doing now. 

Is definitely a form of advocate right.  We are doing this live through Facebook.  Through Zoom.  Calls and Zoom meetings.  Working together.  Virtually. 

>>(No audio). 

>>  We can’t hear you Ciora. 

>>  Can you hear me now? 

>>  Yes. 

>>  Great.  I notice the need — became a lot more urgent than it was.  You take into fact the Black Trans people were extremely marginalized before the pandemic and it is shifted the urgency of the work that is needed.  Especially under the guide of this leadership within our like region. 

So it was a shift of needing to survive again.  Like, Trans people are used to surviving.  In these economic realms that seldomly provide resources for us.  It click that survival at least for myself.  And those around me to be able not only support virtually but find ways to continue to be close to community members during this pandemic.  There is a lot going on that is what I noticed a change for us up here. 

>>  Thank you.  So you — resonated with me, the resiliency in advocacy and how it didn’t stop.  It just like have you to do.  What did resiliency look like four you?  What is your strategies that you have done with your organizations? 

>>  Sure.  The one thing that we did in the midst of the pandemic, we created a mutual aid fund we called it COVID-19 — LGBT COVID-19 emergency relief fund.  During the effort at the current we were able to raise $31,000 we redistributed $17,000 back into the community.  Predominance of those were black.  LGBTQ folks and another predominance of Black Trans gender people in Pittsburgh.  Providing the direct resources back into the community along with groceries and things of necessity that is hard to access. 

For our community with disabilities.  Especially.  That is a huge thing for us to be able to cut the middle man out and provide the direct resources.  Back to the community.  Another thing we did while doing that is collecting data. 

We were from where I — where I sit, the first organization actually collecting data directly on our LGBTQ community with the data we were able to find out who was affected.  How they were affected.  And what resources they needed.  And with that data we were able to share with our commissions, equity commissions advisory councils the leadership that are our, a allies here to support us.  That is a huge piece of resilience and it looks like for Black Trans people.  It took precedence.  Things are chaotic.  Another thing we are spearheading along with other Morrison and our Executive Director of Pennsylvania LGBTQ commission and also the Pennsylvania commission on LGBTQ affairs, my board members different leaves and you Drew and Maryland we decided to spearhead a Transgender coalition of Pennsylvania I talked to you about that resiliency what that looks like.  What it likes ultimately for Trans organizations especially Black Trans organizations coming together.  Statewide.  Nationally. 

Learning how to start the 504 organization for-profit organization and coming together to create economic wealth within our community we need to think bigger than local in this time during this pandemic and how we do that is creating the coalition of healing.  Understanding.  And unapologeticness of moving forward and being able to provide resources fort community.  When pandemics happen and in regular life.  As I mentioned, we were marginalized before the pandemic this heighten s the need to provide for ourselves. 

>>  Thank you.  Same question, what is the resiliency look like for you in Georgia?  What is the strategies you have been doing locally there? 

>>  We have been doing many things we look at the situation as something we can conquer even though we were hit at a time we were not expecting.  Our budget is not focused on direct services we realize there is a huge need of direct services after COVID-19 came around we needed to dissect and see what we are dealing with it hit the nation hard and failed the leadership in the White House.  We need to rely on the resilience we think of the HIV virus that came into our community where we were resilient and navigated and pushed the barriers we had failed leadership and the time we still kept our resilience and followed through and have used many things to defeat and conquer this data that tries to slow us down.  We look at the same thing with COVID-19 we look at what we are dealing with.  How we insure your community has the thing they need to protect them against this.  We make a prevention.  We do it around HIV.  How we prevent our community to be hit.  They are dealing with other illnesses to have them be immune compromised we help our community and understanding we have the skills to be able to make mask with Black Trans woman in the South and utilize these ways to protect our community we use those ways to protect and support and prevent our community that is more vulnerable.  Our advocacy is important we have a governor who has done everything in his power to not protect the citizens of our state we are a state organization.  The work we do is throughout the entire state.  Help individuals navigate there is no systems in place.  With systems are barriers.  We need to keep in mind what are we doing to navigate the systems in place advocate for these dealing with the barriers in place and we need to think how we are doing to keep in mind with all the problems we are dealing with organizing.  How we organize within the face of something of COVID-19.  We utilize technology and Zoom to keep our organizing alive so we could continue on towards our pathway for liberation for our people. 

>>  Thank you.  That sounds like we’re in good hands thanks for all the hard work you are doing you easily could not do it I appreciate that and I’m sure our community appreciates that.  We will move toward medical care.  You mentioned prevention.  Right now that is a big thing for Trans folks the LGBTQ people that a risk for us.  That is in limbo now.  What is medical care look like during COVID in your region?  Like medical access in general?  Not specific to COVID but keeping that in the mindset of your thoughts Carson you want to take that question? 

>>  Carson, you are on mute. 

>>  Sorry.  Can you hear me?  Okay. 

I wanted to answer resilience piece before I talk about healthcare.  I think of resilience we are thinking about how we recover from something or we make the best of something right?  So I think overall, it is a never ending and always been like that for Trans folks like Zahara said.  Like, we are a non-profit Trans LGBT organization and before these crisis funds came about, for COVID we had one.  The need got worse. 

So again, this is something I mentioned to you all yesterday.  Now, the funds that we needed are now we need more.  In all of these different states.  Even the HIV and STI rates increased due to the fact so many people are home.  So now we talk about healthcare, you know myself recently, I’m still HRT and stuff like that.  Have health questions I have.  South Florida they are doing, virtual consultations and virtual medical need.  They are still doing testing.  But testing is based off appointments. 

But obviously it is still a concern for sex workers that want to make sure their health is still intact as well. 

So that is a biggest thing.  Knowing what resources are available.  But healthcare is a concern.  People still need to get, you know, their estrogen and hormone pills and everything like that. 

>>  Thank you Carson.  I know we had a conversation previous about the data you collected.  The specific to people’s healthcare needs.  Can you speak more to that? 

>>  Yes.  Certainly.  If I can rebuttal before I get into that rebuttal what Zahara mentioned.  Thank you both for mentioning the great points.  Resilience it looks like data collection.  It looks like us collecting the data.  And using the data correctly.  The current administration in the U.S.A doesn’t affirm our extension.  Being Transgender is one thing and black and a woman is another scenario.  It is time that we take advantage of now while this census is not counting our community we take and create an in testify to help our community why I within the next ten years we have the data to show the Federal Government and state we exist in the community and we need resources.  Not just community leaders but Trans led organizations around the country we need access to the dollars and I also have a suggestion to our Black Trans organizations around the country, having conversations with your funders.  Especially during the COVID-19 I’m glad the funders here in Pittsburgh understood the need to create funding dollars that is more operational instead of programming.  We need that we don’t know what is going on with the COVID pandemic and the need changes all the time.  I could give that information to our fellow organization directors and President.  Please also continue to have conversations with your funders.  As far as medical access, so as I mentioned before it was hard enough to get these resources. 

These medical resources within the community.  Especially within state medical practices that were actually safe for our community up here we have doctors that will troll you on Facebook you have too many complaints about their medical malpractice.  For a doctor of any caliber to have access to their parents Facebook pages is dangerous and violent. 

That is something we need to deal with a particular doctor here in Pittsburgh as well as doctors around the state. 

This is not the only case of that.  So it breaks that confidentiality that trust for the — one to have a doctor.  Within our region.  And then we do find medical facilities that are affirming to us and who we are, these are sometimes cases where we are “Guinea Pigs” they don’t understand how to assess us.  They are still learning and going through their first year trial or second year trial to see what this looks like. 

And what I would offer to these spaces is these medical spaces, to get training.  From Trans people.  Have Trans people during their trainings in their spaces you are hearing our experiences from our mouths we are able to tell you what we’re experiencing.  What is good and bad.  What works and doesn’t work. 

But it is a huge thing. 

In our data collection we noticed that Trans people specifically in the county were having trouble accessing HRT because of the factor I mentioned and accessing it getting to the medical to get HRT and feeling safe to do so.  During the pandemic. 

So there is so many different factors in this.  And also factor in Black Trans people being able to access these hormones even needles and syringes down to alcohol wipes.  These were things that were hard to access.  So that is what our data showed.  I’m sure we continue to collect this data, and share the data with other organizations and spaces, it will show the same thing.  But yeah, that is where we were to that.  Thank you. 

>>  Thank you Zahara.  That is a big deal here in the South medical access people don’t have access to medical care that adequate to provide that.  And a lot of times we teach our doctors to care for us.  That is not — should not be the case.  I want to switch over a little bit and talk about the current state of violence. 

That black people more specifically Trans folks are experiencing.  At the hands of the state. 

The state is not doing anything to protect us.  As a policy and things they made sure as Zahara pointed out eloquently the people we have entrusted to lead the country, they positioned themselves to erase us and not be — not protect us. 

How benefits in your leadership we are Black Trans leaders here.  We are not exempt from any form of violence that is coming on the Facebook and trolling us or experiencing physical violence. 

How has that affected your leadership and affected your community?  Yeah.  We could start with Zahara. 

>>  Violence is something we need to deal with in Georgia for a long time especially it comes to Black Trans woman.  The state has shown us we are insignificant to them our blackness doesn’t matter to them.  Blackness has valid against it for centuries here in America and Georgia and the state continued to sanction the violence we see that today.  We see how Black Trans woman in the South we see violence sanctioned by the state the cases are not solved they continue not to be solved year-after-year turning into a cold case.  Nothing has been done about it.  That is why he with need to continue to fight against the system that seeks to oppress us and hold us down and we need to continue on our path towards liberation. 

>>  Thank you, Zahara.  Carson. 

>>  Yeah.  So we talk about violence, you know, you mentioned Ahmaud Arbery for me it hit home.  I was upset about it.  The reality is, right, as black leaders, it is real.  I mean, a person, racism is live and around in 2020.  It is time for people to are stop acting like we don’t know what is going on.  The reality is we know what it is like to step outside and feel like am I being watched or questioned when I go to certain places.  It sucks to have to live your life-like that; right?  Your question how it affects our leadership, I would say, as far as our organization goes, we are huge on that. 

I feel like we know what is going on with our Black Trans woman Jacksonville had back-to-back murders since God knows what 2019 or longer than that.  A lot of times we see the stories and see it on the news.  After that, you know there is no justice.  We don’t know who died.  I think 2019 is my first time from my experience I say, okay they had arrested a little more people as far as by trans folks go 9 times out of 10 we don’t know who did it.  We should not be silenced about this we need to rally together and it comes down to protesting and doing the things some Civil Rights leaders used to do, we need to start doing that.  It is outrageous anybody should have to live with a target on their back that is unacceptable.  For me it is not being a Trans man.  I’m black first, Trans second.  I know the experience on both.  Spectrums. 

But the last thing I want to say this is also why impart of networking with the right people.  I could say that even with police, trust is broken.  With black people and Trans people.  Like, let’s be honest.  People don’t feel comfortable they had experience of calling the cops they don’t feel like they will do anything or they have judged because she is Trans.  The Trans woman is Trans. 

I feel it is important for us to find those candidates people that are in the police systems or justice systems we work with.  That is why I’m with the dolphin Democrats here in fort Lauderdale.  Politics is important.  We don’t have allies in these rooms, we are in trouble.  Myself have been let down that is why the murder that happened on 79th street an ex chief police told me to find out what happened.  Never found out what happened. 

That is how it works I get passionate it comes down to violence it is sad.  We are tired of mourning and visuals we want justice and be treated fairly and with respect.  That’s it. 

>>  Thank you for that Carson I appreciate you for advocate for Trans woman murdered in Florida.  I want you to speak more your own experience.  You mentioned you are black, Trans, and you are a black man. 

You mentioned Ahmad.  Being black.  Trans, and being a man, like what is your daily experience?  You start your day you go out.  I’ve talk to a lot of different Trans folks and they have a very valid gripe when it comes to this. 

People erase your experience as a black man and only see your Transness and don’t see that to the violence of black men at the hands of the state.  How does that affect you personally? 

>>  I’m glad you asked that.  It is nice to be on a panel and not be the host I could be more transparent. 

I’m glad you asked that question. 

I work in IT field.  I work as a computer engineer by day advocate by night.  I work (inaudible) in keeping it 100 with you. 

Majority of my office is white Hispanic people.  And I go in there, they hear my name Carson it has a different meaning.  So before they would see me in the room, you are Carson?  I know my name gets me in certain doors.  The reality is, I tell people look at me a certain way does he know what he is doing.  I need to work twice as hard it sucks right.  It is like I’m going to stores or pulled over one time.  I was going a little over the speed limit.  I was asked, is this your car?  Are you driving a rental car? 

It is horrible.  I think, that is why I said, being a black man in America and Trans is just a double whammy almost.  It is you need to be constantly aware of situations where you are and very careful that is how this world is set-up now. 

But it should not be that way.  I should be respected like any other male would in a workplace or store.  I’m not here to steal nothing.  I work hard.  Let’s be real you are a black woman, Black Trans woman, Black Trans man, we work was twice as hard than anybody out here it is not fair.  Keeping it real with you guys. 

>>  We appreciate your realness and Zahara you want to take on that question and speak to your feeling on that.  Correction Ciora. 

>>  All right.  Yeah.  Thank you Carson for that testimony.  That is a conversation that needs to be had more.  Thank you for that. 

So assessing our leadership.  To be what Carson was saying we find ourselves in positions of having to work double, triple, harder than communities around us or sis counterparts that is looking at us especially we are blacks.  Are they smart enough to do this?  Can they run an organization and lead and these different positions their voice is valid.  That is always have been a huge concern that has affected my leadership.  And affected leadership to those around me. 

Because we also have to remember, the dominance of this leadership is looking like in our states currently around the country is g*is leadership.  We need to shift that narrative and run for office. 

We need to be investing in Black Trans people running for office and making sure they are doing so, protecting them in those positions. 

And in Pennsylvania specifically, we have Dr. Rachel Lavine she has been leading us in a state level with the governor and a out Trans woman that is doing amazing work in Pennsylvania to provide the resources and understanding of what we need to be prepared for during this pandemic.  And during the pandemic, people make fun of her for being Trans.  It was ridiculous the minds of this cisgender people during this pandemic not all.  Those that find time to focus on someone’s gender identify instead of the safe space and keeping those around us. 

We have to be looking at that.  We also have to look at our individual states within the counties and cities we need to pay attention to the policies. 

Specifically the panic in different — that allows people to murder Trans people.  To get away with it.  So we have to be paying attention to to policies like this and paying attention to elected officials that want to push these out the house scores we need to back these candidates that are pushing these and there are candidates in Pennsylvania that are pushing these panic defense to be a thing that doesn’t exist. 

We need to pay attention to the candidates that investing in Trans people in your individual states.  That brings me back to the importance of counting our communities we count the deaths happening on a state level, or federal level, if they were counted, we would be able or the state in these — the federal level would be able to prevent these before they happen.  That is another huge, huge, thing we need to pay attention to make sure we are counted. 

We don’t need to settle for the federal ideology we have allies we could create the surveys and create the surveys on state levels.  Talk to your governor.  Lobbying with your candidates.  And your counties.  Letting them know we are here we deserved to be counted and need resources and not apologetic about that.  We could not allow the federal level to be erased we have allies within the individual states to make sure we are counted.  That is something our Pennsylvania coalition is going to be working on.  With other partners affiliates within our state. 

And I — think that is where I want to end.  No.  I want to bring and talk about the violence as well.  Just last month, we lost a Black Trans woman in Philadelphia Pennsylvania Michelle Tameka Washington.  And murders like that are murders of many.  Of Black Trans woman and I as a Black Trans woman is reading these articles it is hard to not see my face as being a possibility on the news article.  Even within my work.  It does something to me what I also believe in, our ancestors or Trans sisters around the country and the energy that brings to our community why we need the strength to move forward to have them guide us through this.  That is my therapy and mantra before the pandemic and especially during this pandemic and continuing after and teaching our Trans communities how to heal and understand what love feels like.  Because a lot of us especially Trans folks doesn’t know what love feels like we grew up in households that didn’t love us.  We find the healing space before we move on to leadership initiative and coming together is vital. 

And keeping that in mind, my leadership has pushed me forward.  And brought me to keep going and feeding my community however I can. 

>>  Thank you.  Ciara.  I think all three of you mentioned the violence.  And prosecution of the violence.  And I like to think of transformative justice instead of punitive or prisons and jails. 

So any thoughts or opinions around Trans formative justice and how that could be a thing?  In response to the violence against black folks against Trans people?  We could start with Zahara. 

STUDENT: We are Trans barriers our work is through abolishing the prison conflicts we always think about how justice for us looks.  That is the Trans formative justice removing the current justice system in place that is based on all kinds of locking people up and putting them behind cages.  The type of punishment that exist with this we respond to the punishment through harm and violence we always process and been able to do our work through abolishness we think of ways to end the state ship violence that exist within the state to continue to allow people to walk the streets through — continue to violence upon us. 

These cases are not solved or finding individuals that are responsible for taking the life of these beautiful Black Trans woman or woman of color that are murdered year-after-year and nothing is done about it.  It is sends a strong message to the public Black Trans bodies are not important to the State they will not protect them they continue to harm us with impunity we need to continue to fight against that and let these systems know and people that are in positions of power know we will continue to fight.  The justice for our Trans families. 

>>  Carson you want to take a stab at that? 

>>  Kayla can you repeat the question for me one more time? 

>>  Yes.  I can.  So transformative justice weigh in what are your thoughts around that?  Is there advocacy in your local area you are part of or you know of around transformative justice in response to the violence against black bodies inclusive of Trans? 

>>  It pertains to South Florida, I would say not necessarily that we have anything like that right now. 

I know a TIG we have had the opportunity to talk to the Sheriff’s department.  And they do want to implement some type of safety measures for Trans folks.  I guess, I don’t know when they will launch it because of COVID.  It needs to happen soon.  Basically the way it will work, I guess more the Trans community is on the advisory board they had police officer that is in certain areas.  But also provide the police department’s training on how to work better with Trans folks. 

We did just have a rally recently for a Trans died.  She worked in a barbershop her and her manager got in a fight and it became physical.  It didn’t end well.  She is still with us and she lost her job.  Police didn’t get involve.  We made sure she found an attorney or lawyer that could help. 

As far as going forward, I would say the biggest thing we need to listen on both sides.  I feel we need to stop labeling angry Black Trans woman or angry black people in general. 

But also learning from both sides.  I feel the justice system needs to hear from Black Trans people in particularly.  Even immigrants that are having issues. 

And we also need to listen to them.  We need to tackle both ways of being innovative and using old school justice informative ways to get things done.  We also need to be persistent the biggest thing with leaders they need to come in a lot of times in the community we are impatient it doesn’t move fast enough.  So it is all about being consistent and working together as leaders and banning together so we could make things happen. 

But that is all I could say as far as transformative movement. 

>>  Thank you.  Ciora. 

>>  I think what we’re doing now, right now, is a form of transformative justice coming together to have these conversations is definitely, especially nationally.  Around the country.  Is so vital and part of that transformative justice as well.  I will also like to highlight just the work we’ve been doing here in Pittsburgh.  Around our jail we have been supporting our Trans inmates through various links.  Through our advisory council of Pittsburgh.  Through the county jail oversight board. 

We currently have a ally that is chairing that board.  Thank God.  The old judge that was chairing the county jail board was a horrible person we showed up at the meetings every time to make sure he was accountable he left the board that worked out for us.  We were able to again, get an ally in there and have intentional one-on-one conversations with our ally.  Currently in Pittsburgh we are dealing with the Warden that needs to be fired.  For a lot of different reasons not just you know how Trans folks are treated within the jail.  How black people in general are treated within the jail.  How humans are treated within the jail. 

But we also need to be paying attention to our county executives we need to pay attention to the guys in charge.  The white g*is men in charge and hold them accountable as well unapologetically all the time.  That transformative justice is sitting in spaces we are not supposed to be in and they don’t expect us to show up at jail oversight boards and show up at budget meetings.  Their county meetings they don’t expect us to show up.  We need to continue around the country.  Showing up into these spaces and make sure we are a voice within the spaces and holding them accountable. 

That is along with our ally.  We need comrades.  Not allies.  We need people that are willing to put their bodies in a position to make sure that we are counted.  Protected.  Valued.  Lifted up in spaces we are not in.  We need comrades doing that unapologetically.  The whole ally phase we need to let it go.  The ally phase has gotten us killed.  More and more and more. 

So we do — the ally is not working.  We need to transition to having comrades that are willing to lose their jobs for us and step-up to their boss for us to protect us.  We need allies.  Until we have that we will not have the liberties we deserve.  Yes Black Trans people are owed reparations as well.  We deserve reparations on many claims.  Paying attention.  To who is elected in these positions.  In our counties and states and burro whenever you are pay attention to these people.  They are not mentioning Trans people or Black Trans people we need to think about where we are voting

>>  That is powerful.  I want to add something.  We need our comrades to not only give fired from their jobs for the sake of Trans folks and our safety and comfort we need them not to take jobs and step aside in these roles they know have for Trans folks.  You see that a lot people don’t necessarily have a genuine connection with our community but serving that complain yet that is not what allies should look like they step aside for people affected and impacted.  I will move up to the last question. 

And something came up Zahara you mentioned it.  And it was about (inaudible) violence.  I want to break it down. 

I want to break it down so people that are viewing this live understand what we are mean.  So we say state violence.  Language is a tricky thing.  I want to make it plain for people to understand what we mean.  I will go to you Zahara.  For that. 

>>  Understanding that mistakes has failed their duty and — (coming in-and-out). 

>>  Zahara you are breaking up a little bit. 

>>  I’m sorry. 

>>  You sound better now.  You go ahead. 

>>  Yeah.  I could go ahead.  I was saying the sanctions by the state through ways of I indirectly failing to protect us, failing to utilize their power and duty towards protecting us.  They failed to do so and sends a message to individuals who seek to harm us.  There are people that see we — our lives doesn’t matter we should not be here.  We should not be living and breathing.  It views individuals to continue to inflict violence on our bodies and the state fails to do anything about it.  The states fails to acknowledge we are targeted they fail to act knowledge us as people. 

>>  Thank you.  You like to answer that Ciora? 

>>  You are on mute. 

>>  I was saying thank you Zahara for bringing up those great points.  I think it is — perfectly okay.  To admit and to hold our allies and comrades that they have been failing us for decades they failed us even while Black Trans people were liberating our people just existing as a people.  We are black.  So when we are looked at we are perceived as black first and Transgender next.  Not in all cases.  A lot of cases they are black.  We need to understand that being black is not a — we know.  It is okay for us to tell our comrades you have failed me.  But this is how you could do better.  It is that comrade is able to sit in that space and learn from that, no matter how we need to address.  How we feel, to that comrade, they should be in a position to listen and to learn what we need.  While also, bringing us to the table.  And it is so vital that our comrades, I’m speaking towards our cisgender comrades they need to bring us to the table and not speak for us and we are not a community that is not capable to lead and make smart decisions we are in fact capable of making smarter decisions than a lot of our counterparts.  Especially it comes to the Transgender and nonbinary communities.  You do spaces within your state and not including Trans people and Trans voices and body you are doing no just ankylosis to your voters or to you. 

I think we need to really tap into looking at our comrades that are bringing us to the table.  And I’m not just mentioning a local community panel or discussion.  Which is still wonderful.  But we need to be brought to county level conversations.  We need to be brought to state level conversations.  Right now Pennsylvania, we are the only state in the country that has LGBTQ commission.  This commission needs to be modeled by other governors offices around the country.  We need to have representation at a state level.  Around the country. 

And that is going to mean, those governor’s office liaisons reaching out to Pennsylvania to see how Pennsylvania has started this commission.  And how to get people on the commission.  And to always be within the margins you will have in the commissions.  In my opinion, I think a commission around the country should have a prey dominate of black and brown Trans and nonbinary people.  And when you bring us to the table, we could counteract the murders and violence.  We could communicate directly with the governor and liaison and Executive Director the information we are bringing from the grass root level is to the state level and they are accountable for the violence happening in the individual states that happens we will address the violence, the murders, then we could move into economic development and economics for our Transgender community and what that looks like I mentioned that earlier of what that economic development will look like for the community and creates spaced around the experiences and voices of those affected.  Now, as we know those affected are black and brown Trans people.  More specifically, Black Trans woman.  And in this county.  So looking at those tying it together we are not with it. 

>>  Thank you I really appreciate you saying those words.  Carson you want to give lasting — last thoughts around violence and how that looks for you? 

>>  I will keep it short.  I think Ciora said a mouth full.  I don’t have much to say.  One big point showing up to meeting they don’t expect us to be at is key.  Like, I don’t think I could say that anymore.  That is my model throughout the rest of the year.  Trans folks we don’t like to be in uncomfortable spaces we have not unpacked our traumas we don’t know how to be in those spaces.  But these spaces are important to be at.  And that is how you will shake and move and disrupt and create the environment we seek to have.  Over all to be respected and treated fairly.  That is all I have to say.  I feel Ciora said everything that needed to be said. 

>>  Thank you.  Yes.  You are right.  That is exactly — this is a powerful call.  A very powerful conversation.  Much needed.  And this a conversation that needs to be happening.  More often.  And I’m looking forward to making sure that does happen. 

I want to say, appreciate you all taking time out of your schedules I know you are busy people.  To sit down with us and discuss these things in detail and I’m looking forward to follow-up with the conversations thank you for your time.  And we have reached our time.  Today.  And I want to thank everyone that viewed this live and shared this live.  I want to say thank you.  

>>  I undid the live stream. 

>>  Thank you Anna, and Ciora, and Zahara and Carson and our interpreters. 

>>  Great discussion very needed.  Thank you so much for everything you shared today I hope you have a good weekend. 

>>  Thank you so much.  Truly appreciate it. 

>>  Thank you so much for having me.  It is a pleasure to meet you all. 

>>  We will continue this.  Thank you. 

>>  Thank you. 

>>  Thanks everyone. 

(end of meeting)

About

Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.

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