When we say that Black lives matter, it’s not an exclusive statement. Each and every Black life matters—full stop. This includes all gender identities and sexualities, which is why the violence facing the Black transgender community is especially heartbreaking. As we mourn, though, it’s important to also take the time to learn how to support Black trans lives that are at stake. There are plenty of ways we all can show up for the Black trans community—whether you have money to donate or time to give. All Black lives matter, and it’s time we start acting like it.
In early June 2020, two Black transgender women, Dominque “Rem’mie” Fells and Riah Milton were killed within a 24 hour period. These tragedies came soon after Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was shot and killed by police and Nina Pop, a Black transgender woman, was stabbed to death. It goes without saying that these acts of violence—especially in such a short timeframe—are reprehensible. Our society must do better to protect Black trans lives—and that includes each and every one of us supporting the community in some way.
Below, you’ll find different ways you can help show up for the Black trans community. Whether you have money you can donate to an organization that supports Black trans lives or time to spend protesting during a march, there is at least one way you can do your part to help eradicate the violence inflicted on Black trans lives. Use your voice, your money and your privilege to lift up those who are in danger.
One of the most effective ways to show up for the Black trans community is through donations. Put your money where your mouth is and support organizations working hard to support Black trans folks. You can donate to organizations like Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (an Atlanta-based organization fighting for abolition), Marsha P. Johnson Institute (an organization that protects the rights of Black trans people), The Okra Project which works to give meals and resources to the Black trans community), For the Gworls (a group that raises money to pay for Black trans people’s rent and gender-affirming surgeries), G.L.I.T.S. (an organization that provides care and resources to the trans community) and so many more. Do your research and give some monetary support to this community.
2. Sign Petitions
If you’ve already donated and want to do more—or you’re short on money, but want to help in other ways—take some time to show your support by signing petitions. You can sign this petition to demand justice for Tony McDade. And support those fighting for justice for Titi “Tete” Gulley (a Black trans woman who was found hanging in Oregon), as well.
3. Get Out & March
If you’re able, take the time to get out and protest. Make a sign, protect POC if you’re white or white-passing and let your voice be heard. When thousands of people around the country in dozens of different cities are all protesting the same thing, it makes our cry for justice that much louder. Keep an eye out on social media for protests and marches in your local area—but remember to stay safe, keep your phone location services off and try to avoid posting photos of strangers’ faces to social media without their consent. If crowds and marches make you anxious or you’d rather just stay on the sidelines, though, you can still show protestors your support by handing out water, snacks and other supplies to them as they pass by.
4. Know The Facts
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), at least 27 transgender or gender non-conforming people died due to violence in 2019—and the majority of these were Black trans women. Already in June 2020, at least 15 transgender or gender non-conforming people have died. It’s likely more, as many of these deaths go unreported by the media. Understanding the numbers—and continuing to educate yourself on the violence the Black trans community is often subjected to—can help us have hard conversations with loved ones and those who might not see this information on social media or on the news. Equip yourself with the facts so that you can advocate for those who need support.
5. Follow Black Trans Creators & Influencers
Not only should you follow these Black trans creators and influencers on social media, but listen to what they have to say. If they own a business, support it. If they make videos, watch them. Lift up Black trans influencers like Zaya Wade and and Shea Diamond. Search Instagram tags, use Google—whatever you have to do to find, follow and support these Black trans voices to which we should all be listening.
6. Don’t Stop Saying Their Names
It’s easy to get lost in the moment—especially in this political climate. But don’t let the names of these victims of hatred and violence ever go silent. Keep saying their names. Share their stories. Support the battles for justice for each and every Black trans life lost. Protect your Black trans friends and show them you’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they feel safe. We’ve got a long way to go, but we encourage you to not give up until all Black lives matter.