The Black Trans Project was created because I got frustrated going to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony every year and looking at a wall or screen dominated by the images/deaths of Trans Women who looked like me.
November 20 every year. I dread the coming of the day because it means that I am reminded that I am easily disposable. I am a Black transgender woman who reads articles all year long about black transgender women being murdered and wondering when my number will be up. I hate this day because I’ve seen organizers get more excited about planning this day than the Transgender Day of Visibility, almost as though this day is some type of coming out day. I hate this day because this list of trans women is thankfully, but unfortunately overwhelmingly honored and remembered by rooms across this land filled with individuals that are not related to or resemble the victims at all.
I have watched Facebook live videos of my black trans sisters having discussions about how to stop this epidemic to improve our current life expectancy which is said to be 35 years of age. And in the back of my mind thinking that the people who need to hear these discussions and have these conversations never will.
Too often I hear people talk about the day as though these acts are planned and executed by small cell terror groups with the explicit intent to inflict harm on a random transgender individual or group. No, that’s not the case at all, there is an uglier truth. The number of deaths per year in the US is astonishing. The list is almost always comprised of trans women, and of those trans women the overwhelming majority are trans women of color. In most cases the victim knew her killer, the killer is almost always a cis male, they often have had an intimate relationship, and off course that relationship is almost always secret. You do the math!
Trans people of color often navigate away from main stream Cis-Society and Trans community organizations because of a lack of trust, lack of individuals that resemble them, and/or a lack of time because of a deep-rooted need to survive being both BLACK & TRANS. This exhibit which started off as a tribute to Black Trans Women seeks to make Black Trans Women, Trans Men, and our Non-Binary siblings more visible, and the normality of our lives more relatable.
In a world where everyone is fighting for visibility there are those who also fight to exist, black trans bodies are an example of this. Not every black trans woman is a headline nor is every black trans woman a tragedy. This exhibit is about those who fall in between; anomalies and irregularities in the social consciousness of our world. But with a shift in understanding you realize these people are not oddities, but rather the representation of what an everyday existence of black trans bodies look like. These photos capture black trans bodies existing as themselves authentically in everyday moments. Today they step into the light and into visibility. -Carmen Jane, TheCisJungle.com
This project was designed to create visibility not only for the Trans Community, but specifically the Black Trans and Non-Binary Communities.
Your support and contributions go towards printing and mounting cost and enable me to keep the project going.
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