This June, we’re sharing our soapbox with the movers and shakers of the pride movement.
Black Trans Media connects black trans folks to each other and to larger opportunities to create, organize and thrive. We’re proud to support their work through our Charity Pot program, where 100 percent of the purchase price of Charity Pot Body Lotion is donated to grassroots organizations working for human rights, animal protection and environmental justice.
Can you describe Black Trans Media’s mission and work?
Black Trans Media is a community-driven, black trans-led project based out of Brooklyn NYC. We exist to shift and reframe the value and worth of black trans people by addressing the intersections of racism and transphobia. Black Trans Media is centered in the power of creativity, media, arts, and storytelling to support leadership, organizing and the development of narratives and works of resistance. We build the power of black trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people and communities to confront racism and transphobia in institutions, neighborhoods, and everyday life.
Our projects and collaborations connect black trans people and our communities to each other, as well as the larger public, and create sustainable opportunities to build, showcase, heal, and celebrate black trans lives. We are creating a world where black trans folks are uplifted in our communities and are in control of our own narratives.
One of your organization’s goals is to inspire leaders in the Black Trans community. How has your leadership development program influenced the community?
Our #BlackTransEverything, #BlackTransLoveIsWealth and #BlackTransFutures work has been embraced by black TGNC people and allies across the U.S. and globally. We have heard from and connected with hundreds of leaders and community members who were inspired by our love, work, framing and started their own projects, made their own media, organized their own spaces, or just felt affirmed by what we were doing, saying, and creating.
Our work to unapologetically center black TGNC folks outside traditional systems has pushed back against the harm done by the non-profit industrial complex here in NYC to affirm the leadership and experiences of black trans youth and communities in controlling our own resources and futures. Our work is guiding a vision for space, resources, and futures—reflecting the power of work led by and for communities.
What are some recent successes Black Trans Media has experienced?
In the fall, we launched our Community Media Makers Fellowship, a paid fellowship for 6 black TGNC youth who are producing their own films. This spring we launched our Mural Arts Project with Groundswell Community Murals in Brooklyn and paid 8 black TGNC artists and organizers to research, design, and create a mural uplifting black trans women and communities here in NYC. We have almost finished a 10’ x 15’ mural and plan to have a launch event end of June! In the last 6 months alone, we have paid more than 30 black TGNC folks, primarily black youth, to support leadership development opportunities; we are moving resources towards our folks.
In your experience, how does creative expression lead to healing and education?
Creative expression is a part of who we are. It allows us to express what we are holding, to dream, to imagine, and to heal by telling our stories. We work through (inter)generational trauma and connect with others. Creative expression allows us to see our power, and to know that we can do anything. It allows us to heal and educate through cultural ways that reflect and affirm our black trans communities’ power. Creative expression is how we choose to present ourselves to the world, reflecting; at times, emotions and experiences.
What’s the most important thing allies can do to support your mission?
The most important thing allies can do is leverage and move resources towards black TGNC folks—and continue working against racism and transphobia. Donate money and speak to the people you love about the experiences of black trans people—many folks are cut off from their families or do not have the same access to wealth or resources. Allies also can continue to LISTEN to black trans folks (though we don’t all agree) on how racism and transphobia show up in our day to day interactions.
What does pride in progress mean to Black Trans Media?
Pride in progress means we still have a lot of work to do, especially to support black trans women and girls. The violence against our community doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate and have joy—especially with the attacks and murders of our black trans sisters, joy is a necessary force—however we cannot have pride without resourcing our most vulnerable community members. To truly honor Sylvia and Marsha, the spirit of Stonewall, and 50 years of resistance, we must move the needle on how trans people are treated. We must have opportunities to thrive and move towards justice.