At the beginning of the month, I joined several members of Black Women United for the wonderful opportunity to attend a screening in Sacramento, where we learned the stories of influential trans women who have shaped the landscape for trans rights. The first film, Major!, brought me to tears many times. Sometimes they were tears of joy, but mostly they were tears of sadness. Watching both Major! and KIKI, two incredible documentaries highlighting activism in the trans community, I realized that there is so much work to be done for trans people, and especially trans women of color.
What stood out to me most was the trans community’s undying love and affection for each other. Their solidarity is unmatched, and it is why many of them have survived. Another thing I learned is to ask people for their preferred pro-noun (“he/him, she/her, or they/them”) as a sign of respect for their identity. I also learned that black trans women are at a particularly high risk for domestic violence and homelessness. There needs to be more conversation about trans people, their lives, and their rights within black communities. And trans women of color need compassion, not judgment.
I thought I had it bad as a black woman; I wasn’t aware of my privilege as a straight, cis-gendered person. After seeing the films Major! and KIKI, I am inspired and convicted to #RiseUpAsOne for the trans people of color who fight for their lives every day. Now that I know what my privilege affords me, I will use it to center issues not just for black women, but also for black trans women. We are all invited to sit at the table of sisterhood, because when we rise up together, our communities are healthier.