March for the Gurlz: Stop Killing Black Trans Women
Since the beginning of 2017, 7 Black transwomen have been murdered. Living at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality, transwomen in Atlanta and nationwide are demanding an end to this violence.
On March 26th Atlanta came together to take over the streets led by Black transwomen to celebrate their lives and mourn the ones we’ve lost.
Other People’s Kids
I now realize how clean these girls were, although at the time, just over a week ago, it seemed to me that they were anything but….I now realize this, because, as I look more closely at the superficial appearance of the lives of the kids on the street, I am feeling an almost personal sense of loss as I behold my first absolutes. In the world that many people from the USA are familiar with, a westernized, suburban/urban place of the internet, CNN, Netflix, and The Cheesecake Factory, where we remember Andy Rooney, get Anderson Cooper’s references, read the Huff Post, and mommy blogs….in this world, I feel that true absolutes are a rarity. At times it’s a place of racism and prejudices on every side that we all fall victim to no matter which side of the fence we’re born on, or choose to truthfully acknowledge. There are most certainly trespasses, some harsh enough to be labeled sinful, and I use this strong term with no religious insinuation.
But absolutes? Never, not really. Not until I saw the hands and feet of the children here in Istanbul. And when I stumbled on an unforgettable young girl of about twelve in Place De Clichy in Paris.
A common callousness in our lives which is equal to a social irresponsibility that I feel guilty of every time I walk past one of these kids. A kind of disregard, a socially irresponsible everyday act….the seeds of which are in all of us…..especially when it’s somebody else’s kid.
A desolate neighborhood, rain clouds above and feeling abandoned and colorless in some ways, but full of life when you open yourself up to other perspectives. I learn through listening carefully for the first time that Leanne has been in two movies, Lost Angels and The Soloist. I also realize that her claim of having an apartment was not a hallucination, and that she uses it as a repository for mountains of found items that she lovingly collects, masquerading to the rest of us as putrid, rotting garbage infested with thousands upon thousands of cockroaches.
I also realized for the first time in my life that I’m guilty of being an extremely poor listener, attributing far too much to excessive illogically occurring, disparate rambles, and not understanding that there’s a great deal of truth interwoven in the words of those that we all routinely dismiss as “crazy”, even those of us that have the best of intentions. And I learned that we’re all capable of blowing past those that are in dire need of urgent care or intervention when we don’t listen to what sounds like a crazed, irrational fairy tale….it could in fact be the relatively sequential relation of actual, hard to believe but nevertheless true, events occurring daily in Skid Row and in the lives of disabled homeless people all over the world.
Seven transgender women of color were murdered in the United States during the first two months of the year 2017. Black trans women are disproportionately impacted by structural and state sanctioned violence that impacts socio-economic growth and development and is inextricably linked to physical violence. They continue to be denied access to housing, healthcare, employment and educational opportunities. Black trans women have been forced into the most marginalized places in our society, and this puts their lives in jeopardy on a daily basis. Activists gathered in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY to rally in response to the recent deaths of black trans women and demand an end to the violence and liberation of black trans bodies.
I’m getting better at discerning the sometimes subtle differences between people here…..Kurds, Turks, Rromani (gypsies ), Syrian refugees. I’m not a photojournalist and I write honestly about what my sights, thoughts and perceptions are when I take the pictures in this gallery, along with a simple presentation of background context. I’m not concerned with academic constructs of journalistic objectivity in the scholastic sense. I don’t care….I’m relating what I see in my way, and revealing what I experienced during the process of taking the photo. I’m not sure how to describe what drives me, so I’m not going to bother trying. I think that there are certain places in the world where human nature can be observed in near purity. Places where it isn’t distilled by what we call politically correct behavior, which is at its most basic an effective protocol that allows people who have little sense of what’s right and wrong to develop a set of behaviors that allows them to mimic tolerance, acceptance and understanding without any real grasp of the concepts.
These children that I’ve observed on the streets in Istanbul (and Paris ) many with no shoes, occupy a space in our cultures that tests what we are made of as individuals and as a group. They seem to serve as the most obvious examples of the gulf between what we all say and what we actually do during times when we must make a mandatory dip into our individual reservoirs of politically correct behavior because the reservoir of altruism that we all should have is running dry.