trans incarceration

15 Trans People who Have Made History

I feel it is extremely important to know about the people in our community who came before us. Throughout history trans people have made history by acting as activists, advocates, and just by being themselves in a world at that against them. This list is by no means complete but the point is to highlight some of the trans people who have made history for our community. 

1) Frances Thompson: Frances was most likely the first trans person to testify before a congressional committee in the US. In 1866 she was a victim of the Memphis Riot. The riot occurred when a group of white men went into a neighbourhood where former slaves, such as Frances, lived. They burned buildings and attacked the former slaves. It was on this matter that she testified before the committee. Ten years later she was arrested for “transvestism.”

2) Lucy Hicks Anderson: Lucy was born in 1886 and began living as a woman a young age. She was first married in 1929 and then attempted to get married again in 1944.However, in 1944 her marriage was denied and she was accused of perjury for saying that she was a woman. After then she became one of the first fighters for marriage equality in America.

3) Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson: Marsha is most known for being one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riot in 1969 however her involvement in the LGBT community stretches beyond that. She was the co-founder of S.T.A.R. which provided support and resources for homeless trans youth. She was also heavily involved in the Gay Liberation Front. She fought for LGBT rights and for people living with HIV and AIDS. She supported the community until her life was cut short in 1992 under suspicious circumstances.

4) Sylvia Rivera: Sylvia was also one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riots. At only seventeen years old she co-founded S.T.A.R. She was also a founder of the Gay Liberation Front. She spent a lot of time advocating for trans people, drag queens, and other people who were not included in the mainstream gay rights movement including fighting against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York. She was an advocate for the community until her death in 2002.

5) Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Miss Major was another leader at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the community in New York at the time. In the late 1970s she moved to San Diego and started grassroots movements such as working with a food bank to serve trans women who were incarcerated, struggling with addiction, or were homeless. During the AIDS epidemic she provided people with healthcare and organized funerals often one or more a week.  In 1990 she moved to the San Francisco area where she worked with many HIV/AIDs organizations. In 2003 she began working at the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project where she works to help transgender women who have been imprisoned. She continues to work as an activist to this day.

6) Hiromasa Ando: Hiromasa was a professional speedboat racer in Japan and publically transitioned when he was given permission to start competing as a male in 2002 becoming the first openly trans person in the sport. He also is one of the first openly trans athletes in the world. 

7) Aya Kamikawa: In 2003 Aya made history when she became the first openly transgender person to be elected into office in Japan. She has also worked for the LGBT community both as a politician and before as a committee member for Trans-Net Japan.

8) Trudie Jackson: Trudie Jackson is a long-time activist for the LGBT and Native American Communities. She has worked with the ASU Rainbow Coalition, the Native American Student Organization, The National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Equality Arizona Skip Schrader Spirit of Activism Award, one of the 2013 Trans 100, and Echo Magazine’s 2013 Woman of the Year. She is a huge advocate for the Native American trans community.

9) Kim Coco Iwamoto: When elected to the Hawaiian Board of Education in 2006 she held the highest office of any openly trans person in America. She served two terms on the Board of Education and is now a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

10) Diego Sanchez: Sanchez was the first openly trans person to hold a senior congressional staff position on Capitol Hill in America when he was appointed by Barney Frank in 2008.

11) Kylar Broadas: Broadas is an attorney, professor, and the first openly trans person to testify in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when he spoke in support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2012. In 2010 he founded the Trans People of Color Coalition.

12) Isis King: She became the first openly trans person to be on America’s Next Top Model in 2008. Her openess and involvement in the show and involvement in the show attracted a lot of both negative and positive attention. She has continued to work as a model, role-model, and advocate for transgender people. 

13) Blake Brockington: Blake first made headlines when he became the first openly transgender high school homecoming king in North Carolina. He was also an activist for the LGBT community, transgender youth and fought against police brutality. Sadly, Brockington lost his life at the age of 18 in 2015 after committing suicide.

14) Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano: She has been a human rights and LGBT rights activist in Ecuador for many years. In 2009 she sued the Civil Registry to change her name and set precedent for other trans people to be able to change their names. In 2013 she became the first openly trans person, or LGBT person, in Ecuador to run for office.

15) Ruby Corado: She is an activist born in El Salvador but living in America. She was involved in the Coalition to Clarify the D.C. Human Rights Act which was changed the act to include gender identity and expression. In 2012 she opened Casa Ruby which is the only bilingual and multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C. She has been working for human rights for over 20 years.

Since I’ve been pretty absent the last few months here are some life updates:

- I moved
- One of my siblings came out as a trans woman (so I’ve subsequently started learning a lot about their side of transitioning)
- Through that sibling I’ve been connected with several incarcerated trans women, acting as a source of support and/or information when possible
- Someone who bullied me throughout middle and high school tracked me down so he could apologize and take accountability for what happened
- I’m going to be an uncle pretty much any day now!

terfs: “we’re all about facts and logic. face the ugly truths.”

terf 1: “SRS was performed experimentally in concentration camps by nazi doctors.” (factually untrue)

terf 2: “trans women aren’t victims of violence, they’re perpetrators of violence.” (statistically untrue)

terf 3: “if we let trans women into bathrooms, they’ll attack women!” (factually untrue)

terf 4: “there’s no justification for letting incarcerated trans women transfer from male prisons to female prisons!” (statistically false: trans women are victimized in prison at extremely high rates)

terf 5: “no straight man has ever been attracted to trans women.” (just… completely untrue in society.)

terf 6: “trans women only medically transition so that straight men will find them attractive” (false.)

terf 7: “I’m simply not attracted to trans women. never have, never will. I can always tell the difference.” (implies that all trans women look the same and ignores the existence of stealth cis passing trans women)

terf 8: “trans women need to stay out of lesbian spaces! they are disrupting our Female-only safe space and nobody wants them here.” (ignores all of the lesbians who ARE attracted to or accepting of trans women)


they/them/theirs pronouns. do not delete caption

art by rommy torrico,

Anita Tijoux: Caballito Blanco, vuelve pa’ tu pueblo, no te tenemos miedo, tenemos vida y fuego, fuego en nuestras manos, fuego en nuestros ojos, tenemos tanta vida y hasta fuerza color rojo. La niña María no quiere tu castigo, se va a liberar con el suelo Palestino- #AnaTijoux. I keep seeing Anita popping up left and right on all my feeds so I figured it was time for this goddess to make her appearance. I’m here to celebrate all the passionate babes, lxs cabronxs rebeldes con espíritus indomables. And this muxer is such a babe, cabrona to the max. Everything about her makes my heart swell and feeds the inner fire in me to gritar rebeldía. Linda Chilenita, sigue con tu fuerza y tu magia y yo seguiré admirándote, escuchándote y amándote. You’re my forever crush. Viva Chile, mierda. Mil veces venceremos. Fuera Yanqui de América Latina! Yo te quiero libre Palestina ✊🏽

Chavela Vargas: Ama sin medida, sin límite, sin complejo, sin permiso, sin coraje, sin consejo, sin duda, sin precio, sin cura, sin nada. No tengas miedo de amar. Verterás lágrimas con amor o sin él. #ChavelaVargas. Also, relevant and playing up to the lusty side of me: “tómate ésta botella conmigo y en el último trago… me besas.” Wise words, Chavelita, wise words. Let’s hear it for the amazing queers of color who know what’s up and are down to destroy the system! In case you were needing some love, let me take this time to appreciate your existence and to let you all know that I’m loving and crushing on all of you so very hard. Keep existing and resisting, you irresistibly sexy folx. En tiempos como éstos que el amor es tán escaso, listen to Chavela and think about how nice it is to know that there are other hopeless romantics out there who are willing to love deeply and fully. Sometimes I wonder, Chavela, if you serenade Frida now that you’re both together up in the twinkling cosmos- that’s amor sin fronteras. That’s the kind of love I’m down for. Galactic serenatas that start off with “te amo” o “te quiero” … or tequila. Because sometimes we can crave forever but sometimes for now works just fine for all parties involved. There’s a lot of love and loving to go around (be sure to use a lot of that love on yourself, too), and like Chavela said, you’ll still shed tears with love or without it. So dale and love on.

Hector Morejon: Mommy, Mommy, please come, please come.- #HectorMorejon. Last words of Hector. The cops didn’t even let his mom ride in the ambulance with him. No justice, no fucking peace. Unarmed, 19 years old, murdered by the pigs. Rest in power, hermanito ✊🏽

Terrence Kellom: Rest in power, #TerrenceKellom #FreddieGray, #FelixDavid. Your lives mattered. We’re with you Detroit, Baltimore, New York. No justice, no peace. Stay safe. #justice4terrencekellom #justice4freddiegray #justice4felixdavid #ftp #endpolicebrutality #blacklivesmatter

Maya Angelou: I’ve got a magic charm that I keep up my sleeve. I can walk the ocean floor and never have to breathe. Life doesn’t frighten me at all. Not at all. Not at all.- #MayaAngelou. So many things have frightened me over the course of my life. Some fears I’ve gotten over, others have lessened in intensity, a good few still latch on to me and I still can’t shake them. I don’t believe myself to be an inherently strong or courageous person- I’m as soft and scared as they come, but I’m starting to believe that I do have some magic charm that keeps me safe and grounded when things go bump in the night, when I feel my will and power weakening, when I feel like I don’t want to breathe anymore because it doesn’t seem worth it. I have no idea what else the universe has in store for me, but I’ve been preparing my little self for the tempest that surely awaits me. My nails might dig into the flesh of my fists, my jaw might clench, my legs may shake but my lungs are mighty and I believe in my magic. I’m fed up with being so frightened so release the kraken, life. Wash the fear away.

Ijeoma Umebinyuo: mother, i have pasts inside me i did not bury properly. some nights, your daughter tears herself apart yet heals in the morning.- #IjeomaUmebinyuo. This womxn is a powerhouse! 🌼👊✊🏽🙌❤So much appreciation for her and her beautiful words. Before I get into my Pooh feelings about this quote, let me plug in that Ijeoma is coming out with her new book really soon! Follow this beautiful being on tumblr ( and on IG @theijeoma for more of her work and to find out when the book drops. And now for the heaviness- this quote hits home in some really intense ways. If only my mother knew how I tear away at myself every day. I owe a lot of who I am to her- good and bad- but we’ve done a lot of damage to each other. I still wonder if I’m good enough for her, if she’s proud of me. I don’t even remember the last time she told me how proud of me she was (when it wasn’t related to academics). There’s an ocean of silence, guilt, contempt and disillusionment between us and as much as I try to swim toward her, she just stays on the shore, looking away. I always think that if she could look past my fabulous queerness, then maybe she could see how decent of a person I’ve grown up to be (and that these are not mutually exclusive). Damn it, ma… It’s been 8 years. Why can’t you see how lucky you are?

Catherine Han Montoya: Rest in radiant and powerful splendor, beautiful person. There is not one dry eye tonight. I don’t even know how many lives you’ve touched- so many people are thinking of you right now, of all the great moments they were able to share with you, of how you single-handedly changed their lives with a smile warmer than the sun. How fortunate and honored we have been to have known you even for a moment. You are so rare- you’re something else completely. I wish I could have told you how meeting you and getting to know you completely rocked my world and how much I look up to you, amiga. My thoughts and love are with your wonderful partner, Meredith, and your family. We miss you, you badass. This movement won’t be the same. Look after us, hermana. There’s no way we could ever forget you. Rest ❤✊ Catherine Han Montoya

James Baldwin: It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, & half believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.- #JamesBaldwin. This right here. Every. Single. Fucking. Day. To all the PoCs, non-whites, indigenous, queers, sick and disabled, trans, undocumented, migrant, formerly incarcerated, detainees and all folx that the system is intentionally fucking over- We are enough. We are power. Our lives are valuable. We will thrive. We will. Exist. Resist. Liberate.

Ramona Africa: We know that at this time, more than any other time, revolution is necessary. The time for excuses is over. Every man, woman, and child has to be involved in this revolution whether you want to be or not. When you truly are involved in revolution, it ain’t a category. It deals with every aspect of your life. It’s not a 9-5, it’s not something you deal with for a couple of hours a day and then that’s it. It’s not something you deal with 5 days a week and then take a break on the weekend. These cops ain’t taking no break. These government officials that’s waging war on us ain’t taking no break. It goes past a job; it is work. and anybody that don’t want to be involved in that work ain’t got no right to complain when they’re victimized by the thing they running from and trying to duck. The point is, you’re going to be victimized by this system, by this government, whether you stand up and fight or not.- #RamonaAfrica. This is what revolution looks like. My #wcw is dedicated to this powerful womxn. After the FBI dropped a C4 bomb on the MOVE organization’s home and headquarters in Philly on May 13, 1983, Ramona managed to make it out of the building (suffering permanent scarring from the burns) with a young girl in her arms (Birdie Africa). They were the only survivors of the massacre- the other 11 members (including 5 children) were murdered. She was subsequently charged with conspiracy, riot and several other ridiculous/unfounded counts of assault and sent to prison for 7 years. Today she continues working to bring down the system and to liberate all political prisoners, including fellow MOvE member #mumiaabujamal . Never forget 9/11? How about NEVER FUCKING FORGET THAT THIS GOVERNMENT DROPS C4 BOMBS ON ITS OWN PEOPLE. Never forget… Don’t even get me started. Rest in power Conrad, Delisha, Frank, Netta, Phil, Raymond, Rhonda, Theresa, Tomaso, Tree, and Vincent Africa

Kathleen Cleaver: What I think needs to be examined and explained more fully are the powerful contributions women have made to our resistance against slavery, to our resistance against segregation, to our resistance against racism.- #KathleenNealCleaver. We’re knee-deep into taurus season and I have so much love and appreciation for all the taurus muxeres in my life. Y'all are so strong, focused, creative, loving and protective (as a pisces, I can appreciate all of that- plus, I love me some earth signs). So happy birthday to all the tauruses in my life and happy almost birthday to this queen, Kathleen Neal Cleaver. Power to the people.

actually, in order to be a truly valuable ally, your allyship has to extend beyond trans day of visibility not just in terms of being an ally the rest of the year too but also in the sense that it has to extend to trans issues that don’t fit neatly into a popular hashtag and trans people who can’t participate or are regularly ignored in or distanced from a movement like trans day of visibility

it has to include people who are questioning their gender identity, people who aren’t able to or willing to or interested in coming out, trans people of color, trans people below the poverty line, incarcerated trans people, trans sex workers, intersex trans people, trans people of faith, chronically ill and disabled trans people, neurodivergent trans people, etc.

it has to address the criminalization of sex work, discriminatory policies outside of the united states, intersectionality, incarceration, trans-exclusive ‘safe’ spaces for women, homelessness, discrimination in health care, the needs of trans people in poverty, the sexualization of safe spaces, trans-exclusivity in the mainstream feminist movement, housing discrimination, workplace discrimination, cissexist and binary policies in higher education, trans-exclusive sex education resources, trans erasure in LGB movements and organizations, lack of awareness of history of trans activism, trans panic laws, etc. 

don’t let your activism ignore the needs of those who are most invisible, even on trans day of visibility. don’t let your activism play into structures of discrimination or push aside those issues that are less personally rewarding or simple to address as an ally 

August 27 2016 - Direct Action for Trans Health, No Prisons Manchester, and the IWW Incarcerated Workers Committee marched in protest of the Greater Manchester Police having a space at Pride. They entered the march in front of the group of police marchers and blocked their way. [video]

Queer and trans people are disproportionately affected by prisons in the UK (based on experiences: the exact extent is not known due to a lack of research and transparency from the Ministry of Justice). We are punished for self-defence, and already have higher rates of suicide, self-harm, drug abuse, and other harms which are exacerbated by prison.
We’re here to draw attention to the police presence at Manchester Pride – there’s no pride in keeping people in cages!

No one would deny a diabetic prisoner insulin. No one would sentence a person to a gender change. But because I am transgender, I am denied basic medical care and forced to change gender. Nobody should be sentenced to torture like this.

Ashley Diamond, a black transgender woman who has been denied hormones that she took for nearly two decades before she became a prisoner in Georgia.

The Southern Poverty Law Center warned legal action against the state’s prison officials in violation of the Constitution’s ban against cruel & unusual punishment. If these allegations are true, the officials also breached the department’s own policy, which calls for Georgia’s prisons to provide hormones to all inmates who start taking them before their incarceration.

When I agreed to participate in a recent Sylvia Rivera Law Project campaign, which involved me reading a letter from a member of their Prisoner Advisory Committee, I was not aware of the charges for which she was convicted. If I had been aware of those charges, I would have never agreed to read the letter.

To everyone who has been a supporter of me and my work, as well as for those who have found inspiration in my story, it is important for me to let you know that I have never, nor would I ever, support abuse or violence against anyone, especially a child like Ebony Nicole Williams. This is something I unequivocally do not support.

My intention was to highlight the horrific conditions many trans people experience during incarceration – to shed a light where often there is only darkness.

As far as Hillary goes, she has already been think-pieced to death (a journalist friend suggested I title this column, “There Are No Think-Piece Angles Left on Hillary Clinton’s Campaign and It’s Literally 18 Hours Old with a Year and a Half to Go,” then added, “the rest of the word count can just be ‘HELP’”), so I’ll be brief.

1) Hillary swam through tar to get here, while her male colleagues swam through water, a display of competence and fortitude that must be admired, policy disagreements aside.
2) If she gets elected, she’s going to do some horrible stuff, because that’s what presidents do.
3) Reproductive rights are in a shambles, and if the GOP wins in 2016, women are going to die.
4) A rich, hawkish, white woman from an entrenched political dynasty is hardly the progressive candidate I would design from scratch, and I would very much like to hear Hillary’s stances on reparations, police brutality, mass incarceration, homeless trans youth, ending the systems of oppression that keep millions of people trapped in cycles of grinding poverty and, while she’s at it, the revocation of Scientology’s tax exempt status.
5) If Hillary is nominated, I will vote for her and probably get a little cry-snot on my ballot.
—  Lindy West, ‘Hillary Clinton plus the presidency adds up to far more than a symbol’

#redefiningrealness is out in #paperback on DECEMBER 2 via @atriabooks. Here’s a sneak peek!
#Paperbacks are cheaper, more accessible and enable me to do a brand new #transbookdrive this holiday season (specifically for incarcerated #trans folk!). It’ll launch next week. Order your copy now! #girlslikeus #twoc #bookshelfie

Made with Instagram

Watching this trailer for Laverne Cox’s forthcoming documentary about CeCe McDonald, a day after Jared Leto’s Oscar win for playing a transgender woman, I’m thinking:

If you’re a cisgender actor playing a trans woman, and the experience of learning about trans issues doesn’t compell you to speak out at every possible moment in support of trans women and against anti-trans violence and incarceration, then how could you have POSSIBLY done a good job understanding and portraying that character in the first place? 

Corrections rushed Jade’s application through and she was moved to a women’s prison facility yesterday. We’re all indescribably relieved she’ll be safer now. At the same time, we recognise that the Corrections is actively concealing how many other trans people it’s incarcerating and refusing to provide data on the levels of violence experienced by trans people behind bars. We’re glad Jade is safe, but we’re only getting started.

I just learned a trans woman is being sentenced to incarceration in a men’s prison in my area.

There’s a petition. Web petitions are totally worthless but still sign it if you’ve got a moment:

Like this is an obvious sign that we need to get organized here and create some actually effective resistance. Though the trans women I’ve met in Somerset are usually older and wealthier and more conservative, I can’t get out the house most days, so finding people working to help incarcerated trans women here seems pretty fucking hopeless.

I know there are organisations against prisons and in support of lgbt+ prisoners here in the UK. It’s well past time I got in touch and gave them what support I can, if only writing letters to trans prisoners. But, fucking. Fuck. It’s happening right here! Like, this isn’t remote - if I had my shit together I could help incarcerated trans women and I don’t. Yet.

(This is all properly capitalised because I am typing on my phone which ironically makes it look like I’m putting more effort in and feeling less emotional.)

anonymous asked:

What is this blog's opinion on transracial/ethnic individuals? I'm having a very hard time figuring out my stance on this as a transgender individual. I don't want to dismiss any identities, but at the same time, it sorta sounds like appropriation and supportion of stereotypes? I've tried doing research but people who identify as transrace usually just say how race is a social construct, and it reminds me of how we sometimes describe gender? I'm not a person of color either, so any opinions?

Emery says:

1. “This blog” doesn’t have opinions on anything. We, the mods, speak from our various experiences, identities, and thoughts, and none of us claims to represent the rest of us, nor all people of our race/gender/disability/etc. Of course there are some issues that are more clear-cut, like the incarceration of trans women in men’s prisons or the murders of unarmed Black men by police, where I presume all the mods here are in agreement, but still, we never speak for anyone but ourselves.

2. Transracial and transethnic are already concepts that exist. They refer to when a child is adopted by parents of a different race or ethnicity than the child themselves. For example, a Chinese kid with white parents would be a transracial adoptee. These words mean something already, and they don’t mean “Black person born in a white body” or anything of the sort. Using them in that way is a denial of the existence and experience of transracial adoptees, as well as just plain racist.

3. While race, like gender, is a social construct and its labels are arbitrary and primarily hold meaning because society gives them meaning, unlike gender, race has a heritable component to it. The race and ethnicity of your biological parents affects your race and ethnicity. This is not true of gender. This is why we have words like “cultural appropriation.” Though the societal hierarchy of race is socially constructed, as are the labels of “Black” and “white,” the existence of diverse cultures and peoples around the world is not constructed, and the uniqueness of those people’s cultures is not constructed, and the fact that those cultures belong to those people and not others is not constructed. Gender cannot be appropriated because it is not claimed or coined by one group of people.* Culture (and therefore race and ethnicity) are, and can be.

*I should note that there are indeed culturally-specific genders, and that those genders can indeed be appropriated. For example, words like “boi” and “nullagender” were coined by Black communities and are Black-exclusive, the concept of hijra is unique to South Asia, and many Native communities have different meanings and roles for two-spirit people. None of these genders can be used by people from outside those cultures. But this does not apply to the concept of gender at large.

4. You might note that the people who claim to be this sort of “transracial” are pretty much always white. You might also note that white people never are allowed to decide what is or isn’t racist. You might note that pretty much all people of colour oppose this notion of “transracial” as racist bullshit. You might, as an aspiring ally, choose to listen to the people with real lived experiences on this topic (i.e. people of colour and transracial adoptees) and hear their words and believe them (rather than me, a white person).