What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?

What Will It Take For People To Care About Black Trans Women?

The ignored epidemic of violence against black trans women.
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When I started writing this article, it was about yet another black trans women who was murdered. But in just two days, three more murders were reported. This brings the total for murders of black trans women in 2017 to six.

And it's only March.

None of this is a new phenomenon. 2015 and 2016 were the deadliest years on record for trans women of color in the United States, with the majority of victims being black. 2016 also saw the release of the largest ever survey of trans Americans. The survey found that trans people were marginalized in every level of society, with black trans women bearing the brunt of that marginalization.

That's just in the United States. In Brazil, an average of one LGBTQ+ person is killed a day. 40 percent of these murders involve trans women, more specifically black trans women.

All this has meant that the average life-expectancy for a trans woman of color in the Western Hemisphere is a mere 35. You would think that a fact as horrifying as this would spur us into action but it doesn't. Most people aren't even aware of it.

There have been no rallies for black trans women, no celebrity shows of support or even the slightest show of public outrage. Mainstream LGBTQ+ organizations, like HRC or GLAAD, have also merely paid lip service to this epidemic of violence, choosing instead to focus on more privileged queer folks.

Even in marginalized communities, oppressive power structures still exist within us. White supremacy and cisnormativity infect the queer community, creating power structures where black trans women are at the absolute bottom of the list. This is something we must acknowledge and resist.

Black trans women threw the first stones at Stonewall and have always been on the frontlines of LGBTQ+ liberation. So it's frankly unacceptable that we, as white queer people, haven't shown up for them when they've shown up for all of us time and time again.

We live in a time of mass political engagement. Millions of people, some of whom who have never done so in the past, have taken to the streets to resist the Trump Administration's fascist agenda. All that is inspiring, but if our resistance isn't intersectional, it will fail.

So when we are fighting for queer liberation in the time of Trump, we need to not only acknowledge black trans women, but to focus on their voices and their experiences. If we don't do that, we will continue to reproduce oppressive structures within our community, which will result in more senseless black, trans deaths.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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I'm Proud That Transgenders Are Being Protected  In The South

Transgenders are human also!

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Having Gender Dysphoria isn't something that we take lightly and it can be a scary thing to deal with. The Transgender Community doesn't need hate on top of the treatments that they are doing through their doctor. The treatments that a Transgender person take will last for the rest of their lives if they continue the transition. I'm so thankful that Tennessee became the first state to implement protections for Transgender people. This is a win for the stereotypes surrounding southern people as well. This shows that southern people can be progressive.

Being Transgender isn't an easy journey for a lot of the community. They have to go through treatments for the rest of their lives and that can be a pain. My Husband, who is transgender, is one of the strongest MEN I know. The fact that Tennesse implemented protections for his community is amazing and inspires us to leave Florida for traveling purposes. This would be the beginning of dissuading people from attacking people because they are who they are. With these protections in place, the next step to continue to educate those who are ignorant. It truly puts a damper on things when they get attacked on top of doing their treatments.

Tennessee doesn't have an exclusive "hate crime" charge but there are factors when sentencing individuals who've committed crimes based on race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry. They added gender to the list just recently in order to extend protection to those of the transgender community as well as the cisgender community. This is a big win for the community because it adds protects and inspires tolerance. The fact that we keep attacking those based off of physical attributes shows that we are still backward in thinking.

I'm sure the majority of us have an idea of stereotypes surrounding southerners and the south. Most people think we homey, traditionalist and backward folk that drinks sweet tea and eats BBQ every day. Growing up in Florida with my family, I had the best of both worlds. I had a forward-thinking mindset but traditional southern values. The fact that Tennessee being progressive with their protections of the Transgender Community brings the south more into progressive thinking. Mind you, Tennessee has been progressive for a while now but this puts the icing on the cake.

The fact that the south is becoming not the homey traditionalist region that it used to be is a cause for celebration. There are transgenders in every part of this country and we should protect them. They are human and deserve to be 100% themselves. Tennessee doesn't have an exclusive "hate crime" charge but there are factors when sentencing individuals who've committed crimes based on race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry. It inspires my husband and me to continue to travel in places that he wouldn't be generally accepted and it's a blessing. Traveling to Tennessee is now on my husband and I's bucket list.

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