On June 14, more than 15,000 people gathered on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum to protest the violence, harassment, and discrimination faced by Black trans people in this country. The effects of this systemic bigotry have never been easier to see—last fall, the American Medical Association designated the killing of trans women of color an epidemic. Even as the event was being planned, Riah Milton was shot multiple times in Liberty Township, Ohio; less than 24 hours earlier, Dominique Fells, known as Rem’Mie, was found stabbed to death in Philadelphia. Nationwide, Black Americans have been dying of COVID-19 at three times the rate of their white neighbors. And several days before the march, the Trump administration erased an Obama-era regulation that protected trans people against discrimination by doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies, a move the White House announced in the middle of Pride Month.
The Brooklyn Liberation march was the brainchild of West Dakota, a drag queen from Brooklyn. After she asked friends to help, more than 150 volunteers joined the organizing committee; five Black trans-led organizations joined the effort. She asked Mohammed Fayaz, known for illustrations he makes for the artist collective Papi Juice, to design the widely shared poster (reproduced below). West Dakota modeled the march after one of the most memorable protests in New York City’s history, in 1917, when nearly 10,000 people assembled by the NAACP dressed in white and silently marched down Fifth Avenue to demand an end to federal tolerance of lynching and other forms of racial terror against Black people. “We conceived of it as a silent event, and expected it to be a reflective, somber experience,” West Dakota told me. “But when everyone arrived, there was so much joy at being together as a community.”
The size and urgency of the Brooklyn march surprised not only onlookers and participants, but the event’s organizers. “The violence that’s affecting Black trans women and Black trans folks is finally getting the attention that it deserves,” one of them, Eliel Cruz of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told the New York Times.
How right he was became clear the following day, when the US Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and trans employees from discrimination. Years of litigation preceded the ruling; expectations of the conservative court were low. Unexpectedly, justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch joined the liberal wing of the court in the 6-3 decision. The majority opinion, written by Trump appointee Gorsuch, proclaimed that no discrimination based on sex means exactly that. Writing in the New Yorker, author Masha Gessen called the ruling “the single biggest victory in the history of the L.G.B.T.Q.-rights movement.”
In solidarity with the ongoing struggle to ensure equality and justice for everyone, we share the following list of resources and organizations that are helping Black trans people and their communities.
—Alex Halberstadt, Senior Writer, Creative Team
A membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City.
The Audre Lorde Project
A lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans, and gender nonconforming people of color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area.
Photo by Cole Witter, 2020
Homeless Black Trans Women Fund
Fund for the community of Black trans women that live in Atlanta and are sex workers and/or homeless
House of GG
The Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center’s mission is to create programs, services, and resources that positively impact the lives, history, and visibility of transgender, gender-questioning, and gender-nonconforming people.
The Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative
A Black, trans-led, broad based collaborative to restore an Atlanta where every person has the opportunity to grow and thrive without facing unfair barriers, especially from the criminal legal system
Transgender Law Center (TLC)
The largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures
Third Wave Fund
An activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans people under 35 years of age to resource the political power, well-being, and self determination of communities of color and low-income communities
Unique Woman’s Coalition
The first Los Angeles–based supportive organization for and by transgender people of color, committed to fostering the next generation of Black trans leadership from within community through mentorship, scholarship, and community care engagement work
Black Trans Women Inc.
A national nonprofit organization committed to providing the trans-feminine community with programs and resources to help inspire individual growth and contributions to the greater good of society to meet its mission of uplifting the voice, heart and soul of Black transwomen
Black Trans Men Inc.
The first national nonprofit social advocacy organization with a specific focus on empowering African American transgender men by addressing multilayered issues of injustice faced at the intersections of racial, sexual orientation, and gender identities
Trans Women of Color Collective
TWOCC exists to create revolutionary change by uplifting the narratives, leadership, and lived experience of trans people of color.
BreakOUT! seeks to end the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to build a safer and more just New Orleans, organizing with youth ages 13–25 who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system.
A trans-led project uses the power of individual stories to help save trans lives, shifting the cultural understanding of what it means to be transgender, especially during a time of social backlash, to foster inclusion and decrease anti-trans hostility.
Photo by Cole Witter, 2020
A trans-led trans-issue focused organization whose mission is to empower the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Georgia through community organizing with leadership building, advocacy, and direct services
My Sistah’s House Memphis
A trans-led nonprofit providing first-hand experience as well as field research to create a one-stop shop for finding doctors, social groups, and safe spaces for the trans community, providing emergency shelter, access to sexual health services, and social services.
Princess Janae Place
Provides referrals to housing for chronically homeless LGBTQ adults in the New York Tri-State area, with direct emphasis on trans/GNC people of color.
The Transgender District
Aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces.
Collective Action for Safe Spaces
A grassroots organization that uses comprehensive, community-based solutions through an intersectional lens to eliminate public gendered harassment and assault in the DC area
The Knights and Orchids Society
Strives to build the power of the TLGB community for African Americans throughout rural areas in Alabama and across the South, to obtain our dream of justice and equality through group economics, education, leadership development, and organizing cultural work.
Supports trans women of color in Memphis, TN, through education and empowerment, with the goal to ensure that transwomen of color have the same equity and quality of life as envisioned.
An organization that strives to foster unity, provide safe sex awareness and education, linkage to resources, emergency housing assistance, and to empower the community to make positive lifestyle decisions.
Photo by Cole Witter, 2020
An organization dedicated to ending violence against Black trans women and trans women of color based in San Francisco
Black Trans Task Force
BTTF is an intersectional, multigenerational project of community building, research, and political action addressing the crisis of violence against Black trans people in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
Trans Sistas of Color Project Detroit
Exists to uplift, impact, and influence that lives and welfare of transgender women of color in Detroit.
Garden of Peace, Inc.
Centers Black trans and queer youth, elevates and empowers the narratives and lived experiences of Black youth and their caretakers, and guides revolutionary spaces of healing and truth through art, education, and mentorship.
House of Pentacles
HOP is a film training program and production house designed to launch Black trans youth (ages 18–35) into the film industry and tell stories woven at the intersection of being Black and trans. We have a simple mission: to train the next generation of Black trans storytellers and filmmakers, to leverage our brand to get Black trans filmmakers paid projects in their communities, and to pay Black trans trainees to work on HOP projects that further the stories of Black trans people globally.
Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition
Committed to improving health care access and the quality of health care received by trans and gender nonconforming people through education, resources, and advocacy.
Arts and entertainment media production company for LGBTQ people of color that promotes, produces, and co-creates opportunities and events utilizing innovative artistic methods and strategies
Baltimore Safe Haven
Providing opportunities for a higher quality of life for transgender people in Baltimore City living in survival mode
Photo by Cole Witter, 2020
Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts
Critical assistance for low-income and transgender people living in Massachusetts
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.
Kween Culture Initiative
Promotes the social and cultural empowerment of transgender women of color.
Black Trans Travel Fund
A mutual aid project developed to provide Black transgender women with the financial resources to self-determine safer alternatives to travel, so they feel less likely to experience verbal harassment or physical harm