Follow Friday: Inspiring Black Trans Women
This Follow Friday is an opportunity to celebrate some amazing black trans women. Black trans women face significant challenges in our society. The US Trans Survey reports that trans women of color are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty and four times more likely to be unemployed. The HIV rate among black trans women was an astounding 19%. Black trans women, however, cannot simply be reduced to a collection of risk factors. The amazing women below are each succeeding in their respective fields and fighting back against racism, transphobia, and misogyny along the way.
Actress Alexandra Grey had a standout cameo performance on season three of the Amazon series Transparent, portraying a trans teenager in foster care (a story line that mirrors her own life). You may also remember Alexandra from her portrayal of trans activist Marsha P. Johnson in an amazing Stonewall themed episode of Drunk History.
Thankfully, we will be seeing much more of Alexandra in the future. She has a recurring role on the miniseries When We Rise. This highly anticipated series, written and produced by Academy Award Winner Dustin Lance Black, tells the history of the LGBT rights movement in the United States beginning with the Stonewall riots.
Monica Roberts, AKA the TransGriot (Gree-oh) is a native Houstonian, GLAAD award nominated blogger, writer, and award winning trans human rights advocate.
She’s the founding editor of TransGriot, and her writing has appeared at the Bilerico Project, Ebony.com, The Huffington Post and the Advocate.
Monica is a 2015 recipient of the Virginia Prince Transgender Pioneer Award. Monica was a GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Blog Nominee in 2014.
Like Dane, Angelica Ross wears multiple has. She is perhaps known best one of the stars of the web series Her Story, a role that has garnered her widespread acclaim exploring dating and relationship issues for trans and queer women.
She is also the founding CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises. TransTech is an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community. TransTech provides services including online community and trainings, helping individuals get the tech credentials they need to pursue or grow their careers.
Fallon Fox is an American mixed martial artist (MMA). She is the first openly African American transgender athlete in MMA history.
Prior to her career in MMA, Fox had served in the Navy as a operations specialist 2nd class for the U.S.S. Enterprise. Fallon was ‘outed’ as transgender and endured transphobia coming from some in in the UFC, but was undeterred. Fallon has become a powerful advocate and role model appearing on ESPN, in the Advocate Magazine, and working as a partner in the Nike #BeTrue campaign.
Dane Figueroa Edidi
Dane Edidi does it all. She is an actress, author, singer, playwright, poet, and priestess. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dane’s poetry collection Baltimore, a Love Letter was written during and after the Baltimore 2015 Riots. The poem that gives this collection its name is both a beautiful reflection on the city as well as a call to action (it is my personal favorite of all of Dane’s poems).
Dane is the author of several novels and novellas including Brew, the fictional story of a trans teenager, which also draws inspiration from Baltimore where the story is set.
Find out more and buy Dane’s work at: www.ladydanefe.com
Elle hearns is a powerful activist, speaker, and community organizer. Elle began her work organizing black trans women in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio in response to the murders of trans women including Cemia Dove, Brittney Nicole Kidd-Stergis,Tiffany Edwards, and Betty Skinner.
Her activism brought her to Washington DC where she worked for Get Equal as a regional coordinator. Elle is known for her leadership on grassroots initiatives including Trans Liberation Tuesday, as well as digital campaigns More Than Marriage, and Raise the Debate.
Elle Hearns has been involved in Black Lives Matter since the very beginning of the movement and currently serves as an organizing coordinator.
Lourdes Ashley Hunter
Healer, orator and academic, Lourdes Ashley Hunter has served as a transformative thought leader and change agent for grass-roots initiatives that impact the economic growth and leadership development of communities disproportionately impacted by state sanctioned violence for over 20 years. Lourdes’ research, curriculum development, global organizing and activism centers healing restoration in social justice change. co-founder and National Director of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC)
Fans tune in weekly to watch Kat Blaque on youtube, and especially the ongoing True Tea advice series. With over 100,000 subscribers, Kat has become a powerful voice speaking candidly about feminism, racial justice, and gender identity & expression.
This list is just a beginning. Which black trans women inspire you and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.