TransLash is a multi-episode, cross-platform project that focuses on what it’s like to transition and be trans–particularly a trans person of color–at a time of social backlash. Initially distributed as a docuseries on YouTube and Facebook, TransLash follows the transition story of journalist, host and Soros Equality Fellow Imara Jones, , as well as that of the larger trans community in this moment of heightened visibility, social tension and reckoning with issues of gender identity. Each episode for the web series is 12-20 minutes in length. Episode 1 premiered August 5, 2018 with Episode 2 doing the same on October 5, 2018.
The most recent episode, “Family Matters,”—the subject of a feature in The Guardian— takes a deep dive into the topic of family exploring the essential role of birth families in shaping trans people, either positively or negatively, and the crucial role played by chosen families as either a backstop, or enhancement, of these initial experiences. It also dives into the the reality that chosen family in queer communities is the basis of activism for LGBTQ individuals and therefore plays a central role in advancing social justice overall.
Overall viewership for TransLash’s content online is approaching 100,000 with thousands of followers across social media platforms.
Moving forward, in 2020, Episodes 4 and 5, dealing with The Future of Trans, both in the United States and around the world, will roll out in March and June respectively. Episode 6 will continue the forward-looking theme by exploring the link between mental health for trans people and the formation of loving relationships for release in September 2020.
Before this exciting new content, in 2019, we will have two Facebook Live conversations on topics critical to the trans community and three, live-audience events including at Samsung Mobile, The Open Society Foundations, and The New York Women’s Foundation.
In addition, for 2020, we have groundbreaking expansion goals in VR/XR and podcasts, as well as special coverage of that year’s General Election through a trans lens.
TransLash premiered during Netroots Nation to packed national and local audience at the New Orleans LGBTQ Center. It has been screened on campuses and locations across the country. Episode 1 premiered August 5, 2018, with Episode 2 following on October 5, 2018.
The core question asked by TransLash overall is “why have Trans people, especially those of color, decided to embark on a journey made even more risky by the social climate?”
The definition of transition is broad here and includes social, medical and/or legal types of changes. It also encompass Trans and gender non-conforming people who have decided to raise their public profile in this moment. At the heart of TransLash is a meditation on America’s promise of full equality, scrutinized through the prism of Trans people of people of color at this moment in time. Key events in the series center on preparation for Imara’s breast augmentation surgery, her recovery, visiting family for the first time in Southwest Georgia, and an overall journalistic exploration of where America is on trans rights.
Interwoven around these story points are interviews with leaders of LGBTQ non-profits such as the Transgender Law Center and the Anti-Violence Project; medical professionals such as the founders of the Center for Transgender Medicine at Mt. Sinai, surgeons at NYU Langone Health, and doctors at Callen-Lorde who developed some of the first transition protocols.
TransLash grounds these big-picture conversations in the real world stories of other Trans people from all walks of life, enabling them to tell their own truths in their words. The fourth episode on the future of Trans will include interviews with famous, groundbreaking, and historic Trans figures in public life to explore Trans people’s role in shaping society in the years to come.
Community engagement is at the very heart of TransLash. It is why since the beginning of the project, we have involved institutions that are at the very heart of the lives of Trans people of color, such the Transgender Law Center; Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (the largest provider of healthcare for Trans people of color in the United States); and Anti-Violence Project; as well as leading artists and activists.