TransLash Guide to Trans Bodies, Trans Choices: ‘My Abortion Saved My Life’

In My Abortion Saved My Life, the first short film in TransLash Media’s Trans Bodies, Trans Voices series, Cazembe Murphy Jackson (he/him), a Black trans activist living in Atlanta, Georgia, shares why his access to abortion was vital to his life. After developing severe depression following a sexual assault, and quickly learning he was pregnant, Cazembe’s abortion saved him from suicide. In the first short of Trans Bodies, Trans Choices, Cazembe’s story demonstrates the life-saving urgency of abortion access. 

Explore this guide to access the My Abortion Saved My Life resource links, transcript, and more information about the Trans Bodies, Trans Voices series. Thank you for reading! Be sure to include the #TransBodiesTransVoices hashtag in any signal boost posts on social media. We appreciate you, TransLash family!

‘My Abortion Saved My Life’: Resources

Getting an Abortion

  • Under 18 and need an abortion + free legal representation for judicial bypass? Call or text Jane’s Due Process: 1-866-999-5263
  • The National Network of Abortion Funds connects abortion seekers with grassroots organizations that can support financial and logistical needs here
  • Tips on how to choose a good abortion provider and questions to ask a clinic
  • The Brigid Alliance arranges and funds travel, along with related needs, to support individuals across the country who are forced to travel for later abortion care. 

For Clinicians and Providers 

Calls to Action

  • Sign on and Demand #AbortionWithinReach: Abortion funds have come together to deliver an unprecedented bold statement, explicitly identifying what it means for abortion to be truly accessible for our callers. As we shine a light on these demands, we also want to spotlight independent clinics, who are our partners on the front lines giving support and care to abortion seekers. Independent clinics perform the majority of abortions in the U.S., and show up big as plaintiffs in the monumental cases of the past few years. 
  • Expand the Supreme Court & Save Abortion Rights. Sign the petition here.
  • Talk about abortion! Change culture and shift stigma through powerful, values-based conversations. We believe dialogue, storytelling, and intentional conversations are powerful tools to organize and strengthen our movement. This guide for heart-to-heart abortion conversations from NNAF   and this toolkit from Chicago Abortion Fund will support you to hold a small group gathering, house party, or action space where you can invite your friends, family, and acquaintances into meaningful conversations about abortion, issues that relate to abortion, and why you support abortion funds.
  • Support the Black reproductive justice policy agenda, which outlines proactive policy solutions to address issues at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity within the situational impacts of economics, politics and culture that make up the lived experiences of Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals in the United States.
  • Invest in long-term sustainable models of care that supplement existing structures of support and center the expertise of those who have been laying this groundwork for years so that communities have reliable support systems that contribute to one’s current and future ability to thrive. 
  • We urge all individuals knowledgeable about a person’s reproductive choices to make a commitment to not – under any circumstances – punish, criminalize or report any person for any pregnancy decision or seeking medical assistance for a decision. This includes abortion funders, public health authorities, clinicians, law enforcement, prosecutors, and community members.

‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’ Press

‘My Abortion Saved My Life’ Transcript

[00:00:04] The day I found out that I was pregnant… 

[00:00:07] I didn’t know how to kill myself. I just knew I wanted to die. 

[00:00:14] My abortion saved my life. 

[00:00:18] I’m Cazembe Murphy Jackson, and I’m forty one years old and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

[00:00:29] I call myself an organizer and, um, slash revolutionary. 

[00:00:38] I moved in 2014, and it was like the height of this generation’s black liberation movement. 

[00:00:47] I was born in Austin, Texas. I grew up in a historically black neighborhood. 

[00:00:52] At twelve, I came out as a lesbian and, uh, my mom was like, we need to talk to the pastor. 

[00:01:04] And we went in his office and he was like, being gay is an abomination and. 

[00:01:13] You have to deny any feeling of that or you will burn in hell. 

[00:01:23] I would go back in the closet like I would be like, yeah, this is definitely a sin and I’m hurting myself. 

[00:01:32] One of the best schools in Texas for criminal justice majors is 

[00:01:36] Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. 

[00:01:39] I remember thinking like, I’m about to have a whole new life like I’m about to be as gay as possible. 

[00:01:51] My trajectory changed once I got to school. 

[00:01:54] I didn’t have like a best friend or like a girlfriend. Nothing like that. 

[00:02:03] I don’t think there’s anybody that I went to college with that I’m still friends with today. 

[00:02:10] So it was an impactful time in my life, but a lonely one. 

[00:02:17] I was studying with a group of people from one of my classes, and I was the last one to leave the library. 

[00:02:26] It was probably like one o’clock or something like that in the morning. 

[00:02:30] And usually I definitely was raised not to walk by myself at night. 

[00:02:36] And so I never walked by myself at night. 

[00:02:40] But this night in particular, there was nobody left to walk with. 

[00:02:44] I got to the corner of my dorm and a car with four men pulled up next to me and started talking to me. 

[00:02:58] And I was like, I’m trying to go home. I’m just trying to get to my dorm. 

[00:03:04] I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not interested. And they were like, my homeboy just got out of jail. 

[00:03:10] And he looking for somebody to hook up with. They got out of the car. 

[00:03:16] Three of them got out of the car. The other one drove around to the parking lot. 

[00:03:22] And. Yeah, they. It was like one person held my hands down and. 

[00:03:37] They raped me. Each one. One after another, and they kept saying they kept saying. Yeah. God wants you to know what a real man feels like. That’s what they said to me, and it just takes a real man to make a woman out of you. 

[00:04:07] Eventually they left and I stayed outside. Now, I had some cuts, some I remember it was like on TV… 

[00:04:20] They say, don’t take a shower if you get raped. 

[00:04:23] And so I was like, I can’t take a shower. Who do I call? And I called my mom and talked to her and told her what had happened. 

[00:04:34] And yes, she told me she had basically put a spell on me that I wouldn’t have peace or safety or anything like that. 

[00:04:49] That normal humans get, I didn’t deserve because I was gay. 

[00:04:56] And that I like basically without saying it, she told me that the rape was my fault for being gay. I had missed my period. 

[00:05:05] And I was like, No. Like, please, don’t let me be… 

[00:05:11] I tried to take my life. When I got home, I was like, oh, there’s a Planned Parenthood around the corner. 

[00:05:23] I went and they told me it was going to be $300. 

[00:05:27] I ended up taking out a payday loan. 

[00:05:29] I went back to Planned Parenthood and was like, I’m ready to have abortion. 

[00:05:33] One of the ladies, this Black woman, I don’t remember her name, but she was the sweetest thing. And she…I had told her what happened to me and how I got pregnant. 

[00:05:46] She called the Rape Crisis Center in Austin and was like, told them what happened to me and that I didn’t have insurance. 

[00:05:57] And that I needed therapy. I don’t know who paid for it, or maybe they had a grant or whatever, but I ended up getting into therapy and seeing a psychiatrist and going to group therapy actually after that. 

[00:06:14] So a lot of times when I talk about my abortion, I say my abortion saved my life. 

[00:06:19] Efforts to limit abortion access are coming from everywhere. The Supreme Court. 

[00:06:31] Different state governments. Just about every state in the South has some kind of law on the books or either trying to get on the books. 

[00:06:41] I think it’s important to include trans and queer and non-binary folks in the conversations about abortion access. 

[00:06:49] One, because inside of the trans community, there’s not a lot of talk about abortions or uteruses… 

[00:06:58] Especially once people have gone through like a medical transition. They don’t want to talk about the past. 

[00:07:04] And I feel like because there are other people other than women that get abortions, there needs to be people telling their stories, because stories have power. 

[00:07:16] It’s a lot of stigma around abortion. There’s a lot of stigma around being trans, but neither one of those mean we don’t exist. 

[00:07:27] My commitment was I’m a commitment to loving myself so deeply that others aren’t inspired to love 

[00:07:35] Themselves just as deep and. 

[00:07:40] When I started on that journey, it was actually more about young, queer and trans youth than it was about me, but it was like, I see people looking at me. 

[00:07:52] I organize with a lot of young black people. And so I was like, these people are paying attention to me, they’re watching how I move. 

[00:08:00] So if I want them to know that it’s okay to love themselves, then I have to figure out how to love myself. 

About ‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’

As abortion rights hang in the balance, TransLash will spotlight the reproductive justice needs of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people through a video series which gives voice to those often left out and left behind in the current conversation.  Reproductive justice has been critical, even life saving for our community.  That’s why we will focus on these trans stories throughout this Trans Month of Visibility to center trans people and bring our community out of the shadows on this important topic.

Three powerful stories will be told through the anchor, short-film series, Trans Bodies, Trans Choices. Watch on all @translashmedia social channels, YouTube, and at translash.org/watch. Subscribe for alerts sent straight to your inbox: translash.org/connect

“My Abortion Saved My Life” (March 14)

Cazembe Murphy Jackson (he/him), a Black trans activist living in Atlanta, Georgia, shares why his access to abortion was vital to his life. After developing severe depression following a sexual assault, and quickly learning he was pregnant, Cazembe’s abortion saved him from suicide. In the first short of Trans Bodies, Trans Choices, Cazembe’s story demonstrates the life-saving urgency of abortion access. 

“I Didn’t Think I’d Make It” (March 21)

 After an accident with a partner, Stann (they/them) tells their story of seeking an abortion in southern New Mexico. After receiving an abortion, Stann was able to use that experience with their doctors to argue the case for a total hysterectomy for trans-affirming care. Their experience explores the importance of both reproductive and gender-affirming care for body autonomy in medical care.

“Trans Bodies, Trans Choices” (March 28)

After an unplanned pregnancy and unsuccessful Plan B contraceptive, Jack Qu’emi (they/them) sought abortion access in southern Florida. Already an experience that brought on strong feelings of gender dysphoria, Jack’s abortion was made worse by dealing with transphobic health professionals. Now, they advocate for trans inclusion and diversity training for abortion providers. Their story highlights the need for care providers to include transgender and gender non-conforming patients in their understanding of reproductive access. 

The release of each film will be followed by weekly activations online, including TransLash Podcast, Instagram Live, and Twitter Spaces conversations. The series will culminate in a virtual Trans Bodies, Trans Choices town hall co-hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force on March 23rd.  The Trans Bodies, Trans Choices campaign will conclude on March 31st, Trans Day of Visibility. Be sure to follow our partners: @birthequity @thetaskforce @womensmarch @abortionfunds.

CREDITS:

Imara Jones, Creator and Executive Producer

Ruby Rose Collins, Director & Producer

Tiler Wilson, Director & Producer

Jahmia Phillips, Director of Photography 

Nathan DuConge, Assistant Camera / Camera Operator (Ep2)

Harper Harris, Sound Operator (Ep2)

Rajee Samarasinghe, Editor

Jakob Sweet, Sound Mixer

Kalyn Jacobs, Assistant Camera / Camera Operator (Ep3)

Flora Kamimoto, Sound Operator (Ep3)

Daniela Capistrano, Digital Strategy & Social Media Lead


Did you find this resource helpful? Consider supporting TransLash today with a tax-deductible donation.

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