March is Women’s History Month, which is a perfect time to remind folks: trans women are women! Our very own TransLash Media founder, Imara Jones, is a Black trans woman who deserves to be celebrated this month; among her many accomplishments, Imara’s thought leadership was shared at the start of the March 17, 2021 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act. Through TransLash and her many other collaborative projects, Imara tells trans stories to save trans lives.
Keeping that same energy, here is a list (not exhaustive, just a place to start!) of more Black trans women to support and follow every day.
Aaron Rose Philip
Aaron Rose Phillip is an Antiguan-American model who in 2018 became the first Black, transgender, and disabled model represented by a major modeling agency. A powerful history-making artist, she also has a book published through HarperCollins called This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability). Aaron Rose actively works towards a more inclusive industry through editorial features, and was even profiled by the New York Times. Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
Angelica Ross is typically recognized for her outstanding work on the FX television series POSE, and her work as an actress – but don’t limit your knowledge of her there. She is also the President of Miss Ross, Inc. as well as the Founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, a platform that helps people out of poverty through various technical trainings and digital work as well as providing economic empowerment to marginalized communities. Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
Aria Sa’id is an advocate and political strategist based in San Francisco. Founder and CEO of both The Compton Transgender District – the world’s first trans district, and the Kween Culture Initiative, a social and cultural empowerment project for Black transgender women, Aria’s work lends itself to transgender individuals experiencing themselves as confidently, beautifully, and safely as possible.
Elle Hearns is the Founder and Executive Director of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a non-profit organization aimed to protect the human rights of Black transgender people. She’s also an accomplished writer whose work has been profiled and featured by a myriad of news and broadcast outlets. Prior to founding MPJI, Elle served as a founding strategic partner to the BLM Global network where she also formerly worked as the interim organizing director.
Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in MMA history. She began fighting after feeling a need to get back in shape and learn to defend herself after transitioning in 2006. On her journey, she found empowerment in her new body and gained a passion for Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. Now retired from fighting, Fallon speaks frequently on the ways that contact sports can empower women of all stripes, and how all of this fits within her perspective as a feminist. Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
Hope Giselle is a Organizer, Author, Artivist, and DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) specialist. She is also the Director at GET Phluid, a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training program curated to provide companies, and organizations, with skills to spearhead inclusion initiatives and create affirming spaces in the workplace for the LGBTQIA+ community; specifically transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals.
Miss Major is a Black, transgender activist who has spent over fifty years creating a better world for the trans/gender nonconforming community. Major was a member of the infamous Stonewall Riots, and is a former sex worker, and survivor of Dannemora Prison and Bellevue Hospital’s “queen tank.” She is Executive Producer of the documentary Trans in Trumpland and is currently writing a book on her life’s activism, set to be out in late 2021 through Verso Books. Follow here: Instagram
Mojo Disco is a Personality, Curator, Designer, Poet, Model, and Artist from NYC. She is the creator of the popular underground event Paint And Poetry, and also serves as a New York Fashion Week show producer and runway coach, as well as expressing her passion for change through motivational speaking, writing, and teaching. Mojo considers herself an activist for the “Arts, Equality, and Love.” Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
Raquel Willis‘ work is aimed towards elevating the dignity of Black, transgender people, though not limiting it to a single marginalized community. She’s an activist, award-winning journalist, and media strategist. Some past accomplishments: National Organizer for the Transgender Law Center, Executive Editor for Out Magazine, and more.
Toni-Michelle Williams is a powerhouse with a body of work that encompasses activism, entertainment, community mobilization and more. She is the Executive Director at Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative – SNaP Co., a Black, trans, and queer-led organization that “builds safety within our community, investing in our collective embodied leadership, and building political power in Atlanta, GA.” In 2015, she was able to successfully launch the Trans Leadership Connection internship program, and continues to work towards expanding her impact and changing the world. Follow here: Twitter
Tourmaline is an artist, activist, and filmmaker whose work has transformed our abilities and access to better understand who we are. From spending a decade researching Marsha P. Johnson to solo exhibits in New York, her work envisions liberation every step of the way. Tourmaline currently has permanent exhibitions in the Tate Museum, MoMa, and Brooklyn Museum. You can find some of her features, including the TIME 100 list, through her instagram bio link. Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
Xaria James is an activist, fitness enthusiast, and influencer, as well as being the CEO of Xaria James LLC. Xaria’s giving spirit has led her to leading a fundraiser in support of the National LGBTQ Task Force which went on to collect over $1,300 for the Winter Party (for which she’s an official influencer), a party originally thrown in 1994 to raise money to combat an anti-gay ballot initiative. She currently works in Hospitality Management & Tourism in Miami and advocates as often as possible. Xaria recently contributed a piece for TransLash Zine Vol. 2: Holiday Survival Guide. Follow here: Instagram + Twitter
SUPPORT BLACK TRANS WOMEN: SOME RESOURCES
- Learn more about Black trans-led and Black trans-serving organizations and initiatives here.
- Meet & support #TheRoot100 Honoree Mariah Moore, co-founder of House of Tulip in New Orleans, in this #LivesAtStake interview with Imara Jones.
- Read the Transgender Law Center’s Trans Agenda for Liberation Pillar 1: Black Trans Women & Black Trans Femmes: Leading & Living Fiercely here.
- Black Trans Femmes in the Arts (BTFA) is an art collective for Black trans women and non-binary femmes. BIPOC non-binary femmes are always valid.
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