We should be listening to, uplifting, and protecting BIPOC trans women. I chatted with four BIPOC trans women this week so that I could share their voices with you.
So here are five things you should know about trans women and their experiences—
- 98% OF TRANS PEOPLE KILLED THIS YEAR WERE TRANS WOMEN OR TRANS FEMININE FOLKS
79% of the 28 trans people murdered in the USA were people of color. Of the 11 trans people murdered in Europe, 50% were migrants. 82% of all the registered murders were in Central and South America; 43% in Brazil. 62% of murdered trans people whose occupation is known were sex workers. 
“There seems to be a war on black trans/femme bodies. We are told to live reductive lives and upon doing so we’re hunted and left for dead. We’re misgendered to sooth the egos of cis-het men and women who feel either threatened, intrigued, disgusted, and sometimes a mix of the three. The ideology surrounding black trans women/femmes is flawed to say the least, but what’s even more alarming is the rate at which we are being picked off and the lack of support there is the issue.” – @HOPEGISELLE
“Surviving past the average life expectancy for BIPOC trans is important, but it can’t be the only thing that I get out of life. I also deserve to thrive and enjoy the little things in life that brings me joy as well like everyone else.” – @EMPRESSILLUSIONS
- RECOGNIZE PRIVILEGE EVEN AS ANOTHER QUEER PERSON
We must recognize that different identities can compound, resulting in even more marginalization.
Remember someone can be trans & racist. Someone can be gay & transphobic. We all must recognize that our marginalization doesn’t stop us from marginalizing. We must step into this learning together to be the best allies we can.
“I find myself exhausted when I have to consistently lead by example in spaces that are dominated by white people in a patriarchal society. I don’t think white folks will ever know the amount of restraint I’ve to conjure for myself in order to hold back in efforts to not hurt their white feelings.” – @EMPRESSILLUSIONS
- IT IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT TRANS WOMEN
Everyone means EVERYONE. This absolutely includes all the cis straight folks out there. But it also includes the gay cis folks, too. And the trans masc folks. It is all of our responsibilities to learn from & advocate for our trans sisters.
“There’s a lot to be said as it pertains to the woeful silence and taciturnity of our LGB brothers, sisters, & community. Where are you? And how are you showing up for trans folks as they have done for you since Stonewall? How are you repaying the debt to those who live under the same imputation as you and still make time to fight for the community at large? What are you actively doing to dismantle this plight in your everyday life? If the answer is nothing, it’s time to make some moves.” – @HOPEGISELLE
- STOP FETISHIZING TRANS WOMEN
IT’S DEHUMANIZING: “When cis men solicit sexual behavior without my consent and make disgusting advances, I feel dehumanized and like I’m not worthy because I don’t meet a ridiculous standard of theirs that was set by white people.” – @EMPRESSILLLUSIONS
IT’S NONCONSENSUAL: “Fetishization is an invasion of my boundaries, because I used to and (still do occasionally) get spammed with nude photos of men despite my profile explicitly stating that men weren’t to send me nudes out of respect.” – @EMPRESSILLLUSIONS
IT’S OBJECTIFICATION: When cis men invite trans women into their bedrooms and fantasies, but kill trans women in broad day light, we have a problem. Structural power dynamics in society make nearly impossible for cis folks to “just prefer” or “not prefer” trans folks. Straight cis men’s obsession with trans women’s bodies and genitalia reduces trans women into glorified, dispensable sex toys. This must change.
- EUROCENTRIC BEAUTY STANDARDS HARM BIPOC TRANS WOMEN
Trans women are often expected to conform to societal standards of beauty and femininity even more so than cis women are. Many trans women feel they must conform not only due to social pressure but also due to safety concerns. This can be extremely difficult and exhausting for many trans women, especially when not conforming to society’s (racist) standards can present physical endangerment.
“Navigating my transness as a trans woman of color in a society where Eurocentric features are looked upon as beautiful is difficult. White able-bodied trans people navigate their transness in a privileged way that I will never understand; it seems as if they are very much more palatable for society.” – @XOCHITLARTE
- TRANS WOMEN DO NOT HAVE TO EDUCATE YOU. YOU EDUCATE YOU.
Recognize it is not on trans women to educate you on their experiences. That is your responsibility and there are plenty of resources (like this and my website!) from which to learn.
“One thing I’d like people to know about my experience as a trans woman is how I repeatedly have to use my truth as a teachable moment. Let’s learn and apply! My hope is that we receive the message of just being our beautiful selves and move onto celebrating more of that.”
A LAST QUOTE FROM HOPE. READ IT SEVERAL TIMES.
“Folks on the outside have their blinders on and refuse to acknowledge the inherent and imminent danger that puts us in.
They forget that we, too, are people.
We have the right to the existence we didn’t ask for and deserve to see it past age 35.
The social conversation around black trans women HAS to change. I specifically call out black trans women because of the inordinate amounts of us being not just killed, but targeted both in and by the communities we dwell in.”
Please consider compensating HOPE, MILA, XOCHITL, and ASTERIA for their emotional and educaiton labor that made this post possible.
HOPE: Venmo @HOPE-GISELLE
MILA: Venmo @MILAJAMJAM
ASTERIA: Venmo @ASTERIA-SUMMERS
XOCHITL: Venmo @XOCHITLSOLARTE