Anda di halaman 1dari 24

—In This Issue———————

Stiletto March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

2 Greetings from SJI

3 Sistahs Doin’ It For

Ourselves 2014

4 Good News

6 Justice for Jennifer Laude

6 First Trans Mayor in India

7 Prisons Are Not Sexy

7 Southern Poverty Law

Center Case

8 TAJA’s Coalition

9 Letters from the Inside

12 A Herstory of the

15 Reclaiming MLK’s
Legacy of Militant

16 Black Liberation
is for All of Us

17 TGI Justice and


18 Trans Women of Color

Speaking Truth to Power

20 St. Louis Trans Liberation


20 Outreach

SRLP Campaign Victory


22 “Liberation, not

23 Ally Updates
Photo: Julia Carrie Wong
Hello My Precious Dolls: Hello peeps!
TRANSGENDER With all the horrid things that are happen- Just want to send some love and well wishes!
ing, we must be cautious. No matter your living Please know we’re declaring every Tuesday as
arrangements, we are “prey.” Trans Liberation Tuesday!
& INTERSEX There are some wonderful goings on - - - It’s the day’s focus and highlights showing
JUSTICE PROJECT however not what there should be. Let there some love for all trans folks and that’s also the
still be “HOPE.” day we here at TGIJP are responding to mail
TGI Justice Project is a group of trans- We here at TGI Justice are doing as much as from the folks on the inside.
gender, gender variant and intersex we can, with what little we have to work with. We are also working on developing our
We will let you down and keep the light burn- grassroots re-entry plan, so if you know a sister
people—inside and outside of prison—
ing for as long as we can. We’re committed to getting out let them know that we love them
creating a united family in the struggle
you and are here to help, as we believe in our and would love to receive them!
for survival and freedom. We work
community. As I have heard—tomorrow can be It’s all about keeping our community safe
in collaboration with others to forge a better day! and outside of jails and prison.
a culture of resistance and resilience We treasure your letters and calls. It is Much sisterly love and new beginnings!
to strengthen us for the fight against important to maintain our connection so we Please learn to stick together and love on one
imprisonment, police violence, racism, can build a safe haven together. another.
poverty, and societal pressures. We Be safe—as safe as we can be—and stay Charity starts at home. If you are not loving
seek to create a world rooted in self- strong – not physically, but spiritually, emo- your community, ask yourself if you’re loving
determination, freedom of expression, tionally and mentally! yourself.
Love, Please be safe and stay strong!
and gender justice.
Miss Major, Executive Director Janetta Johnson, Program Director

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Executive Director

Janetta Johnson, Program Director
Woods Ervin, Administrative Director
Greetings from the St. James Infirmary!
danni marilyn west, Development Director
The St. James Infirmary is a peer-based health and driven towards justice and liberation. Since
StormMiguel Florez, Leadership Team
& safety clinic for current and former sex work- TGIJP moved in with us, we’ve had some great
Malachi Garza, Leadership Team
ers and their current primary partners. Since opportunities to collaborate on political proj-
Billy Chen, Leadership Team
1999 we’ve been offering services like primary ects, to support each other’s work, and to coor-
Paper Buck, Leadership Team
medical care, mental health care, massage and dinate our services to the maximum benefit of
Kris Hayashi, Leadership Team
acupuncture, support groups, harm reduction our community. Between the legal and social
services, and hormone replacement therapy by support offered by TGIJP and the physical and
and for the trans community. All of our services mental health services of the SJI, there’s a lot
1230 Market St #705 are confidential, non-judgmental and free to the happening by and for the trans community in
San Francisco, CA 94102 sex worker community. In the spring of 2014 our shared space. If there’s any information
we were lucky enough to welcome TGIJP into about our services we can send you, let us know!
our office space. It has been amazing to share And if you’re coming home to the Bay Area, stop
community with an organization so dedicated by and check us out. We’d love to meet you!

2 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

Sistahs Doin’ It For Ourselves 2014
by Woods Ervin, Administrative Director

In October of 2014, 40 members from TGIJP impact on the participants. Just sitting and away from the retreat. We went on a day trip
pulled together for our semi annual retreat. We exchanging with one another what brought to Santa Cruz and visited the boardwalk for
drove over 75 miles from San Francisco to the people to the space and to the organization rides, games and beach time. Everything was
Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, CA to spend 5 was powerful – especially given how brave our not open but we had a fun time just hanging
days and 4 nights in the woods for learning and members were with the pieces of themselves out and playing games and standing in the sand
bonding. that they shared. We also made sure to take near the ocean.
The woods at the Quaker Center welcomed time and write messages of encouragement to All in all, we were able to bond more deeply,
us with towering trees and deep quiet. We set you, our beloved folks inside. which helps make it easier to rely on each
ourselves up in cabins 2-people to a room and Members took time to walk through the other in times of need - which come often. It
settled in. The staff at the Quaker Center was woods and enjoy fresh air – but sometimes also encourages us to fight for our sisters and
generous and lovely, as Quakers often are and folks wanted to shake up the quiet by travelling people inside and out.
made sure that we knew how the space was set
up. The Quaker Center itself is fully stocked
and set up to be a self-sufficient space so we
had full reign of the space. Our beloved com-
munity member Gail was chef for the week and
TGI staff supported her in the kitchen to dish
out delicious meals in one of the beautiful com-
munity lodges that we had available to us. We
made certain to set up Miss Major in an ador-
able little private cottage and she had mem-
bers come and visit regularly to love on her.
Programming consisted of story sharing,
workshops on health and community resources
for trans women and time to practice healing
and spirituality within community. The story
sharing – formally facilitated by Miss Major –
was one of the things we did that had the most Chef Gail at Sistahs Doin’ It For Ourselves 2014

Statements from the Girls from the Retreat

Keep the faith!
Hello Family, ed the
know I’ve shar
I want you to re . M y walk Kathy I am a lesbian trans woman
writing to
tanding be fo
pain and unders th e jo urney
you. I want you to know tha
t I spend
to deal with
of life. I ask you u ha ve peo-
every second of every day ma
king the
be better. Yo world better for you and me
because it shall . Our hard-
ve you.
ple who care. I lo Hang in ther
ships will not last forever, in
time they
e will lay down for us. We will
Be strong. rise again
Mother Toni to where we were in ancient
If you would priestesses and wisewomen,
like a pen pa and you
to TGI, att’n: l, write
and me are walking toward
Trisha Wilson that day
yourself even now. We are doing exa
The greatest love is to love ctly what
because I love you. we need to be do to get the
re, in this
(Please Note life and the next. Rest well in
TGIJP still do who you
es not
offer penpal are, sister.
Ms Billie Cooper services)
Yours in power,

Stiletto 3
Good News Special THANK YOU to Kathy and Beja for compiling the Good News Section

after her exclusion from the Auckland final of The EEOC concluded that Cabela’s probably
January 2014 Battle of the Babes Worldwide. Friends quickly violated the law when denying Blatt access to
Transgender hero CeCe McDonald walks took up the cause and also complained on her the women’s restroom and issued Blatt a right-
free after being paroled two thirds of the way behalf. Organiser and spokesman for Battles of to-sue letter.
through her sentence. McDonald, who had the Babes Andrew Featherstone then decided U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel  stated
been serving out her time in a men’s prison, was Brosnahan could still compete. on network TV news  that the Department of
greeted by Orange Is the New Black star and The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Defense should review the military’s policy that
fellow trans woman Laverne Cox upon her exit. issued guidance which makes clear that prohibits open transgender military service.
Cox is producing a documentary on McDonald, the federal Title IX law prohibits discrimination
slated to be released in 2016, titled Free CeCe! against transgender students.This announce- June 2014
ment was a huge breakthrough for transgen-
San Francisco Pride Grand Marshals this year
der students and made it clear that they can
included TGIJP’s founder, Miss Major, as well
seek protection from the DOE and the courts if
as Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender teen from
the schools fail in their responsibility to ensure
Hercules, CA, who made headlines when she
that they are safe and respected. (Recent
defended herself against schoolyard bullies
research indicates that 4 out of 5 transgender
and ended up being the only one charged. The
students feel unsafe at school).
charges were later dropped.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal
from a studio that refused to photograph a
lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony, let-
ting stand a New Mexico high court ruling that
helped spur a national debate over gay rights
and religious freedom. The justices left in place
a unanimous state Supreme Court ruling last
TGIJP at the SF Trans March
year that said Elane Photography violated New
Mexico’s Human Rights Act by refusing to pho- 2014 marked the 11th anniversary of the San
tograph the same-sex ceremony “in the same Francisco Trans March. It started in 2004 as
way as if it had refused to photograph a wed- a protest march in response to the murder of
ding between people of different races.” Tobias Gwen Araujo. This year, around 7,000 people
Poster by Micah Bazant Barrington Wolff, a University of Pennsylvania participated.
law professor representing the couple, said “no As proof of the changing views toward trans
February 2014 court in the United States has ever found that issues and people, Orange is the New Black’s
a business selling commercial services to the trans actress Laverne Cox was featured on
Author and trans activist Janet Mock’s memoir, general public has a First Amendment right to
Redefining Realness, debuted at Number 19 on the cover of the June 9 issue of Time maga-
turn away customers on a discriminatory basis. zine next to the headline: “The Transgender
New York Times’ nonfiction bestsellers list.
Tipping Point: America’s next civil rights fron-
May 2014 tier.” Cox the first transgender person to ever
Medicare has lifted its ban on coverage for gen- appear on the magazine’s cover.
der reassignment surgery thanks to the con-
clusions of an independent review that found July 2014
existing policy was “not reasonable” given cur- President Barack Obama signed an executive
rent understanding of the procedure. The deci- order extending workplace protections for
sion responds to an administrative challenge gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people
filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay working for federal contractors.
& Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the National
April 2014 Center for Lesbian Rights and civil rights attor-
With California, New York and Oregon imple-
menting new legislation this year, seven states
A New Zealand trans teen made history when ney Mary Lou Boelcke last year.
and the District of Columbia now allow trans-
she became the first trans competitor in a Kate Lynn Blatt, a Pottsville, PA transgender gender people to change the sex designation
national beauty pageant. Amy Brosnahan, 18, woman, has received a favorable finding from on their birth certificate without undergoing
almost did not get to compete in the finals the federal Equal Employment Opportunity surgery, but most states still require it. Ohio,
after initially being dumped when she said she Commission concerning the workplace antibias Tennessee and Idaho still prohibit reissuing or
was trans. She had been in the process of mak- complaint she filed in 2007 against Cabela’s, a amending birth certificates for transgender
ing a Human Rights Commission complaint store that specializes in outdoor sports items. people under any circumstance.

4 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

portrayal of a late-life transitioner, Maura, and
October 2014 her decades-long struggle to come out to her January 2015
very complicated family. The show is partially
based on Soloway’s own experiences after her
parent came out as transgender in 2011.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced in
December that the Department of Justice will
no longer argue that transgender people are
not covered by Title VII, the federal law that
prohibits sex discrimination in employment. Portrait of Monica Jones, by Micah Bazant
Laverne Cox’s TV show, The T-Word, debuted
Activists across the U.S. celebrated a vic-
on MTV. The T-Word follows seven transgen-
tory when Monica Jones, who was arrested
der youths (between the ages of 12 and 24)
in May 2013 in Phoenix under a local law tar-
who tell their stories. “For many of us, the ‘T’
geted at sex workers, won an appeal of her
in LGBT means more than transgender, it also
conviction.  The ACLU tells the story: “When
means truth,” said Cox. “The cast members
an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a
in this documentary are fearlessly living their
black transgender woman, walking down the
truths and in sharing their stories will send the
street, it was enough to convince him that
message to other trans youth that it’s OK to be
she intended to engage in prostitution. It was
who you are.” Left to Right: Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and on that basis that he approached, stopped,
Eric Holder and arrested her.” On the news of her acquit-
November 2014 tal, Jones had this to say: “I am so grateful to
Initial Victory in Trans Prisoner Case - Michelle
Janet Mock launched a Trans Book Drive my legal team and all of my supporters across
Norsworthy, a transgender woman held in a
on IndieGogo that’s raised $10,000 to send the country and world. My conviction being
California men’s prison, was denied gender-
reading materials and care packages to trans vacated is important but it is a small win in our
affirming surgery, even though her treating larger fight for justice.”
inmates through her organization partner
psychologist had repeatedly concluded that it
LGBT Books For Prisoners. For the first time in United States history, the
was medically necessary to treat her gender
In the world of online dating, OKCupid President of the United States has acknowl-
dysphoria. She was also denied a legal name
responded to mounting pressure to expand edged the importance of legal protections for
change because the name she would like to use
gender and sexuality options by rolling out transgender people during his State of the
is a traditionally feminine name. Her lawyers
nine new sexual orientation and 19 new gender Union address to the American people. In his
argued that the prison system’s discrimina-
choices. Google+ recently announced that they speech President Barack Obama stated, “As
tory actions violate fundamental constitutional
will accommodate “infinite” genders by allow- Americans, we respect human dignity… That’s
guarantees, including the Eighth Amendment
ing users to type in their own gender. why we defend free speech, and advocate for
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment political prisoners, and condemn the persecu-
and the Equal Protection Clause. In a recent rul-
December 2014 ing, the federal judge hearing the case rejected
tion of women, or religious minorities, or people
who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. We do these things not only because they’re
The judge held that the facts asserted in the right, but because they make us safer.” Masen
complaint were sufficient to allege a violation Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law
of the Eighth Amendment based upon the Center, commented, “President Obama’s pub-
denial of surgery, because the denial may have lic recognition of transgender people in his
constituted “deliberate indifference” to her State of the Union address was historic. While
“serious medical needs.” The judge also held it seems like a simple thing – saying the word
that discrimination against transgender people ‘transgender’ in a speech – President Obama’s
is a form of sex discrimination and thus that statement represents significant progress
Transparent was honored with two Golden Michelle’s claims alleging discrimination based for transgender people and the movement
Globe nominations: for Best Comedy and upon the denial of surgery and the denial of a towards equality for all.”
Best Actor in a Comedy (Jeffrey Tambor). legal name change are entitled to a heightened
Transparent, created by Jill Soloway (of Six level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection February 2015
Feet Under and United States of Tara), has Clause. The case will now proceed to the dis- Tennessee holds first trans visibility march,
garnered acclaim for its humanistic, layered covery phase. attended by over 100 trans people and allies.

Stiletto 5
Justice for Jennifer Laude!
U.S. Out of the Philippines!
We are deeply saddened by the murder of because of the overwhelming pressure from
Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old transgender the people. However, the U.S. still is not fully
woman from the Philippines, and express our surrendering jurisdiction to the Philippine gov-
deepest condolences to Jennifer’s family and ernment and proper detention, investigation
friends. On October 11, 2014, Jennifer was and justice has yet to be served. The VFA is
found dead, clearly the result of a violent hate an obstruction to justice and enforces unequal
crime towards transgender people. Her mur- relations
der also underscores the ongoing inequality of The extent of U.S. deployment in the
Jennifer Laude. Photo via Facebook
joint US-RP agreements like the Visiting Forces Philippines costs an annual $30 million allotted
Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense by the U.S. Congress and hundreds of millions long-term benefits to the people of either the
Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) are military of taxpayer dollars in other assistance. U.S. or the Philippines. Filipino citizens have
pacts that govern the entry and presence of Such a practice, however, becomes uncon- staged an escalating number of protests to
American troops in Philippine territory, basi- scionable when U.S. funding is used by a regime voice their opposition to the Agreement and
cally giving US military personnel impunity. that – to borrow words from President Barack its violation of Philippine sovereignty.
U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton Obama- “clings to power through corruption In October, GABRIELA USA and BAYAN
accused of killing Jennifer Laude in the and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” by organized and led protests across the USA
Philippines, is now detained in Camp Aguinaldo using extrajudicial-killings, enforced disappear- to protest transphobia and imperialism. In
under the “joint-custody” of both U.S. and ances, forced evacuation of rural communities, SF a hundred people, mostly cis-gender
Philippine authorities. We believe that both illegal detentions, and torture. came together with leaders of El/La Para
governments are making it appear that The VFA, despite the military exercises and TransLatinas and TGIJP to advance towards
Pemberton is under Philippine authority aid, provides absolutely no short-term nor justice and liberation.

First transgender mayor

elected in central India
Editing by Alisa Tang, Reprinted from Reuters | January 5, 2015

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - and dancing in trains - said that she was over- While the landmark judgment was wel-
A city in central India has elected the country's whelmed by her election. comed by human rights campaigners, many
first transgender mayor, nine months after a "People have shown faith in me. I consider say it contradicts the court's reinstatement of
court ruled that transgender be recognized as this win as love and blessings of people for me. a gay sex ban that has resulted in an increase
a legal third gender, local media reported. I'll put in my best efforts to accomplish their in the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
Madhu Kinnar, 35, won the mayoral elec- dreams," Kinnar was quoted as saying. transgender (LGBT) people, forcing many to
tion in Raigarh in the mineral-rich state of "It was the public support that encouraged me conceal their sexual identity.
Chhattisgarh on Sunday, beating her opponent to enter the poll fray for the first time and because
from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party of their support only, I emerged as the winner."
(BJP) by more than 4,500 votes, the Press Activists say there are hundreds of thou-
Trust of India reported in a story published on sands of transgender people in India, but
the news web site because they were not legally recognized,
Television images showed a sari-clad Kinnar, they faced ostracism, discrimination, abuse
with a large red bindi on her forehead, greet- and forced prostitution.
ing supporters who placed marigold garlands Last April, India's Supreme Court recog-
around her neck. nized transgender as a legal third gender and
Kinnar - who is from the Dalit or "low caste" called on the government to ensure their equal
community and used to earn a living singing treatment. Madhu Kinnar, India’s first transgender mayor

6 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

Prisons Are Not Sexy
TGIJP leads in community response
to Pride At The Armory’s prison theme party
On June 28, 2014, the world’s largest Pride incarceration of generations of people of color, privatization of prisons has created a phenom-
after party took a strong step towards injustice gender variant, trans people, and queer people enon of mass incarceration of young Black
by throwing a prison themed play party called is not a sexy trope to throw a play party around. and Latino men, and increasingly women
“Prison of Love.” At a time when public discus- It’s not that we don’t love sex, sex parties, sex too, which has economically, socially, and
sion and media finally had an eye toward the workers, and kink. It’s that we love it as much as politically devastated these communities.
daily systemic violence against trans and queer we love justice, and are appalled by the casual We are not interested in yucking anyone’s
people, this party theme and promotions were use of the Prison Industrial Complex, which yum or shaming anyone who has fantasies or
especially harmful and trivializing. Miss Major, destroys the lives of millions of people and fetishes about ideas of this real-life violence.
TGI Justice Project, Janet Mock, El/La Para kills thousands every year, as a party theme. We are not interested in censorship or policing
TransLatinas, Community United Against The United States has the highest incarcera- anyone’s sex life. We are interested in public
Violence, Trans March, and many other orga- tion rate in the world. In our own LGBTQI com- space and party themes that get us closer to
nizations and individuals organized against and munities, incarceration and significant abuses
liberation from systemic and administrative
sent an open letter to Pride At The Armory perpetrated by the Prison Industrial Complex
violence and do not recreate a culture that
promoters letting them know why prisons constitutes no less than a crisis. According to
normalizes or continues our oppression. Our
are not sexy and demanding that they change the National Center for Transgender Equality,
push back is about navigating the legal and
their theme. Organizers with Gay Shame and nearly 1 in 6 transgender people have been
LAGAI organized a protest at the party. extra-legal targeting and criminalization of our
incarcerated at some point in their lives.
Among Black transgender people, 47% have
From our open letter: been incarcerated at some point in their lives. The party promoters did not respond by
Prisons Are Not Sexy These rates overwhelmingly reflect the expe- meeting our demands to change the theme
This year at least three SF Pride grand mar- riences of transgender women and especially nor to donate proceeds to trans and queer
shals are trans women who have been directly trans women of color, who are housed in community anti-violence organizing projects,
affected by the prison industrial complex. men’s prisons and face catastrophic rates of but lots of community power and collabora-
Chelsea Manning is currently incarcerated, physical abuse, psychological terror, rape and tive relationships was built. Not the total vic-
Miss Major is previously incarcerated and was sexual assault, and death. According to Just tory we wanted, but momentum was built for
politicized at Attica just after the 1971 uprising, Detention International, 67% of LGBT prison- justice, and when our communities come away
and Jewlyes Gutierrez was arrested for defend- ers reported being assaulted while in prison. stronger, clearer, and more able to push back,
ing herself from bullies in her high school. Not only is our queer community being then the movement wins! Onwards towards a
The prison industrial complex and the harmed, the War on Drugs and the increasing day without prisons, jails or detention centers!

Southern Poverty Law Center Case

SPLC demands Georgia Department of Corrections provide
transgender prisoner with necessary hormone treatment
When Ashley Diamond was sentenced to The need for transgender inmates to con-
prison, she didn’t realize the state of Georgia tinue such hormone therapy has been rec-
would force her to change her gender as well. ognized by the National Commission on
But since entering prison in 2012, the trans- Correctional Health Care and the National
gender woman has been denied the female Institute of Corrections. Federal Bureau of
hormones she has been receiving since age 17, Prison standards require that inmates in
roughly half her life. Diamond’s situation receive hormone treat-
“I am only asking for respect,” said Diamond, ment and access to mental health providers
who is currently held at Valdosta State Prison. “No familiar with transgender care.
one would deny a diabetic prisoner insulin. No one TGIJP salutes Ashley Diamond for continu-
would sentence a person to a gender change.” ing to pursue appropriate medical access and
The Georgia Department of Corrections’ an end to cruel and unusual punishment and
(GDC) actions violate the Eighth Amendment’s appreciates Southern Poverty Law Center for
ban on cruel and unusual punishment as well as representing Ashely. Thank you all for your
the prison system’s own policies. leadership! Be safe and stay strong!

Stiletto 7
San Francisco Organizations
form TAJA’s Coalition
in the Spirit of Taja de Jesus
TAJA’s Coalition organized Trans Liberation Tuesday on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
routed instead to trans community program-
ming, especially re-entry support and anti-vio-
lence work, with respect for the depth of work
not the quantity.
3. We demand safe, affordable, and acces-
sible housing for trans people. The rising cost
of living in San Francisco, fueled by munici-
pal protections for corporate interests at the
expense of our most vulnerable residents, has
forced countless trans people into unsafe living
situations. Additionally, the massive gentrifi-
cation of the Mission, Tenderloin, and SOMA
neighborhoods in the past two years has dis-
Trans women of color participate in a die-in at Trans Liberation Tuesday, February 10, 2015 placed countless residents. San Francisco must
shift its priorities away from protecting corpo-
The Trans Activists for Justice and unsafe in their daily lives than cisgender peo- rations and toward providing affordable hous-
Accountability Coalition (“TAJA’s Coalition”) ple, and experience pervasive safety concerns ing for all who need it and particularly creating
is united in anger and outrage over the mur- about where to live, socialize, and receive affordable housing services, safe housing pro-
der of Taja de Jesus. Taja Gabrielle de Jesus basic services according to a just-released grams and more safe spaces for trans people.
was stabbed to death on the streets of San LGBTQ Violence Prevention Needs Assessment 4. We demand that San Francisco form a
Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood on February compiled by the SF LGBT Center and the San transgender commission.
1, 2015. Taja was only 36 years old and friends Francisco Human Rights Commission.
and family describe her as a sweet, light- A call to action issued for Trans Liberation
hearted and caring woman with a passion for Tuesday demanded an end to the systemic TAJA’s Coalition (the Trans Activists for Justice and Accountability Coalition)

music and a love for fashion. She was deeply

involved in her community and her faith, vol-
violence targeting trans communities. The
agenda for the action included a powerful dem-
#TurnUp4TAJA #TurnUp4TransPeople
unteered at her local food bank, always had a onstration on the steps of SF City Hall, includ-
smile and a story to share and constantly lit up ing speeches from local movement leadership
a room. Taja was close to her family in San Jose who are trans women of color, a symbolic “die
and found acceptance and community in San in” and a very passionate testimonial session at
Francisco. She remained positive and resilient the City Board of Supervisors meeting.
in the face of many struggles and was relent- TAJA’s Coalition has issued the following
less in pursuing her wellness. demands in advance of Tuesday’s action:
We recognize this epidemic of violence 1. We demand that cisgender people end
against and murder of trans women, particu- violence against trans communities, and
larly trans women of color, as being deeply particularly transgender women of color.
rooted in systemic racism, trans misogyny, Transphobia and violence against trans people
class inequity, and lack of access to afford- is not a trans problem. It is a problem rooted in

de Jesus
able housing for trans communities. This is and created by cisgender people, and there is a
Taja Gabr
a national crisis in which the most vulnerable call to see active support of and participation in

members of our community are fighting for local and national efforts to create resources,
their lives. In Taja’s memory, we will not relent access and justice for our trans communities. In Her Spir p!
in demanding justice. 2. Trans communities need safety and access Never Give WE DEMAND:
Our communities are chronically under- to resources, not jails. We demand that all affordable, accessible housing for trans people

served, over-policed and criminalized, and plans for a new jail in San Francisco be ceased, cisgender people: Work to stop anti-trans violence
no new jail in sf! resources and safety for trans people
subject to violence at every turn. Trans women and that no new jail construction is included in
of color are up to 7 times more likely to feel any City planning or budget with funds being Poster from the event

8 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

Letters from the Inside
If you want to know me A Place I’ll Never Call Unconquered
By Fatima Shayla Pearl, California Home By B. “Shyla” Thompson
Veins run with women’s blood
If you want to know me then you need to know By D. Nelson which burns within of hatred
how I flow, because there’s more to me than discrimination
looking pretty and the way my hips sashay to The pain and hurt always endured Born into the world of oppression
and fro, more to me than my fashion forward Shame and blame I knew that could, They seek to suppress our ways
clothes or how I stand tall like an African queen Could continue its path with no regret To deteriorate my spirit-n-minds
in my four-inch stilettos. Nightmare and hatred posed with a threat, The native woman is worthy
If you really wanna know about me, then you Wish I could move dozens of mountains, of the ancestor’s ways
Pursue a dream with love and confidence, Their legacy been handed down
need to know about all those dark nights, and
All I do is home and hope to no avail, through many generations
all those dark years I spent crying for redemp-
My blood flows freely through
tion, shedding buckets of tears. The soul sear- A place on earth I’ll always call hell,
which society tries to diminish
ing pain I suffered trying to conquer my fears. What’s the measure of wrong or right, my own very being
You need to know about how looking like a boy Death creepin’ within my sight, Constructing concrete
but living like a girl damn near killed me, being I don’t know whether to run, or give, With twisted metal, sharp-n-shiny
judged and mis-judged by a hateful jury of my It’s gonna always take over and win, Enforcing made-up laws
hateful peers, you wanna know me you need to Where are the things I can do, Trying to contain and break me
know about those tears. So messed up on old and new, My image does not conformed
You wanna know me, you need to know Places I can’t go can abolish me, But makes my desire—everlasting
about my life on the street accumulating mil- Hell in home it could never be. Goals of mine ever expanding
lions of emotional scars, and girl I got some The skin I’m into woven
A place I’ll never call home!
stories to tell about jumping in and out of ran- Derive from this beautiful land
Yet I’m outcast into a Misfit
dom cars, and the backseat fights for my life
My crimson red color bleeds for
that gave me physical scars. Let me tell you the
story of how my best friend had his best friends
The Person Inside Me… Bravery and Honor consumes my being
Our people ways outright rejected
gang rape me. How the thought taking turns By Punkin Scovil Defined by the war battle scars
fucking me would only hurt me like all I did was I knocked down repeatedly
scrape my knee, I’ll tell you all that, since you It’s a different world than where I come from Though, still standing strongly
want to know me. And so I must adjust. Torn through—fully compromised
Knowing me means knowing I’ve seen just I find it hard to be myself Despite all my afflictions
as many of my sisters die in dark alleys on cold But yet, I know I must. These chains can’t bind
nights as I have my brothers die on dark streets my worthy red woman’s spirit
I do not hide my feelings
in gun fights, truth is in all these high profile Their lies don’t hold me down
Or who I chose to be nor does these walls
rainbow fights no one really gives a damn about
Because I want this world to know That restrict my sight
a “tranny whore’s” gay rights, or her drug addi-
The person inside me. Because why…
tion, or her HIV condition, and believe me that
And so I just oblige I am an unconquered woman!
dude with his dick in my mouth ain’t hittin’ on
I give them all I’ve got.
me with a better job proposition, all he’s offer-
I do not hold back nothing
ing me is another $50.00 to put me in the face
down ass up position so his friend can fuck me
I teach what I’ve been taught.
I answer every question
too, the way these cops and judges do.
That is thrown my way By Steven Thomas
See, you seem to think it’s easy being me but
shit like gang rape can change your percep- I tell this world about myself The walls and stones of every prison are imbued
tion of reality, but, you said you want to get I have so much to say. with the memories and folklore of the convicts
to know me… you wanna know me you need Although there may be times who made their lives therein—steeped with all
to know that this hard look in my eyes comes In which I must refrain their many sorrows and fears—laughter and
from too many years of selling my ass in unfair The person who’s inside me tears—who if could speak—would whisper of
Rejects the inner pain them across the passage of years.
back alley deals to people who don’t care about
Her will is very strong Those within the free world are amazed
my bills, only how good my head game feels.
by the innumerable anecdotes of events and
So you can spare me the I want to get to A credit to this race
experiences which abound and circulate within
know you better bull—because I won’t be You can see that life’s been hard on her prison cultures—some of which achieve the
doing any interviews for any of your sensa- By the look upon her face status of legend among the convicts—the
tionalist puff piece talk shows, cheesing for But yet she still stands strong details of most are lost within a generation or
the camera while your disrespectful producers With dignity, with pride two—for rarely are they given written form—
try to disrespect my femininity with dumb ass And love and understanding shared orally among only the prisoners and
before and after photos. From the person who’s inside… their families.

Stiletto 9
Letters from the Inside (continued)

Give This Day A Goal Dear Society All My Lovers Ways To Me

By Al Cunningham By Okey By Soleric Gulbronson
Give this day a goal, or two or three or a dozen. Strong in my Resolve It’s what I feel in your arms that makes me who
Then set about one by one, to make them to Dissolve I am
happen. This one of a kind love when we’re walking
The labels
You can accomplish just about anything you hand in hand
ask of yourself, “You” Place
To Disgrace my I’m standing on the edge and I could fall forever
Yet in order to accomplish, you do need to ask.
Make your goals specific and clear. Baby you’re the only one who makes me feel
When you know exactly what you intend to do, this way
“You” call me
You’re well on your way to getting it done. Everything about you and every single day
Make your goals meaningful and memorable. I just wanna hold you until this pain goes away
The more they mean to you, Faggot! And I know this is a once in a lifetime thing
the less likely you are to become sidetracked Homo! To be your lover and know the joy you bring
by all the distractions that will come your way. Queer! When we’re together I begin to see
You now have this day which to work. Because “You” fear Baby how much you really mean to me
Give yourself something meaningful to make of it. my Individuality? Free… to be myself with you
Give this day a goal,
I can’t understand There’s nothing I wouldn’t do—for you
With your energy focused on accomplishment.
And this day, in return will give you great value Your Demands You’ll never realize and never have a clue
that lasts for a long long time. For me to Fit In Just what it is your love can truly do.
“You” can not define me
In Hue’s of
Remember Stonewall Pink or Blue Free
I dare to be Different!!!
of 1969 I color outside of the Lines
By B. “Shyla” Thompson
As I’ve laid down quietly
By Rev. Dr. Kimberly Jade McBride I live outside of the Proverbial Box
Thinking of what could of been,
Our people have a great and rich history that is I can’t understand
Instead, trapped within these walls,
as old as time. We are making huge advances in Your Demands Wishing I was in your arms.
our civil rights which are granted by God and For me to Holding close to my heart
by the U.S. Constitution. Yet, our people in the Fit in… Wishing I could be with you
penal system are still denied basic human rights.
Instead of this living hell!
We cannot even get married to the one we love
unless one of us is not behind these walls. Miss the kisses, caresses so softly
We are still being harassed and mistreated, We Are “Colors of Our Holding tenderly with warm embrace
Oh I wish I was free…
and yet how long shall it go on? I will answer
this question: as long as we do nothing as a
Rainbow”… Free! To be with my darling so sweet
family then we will continue to suffer. But, this Pain and regrets we’ve shared
By Nina McQueen
means from within and without. It’s hard to remember
When HIV/AIDS hit the prison system and Wondering souls of the rainbow, Self-navigating When it was, to be with you
people were dying the outside community through the fog of gender bias. Hollow hearths That I’ve become like these walls
Acted Up. But, what has happened? I believe
filled with jaded love, but unwilling to darken, Trapped… forever it seems
since the LGBT Outside Family has gotten
motivated by the truth of our man and woman- I wish, that I was set free
what the wanted, i.e.: gays in open military ser-
vice, right to marry, etc.; then us inside are lost hood. Unbowed by societies shattered reflec- Free! To be with you
because CDCR (and other stat prison systems) tion of who we are. We walk beside our rainbow Where I can feel your breath
encourage discrimination. How? colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and Just one last time. I only wish for
LGBT custody staff and free staff are the purple. They comfort us in our journey for To feel you, to be free
hardest on us. They believe they need to show Oh! The pain we’ve shared
equality. Who are we, we are your sisters and
they are not “punks” and thus we get the worst The darkness that engulfs my spirit
treatment from our own. brothers, mothers and fathers. We are your
Makes my hearth ache…just to be free…
I will close this by simply saying: unless we friends and co-workers, we are LGBT. Feel our
Free. Forever!
stand as one we all fall separately. colors and then you will know our hearths, see Sorry love… It seems the only way
May God direct the path we walk. May we our colors and respect our journey. Being LGBT You know that I’ve always loved you
all join as one and remember our roots. We are
isn’t a flaw, we are the glitter of the world. So To my last dying breath
family, we are community, we are Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and more than even when bigotry and hatred rains down on us I’m free finally…
anything PROUD! there will always be the colors of our rainbow I love you forever. You’re my darling…
Remember Stonewall of 1969! shining through with righteousness. …my freedom!

10 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

a tranny who transferred to Donovan that
Transgenders and Some was killed by her cellie shortly after. My tears
Dear TGI,
Educational Thoughts on fell only for the positive joys she had provided My name is Aaliyah L. Straite, I’m incarcerated
as a person. I recognize that when each of us at Lanesboro Correctional Institution in North
Genders/Gays fight and push forward we push forward for Carolina. I’m the first person in the state of
all of us transgenders. The history and knowl- North Carolina prison out of male and female
Some Events We Face as Girls in Prison edge in regards to us trannies is little and I feel to obtain hormonal therapy, then transition, to
the strong powerful black woman I am.
sometimes not adequate in regards to “Gender
By R. “Shiloh” Quine I had to be transferred to another prison
Identity Disorder” (GID). We sometimes suf-
because of discrimination by a female cor-
Within the “Standards of Care” first and fore- fer from our keepers that have control over us. rection officer. She grabbed her breast and
most studies on G.I.D. transgender resource, I don’t feel I have a “disorder” at all. Gays are smacked her butt and said in from of the other
it is notably clear “gay inmates” are totally a born gay men or bi, tranny girls “even though inmates that I want what she got and that God
different type than “transgenders.” One has deemed men” are not. Gays fit in easier than we gave it to her and her body is natural. So I like
absolutely nothing to do with the other. Being do within the population. We should be distinct to tell all my transgender sisters; know Ms.
transgender is only about gender, nothing to obviously as “real female” without the biases, Aaliyah is not the one to bite her tongue for
do with sexual orientation. In reality it’s a com- even without the completed surgery we are anyone. So I told Ms. Thing what I thought of
mon mistake, not confusing once you realize we completely women with personality feminine her and then place a grievance on her.
are women “not gay” even if some transgender in an unaccepted world and environment. I do I am still fighting for my treatment but I’m
not consider the prescribed current standard still about to make history in N.C. prison sys-
girls have a libido drive for both men/women
appropriate in respects to updated knowedge tem. To all my sisters I say fight for who you
activity they are transgenders first not gay,
are and what you believe in and never ever give
neither are wrong. Under the Harry Benjamin even under the old Harry Benjamin 1885-1986
up! I’m 25 years old and still fighting mentally,
treatment of transsexuality it is a “TG” com- related to TG issues. I don’t consider myself to
physically, and emotionally for I will not be
munity population that knowledge is set forth be a person with GID or labeled as a TG. Some
pushed around by anyone. You may not like me
(adequate per based data) but surprisingly, we people are born as women. There is need for for who I am but you will respect me and give
have an ongoing stigma of the same as “gay updated research and valid policies related to me space so stay strong sisters.
inmates” and here at (SVSP) we are not allowed the fact that we should be accepted as women. P.S. Thank you TGI and North Carolina ACLU
the same privileges of a support group mac rep This is only an ideological viewpoint instead and to my sisters, keep your hearth warm and
that would include our peers within the popu- of the label GID why not “Distinguish Woman your eyes dry and know we’re the future. We
lation as other inmates are allowed this posi- Kind” (DWK) with the continuation of the can’t be stopped. I will keep everyone posted
tion. No transgender inmates obtain Inmate hormone treatment, calling us trannies, sir or on my treatment. I love all of you sisters.
Advisory Committee (I.A.C.) or LGBT practices Mr. is disrespectful and used as a weapon as Always love,
to resolve issue(s) for these inmates. There is other forms of abuse inflicted on us over the Aaliyah Straite
“no employee sensitivity training association fact that we get hormone therapy in prison.
clearly implemented for an equal comprehen- Training should be provided to our keepers.
sive standard criteria for CDCR”. Significantly, Being denied rights isn’t “friendly” not allow- Phenomenal Trans
to label this facility “transgender friendly” the ing I.A.C. or other medical items is unjust to our
By Okey
homophobic practices of a “de facto policies” “medical needs”. Retaliation will come by form
of misconduct, gender based harms/abuses of manipulation by the staff, denial of medical You call me an Abomination,
of unnecessary pronunciation addressing us care labelled as troublemakers even a snitch I call me Unique.
as “he” instead of “she”, necessary “gender consequences for fighting for you human You call me Confused,
medical association” practices that deprive us rights fulfillment that is supported by forms of I call me Defined.
of the valid extensions of this hormone treat- international standards framework to which You call me a Freak.
ment. Support groups/psych services was is a powerful concept to apply when pushing I call me a Human Being.
implemented. I appeared at two groups and for social political changes recognized in the You call me Disgusting,
recognize there is little knowledge in regards global world struggles for justice of the viola- I CALL ME…
Beautiful, Smart, Strong
to transgenders associated to our keepers. Not tions of our human rights. It is said that this
Phenomenal Trans—
a very valid support group. Significantly, I was facility will provide adequate means soon etc…
Your words cannot
addressed as a man, third meeting felt this was SVSP has no motivation within its objectives
Confine me
a fictitious group as the labels of “transgender to deny privileges/rights, induce conflicts with Your words cannot
friendly” yards. Nothing is consistent to reflect others (staff and inmates), bogus denial of 602 Bind me to the Chains of Restriction, and
this. The staff at the door talked to me as if I appeals coercions of inmates “agent provo- Constriction you demand I wear; to
was something he would walk over. I apologize cateur protocols” over other inmates that file Make you feel Superior? Safe?
for the negativity to the group. Also I’m happy grievances etc., or just deny appeals unfairly There’s nothing here to fear!
for the knowledge (even though sad) of Lacy, and privileges… I’m a Phenomenal Trans!!!

Stiletto 11

The theme for this issue of Stiletto is “Black Lives Matter! Black Trans Lives Matter! Black
Imprisoned People’s Lives Matter!” Below you will find three articles speaking to this theme
from a few different identity perspectives. From what we have heard, the political activity
outside has been impacting some discussions and work inside, and vice versa. TGIJP is very
interested in the conversations y’all are having inside, what the vibe is like inside about the
movement against police brutality, reflections on how fighting for Black Lives to really matter
is fighting for everyone’s well being, as well as poetry and art about this movement and
moment. TGIJP, Trans Women of Color Collective, and other trans liberation organizations
have been working with #BlackLivesMatter organizers to expand the inclusion of trans,
gender variant and intersex lives in this framework and movement for Black Liberation. We
hope that these articles can be thought provoking, engaging and useful to supporting your
resilience and solidarity. We hope to hear from you about what resonates and what you think.

A Herstory of the
#BlackLivesMatter Movement
by Alicia Garza, Reprinted from The Feminist Wire with permission

I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse are systematically and intentionally targeted a very successful Black Lives Matter ride, led
Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ and designed by Patrisse Cullors and Darnell
call to action for Black people after 17-year-old contributions to this society, our humanity, and L. Moore, organized to support the movement
Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. that is growing in St. Louis, MO, after 18-year
trial for his own murder and the killer, George We were humbled when cultural workers, old Mike Brown was killed at the hands of
Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the artists, designers and techies offered their Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. We’ve
crime he committed. It was a response to the labor and love to expand #BlackLivesMatter hosted national conference calls focused on
anti-Black racism that permeates our society beyond a social media hashtag. Opal, Patrisse, issues of critical importance to Black people
and also, unfortunately, our movements. and I created the infrastructure for this move- working hard for the liberation of our people.
Black Lives Matter is an ideological and polit- ment project—moving the hashtag from social We’ve connected people across the country
ical intervention in a world where Black lives media to the streets. Our team grew through working to end the various forms of injustice

12 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

impacting our people. We’ve created space even more surprised when, in the promotion Broadening the Conversation
for the celebration and humanization of Black of their event, one of the artists conducted an to Include Black Life
lives. interview that completely erased the origins
Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution
of their work–rooted in the labor and love of
The Theft of that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black
queer Black women.
Black Queer Women’s Work people by police and vigilantes. It goes beyond
the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent
As people took the #BlackLivesMatter demand When you design an event / campaign /
within some Black communities, which merely
into the streets, mainstream media and corpo- et cetera based on the work of queer Black
call on Black people to love Black, live Black and
rations also took up the call, #BlackLivesMatter women, don’t invite them to participate in
buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the
appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU shaping it, but ask them to provide materials
front of the movement while our sisters, queer
in a mash up containing the Paula Deen rac- and ideas for next steps for said event, that is
and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the
ism scandal and the tragedy of the murder of racism in practice. It’s also hetero-patriarchal.
background or not at all. Black Lives Matter
Trayvon Martin. Straight men, unintentionally or intentionally, affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks,
Suddenly, we began to come across var- have taken the work of queer Black women disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks,
ied adaptations of our work–all lives matter, and erased our contributions. Perhaps if we folks with records, women and all Black lives
brown lives matter, migrant lives matter, wom- were the charismatic Black men many are ral- along the gender spectrum. It centers those
en’s lives matter, and on and on. While imita- lying around these days, it would have been a that have been marginalized within Black lib-
tion is said to be the highest form of flattery, different story, but being Black queer women eration movements. It is a tactic to (re)build
I was surprised when an organization called in this society (and apparently within these the Black liberation movement.
to ask if they could use “Black Lives Matter” in movements) tends to equal invisibility and When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talk-
one of their campaigns. We agreed to it, with non-relevancy. ing about the ways in which Black people are
the caveat that a) as a team, we preferred that We completely expect those who benefit deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.
we not use the meme to celebrate the impris- directly and improperly from White supremacy It is an acknowledgement Black poverty and
onment of any individual and b) that it was to try and erase our existence. We fight that genocide is state violence. It is an acknowledg-
important to us they acknowledged the gen- every day. But when it happens amongst our ment that 1 million Black people are locked
esis of #BlackLivesMatter. I was surprised when allies, we are baffled, we are saddened, and we in cages in this country–one half of all people
they did exactly the opposite and then justified are enraged. And it’s time to have the political in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence.
their actions by saying they hadn’t used the conversation about why that’s not okay. It is an acknowledgment that Black women
“exact” slogan and, therefore, they deemed it We are grateful to our allies who have continue to bear the burden of a relentless
okay to take our work, use it as their own, fail stepped up to the call that Black lives matter, assault on our children and our families and
to credit where it came from, and then use it to and taken it as an opportunity to not just stand that assault is an act of state violence. Black
applaud incarceration. in solidarity with us, but to investigate the queer and trans folks bearing a unique burden
I was surprised when a community institu- ways in which anti-Black racism is perpetuated in a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of
tion wrote asking us to provide materials and in their own communities. We are also grate- us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us
action steps for an art show they were curat- ful to those allies who were willing to engage and profits off of us is state violence; the fact
ing, entitled “Our Lives Matter.” When ques- in critical dialogue with us about this unfortu- that 500,000 Black people in the US are undoc-
tioned about who was involved and why they nate and problematic dynamic .And for those umented immigrants and relegated to the
felt the need to change the very specific call who we have not yet had the opportunity to shadows is state violence;.the fact that Black
and demand around Black lives to “our lives,” engage with around the adaptations of the girls are used as negotiating chips during times
I was told the artists decided it needed to be Black Lives Matter call, please consider the fol- of conflict and war is state violence; Black folks
more inclusive of all people of color. I was lowing points. living with disabilities and different abilities

Stiletto 13
bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian who have our minds stayed on freedom, we and political framing. Lift up Black lives as
experiments that attempt to squeeze us into can learn to fight anti-Black racism by exam- an opportunity to connect struggles across
boxes of normality defined by White suprem- ining the ways in which we participate in it, race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality and
acy is state violence. And the fact is that the even unintentionally, instead of the worn out disability.
lives of Black people—not ALL people—exist and sloppy practice of drawing lazy parallels And, perhaps more importantly, when Black
within these conditions is consequence of state of unity between peoples with vastly different people cry out in defense of our lives, which are
violence. experiences and histories. uniquely, systematically, and savagely targeted
When we deploy “All Lives Matter” as to by the state, we are asking you, our family, to
When Black people get free, correct an intervention specifically created stand with us in affirming Black lives. Not just
everybody gets free to address anti-blackness,, we lose the ways all lives. Black lives. Please do not change the
#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t in which the state apparatus has built a pro- conversation by talking about how your life
important–it means that Black lives, which are gram of genocide and repression mostly on matters, too. It does, but we need less watered
seen as without value within White suprem- the backs of Black people—beginning with the down unity and a more active solidarities with
acy, are important to your liberation. Given theft of millions of people for free labor—and us, Black people, unwaveringly, in defense of
the disproportionate impact state violence then adapted it to control, murder, and profit our humanity. Our collective futures depend
has on Black lives, we understand that when off of other communities of color and immi- on it.
Black people in this country get free, the ben- grant communities. We perpetuate a level of
efits will be wide reaching and transformative White supremacist domination by reproducing
for society as a whole. When we are able to a tired trope that we are all the same, rather Alicia Garza is the Special Projects Director
end hyper-criminalization and sexualization than acknowledging that non-Black oppressed for the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
of Black people and end the poverty, control, people in this country are both impacted by She has been the recipient of multiple awards
and surveillance of Black people, every single racism and domination, and simultaneously, for her organizing work in Black and Latino
person in this world has a better shot at get- BENEFIT from anti-black racism. communities, receiving the Local Hero
ting and staying free. When Black people get When you drop “Black” from the equation of award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian
free, everybody gets free. This is why we call whose lives matter, and then fail to acknowl- and the Jeanne Gauna Communicate Justice
on Black people and our allies to take up the edge it came from somewhere, you further award from the Center for Media Justice
in 2008. She has twice been honored by
call that Black lives matter. We’re not saying a legacy of erasing Black lives and Black con-
the Harvey Milk Democratic Club with the
Black lives are more important than other lives, tributions from our movement legacy. And
Bayard Rustin Community Activist award for
or that other lives are not criminalized and consider whether or not when dropping the her work fighting gentrification and envi-
oppressed in various ways. We remain in active Black you are, intentionally or unintention- ronmental racism in San Francisco’s largest
solidarity with all oppressed people who are ally, erasing Black folks from the conversation remaining Black community.
fighting for their liberation and we know that or homogenizing very different experiences. Alicia comes to NDWA after serving as
our destinies are intertwined. The legacy and prevalence of anti-Black rac- Executive Director of People Organized to
And, to keep it real–it is appropriate and ism and hetero-patriarchy is a lynch pin hold- Win Employment Rights (POWER) in San
necessary to have strategy and action cen- ing together this unsustainable economy. And Francisco since 2009. Under her leadership,
tered around Blackness without other non- that’s not an accidental analogy. POWER won free local public transportation
Black communities of color, or White folks for In 2014, hetero-patriarchy and anti-Black for youth; fought for a seat at the table in
some of the most important land use deci-
that matter, needing to find a place and a way racism within our movement is real and felt.
sions affecting working-class families; beat
to center themselves within it. It is appropri- It’s killing us and it’s killing our potential to
back regressive local policies targeting
ate and necessary for us to acknowledge the build power for transformative social change. undocumented people; organized against
critical role that Black lives and struggles for When you adopt the work of queer women of the chronic police violence in Black neigh-
Black liberation have played in inspiring and color, don’t name or recognize it, and promote borhoods; and shed light on the ongoing
anchoring, through practice and theory, social it as if it has no history of its own such actions wave of profit-driven development that con-
movements for the liberation of all people. are problematic. When I use Assata’s powerful tribute to a changing San Francisco.
The women’s movement, the Chicano libera- demand in my organizing work, I always begin In 2013, Alicia co-founded
tion movement, queer movements, and many by sharing where it comes from, sharing about #BlackLivesMatter, an online platform devel-
more have adopted the strategies, tactics Assata’s significance to the Black Liberation oped after the murder of Trayvon Martin,
and theory of the Black liberation movement. Movement, what it’s political purpose and mes- designed to connect people interested
in learning more about and fighting back
And if we are committed to a world where all sage is, and why it’s important in our context.
against anti-Black racism.
lives matter, we are called to support the very When you adopt Black Lives Matter and
Alicia currently serves on the Board of
movement that inspired and activated so many transform it into something else (if you feel Directors for the School of Unity and Liberation
more. That means supporting and acknowl- you really need to do that–see above for the (SOUL) in Oakland, CA, and is a contributing
edging Black lives. arguments not to), it’s appropriate politically writer for WarTimes magazine. She serves
Progressive movements in the United States to credit the lineage from which your adapted as trusted counsel for organizations across
have made some unfortunate errors when they work derived. It’s important that we work the country looking to build their capacity to
push for unity at the expense of really under- together to build and acknowledge the leg- lead and win organizing campaigns. When
standing the concrete differences in context, acy of Black contributions to the struggle for she’s not scheming on freedom, Alicia enjoys
experience and oppression. In other words, human rights. If you adapt Black Lives Matter, dancing, reading and writing—and scheming
some want unity without struggle. As people use the opportunity to talk about its inception some more.

14 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Third World Resistance for Black Power

Reclaiming MLK’s Legacy

of Militant Internationalism
Linking Third World Struggle With Black Resistance
“Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle deportation, and militarization of their schools
and communities, both here and in their home-
among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the
lands, are connecting the dots and linking
side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. Somehow these issues with the systemic problem of set-
this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and tler colonialism in places like Palestine.
As the state attempts to tamp down the
brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being
rising fists of dissent, people’s movements
laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I in Ferguson, Haiti, Palestine, the Philippines,
speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes and across the globe are only intensifying.
And as an extension, today in the Bay Area,
at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world,
we are organizing together and deepening
for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken.” our collective commitment to the increasingly
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence, 1967 militant struggle for Black liberation and self-
determination. We know that we cannot fight
To kick off Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, interests, the U.S. and its collaborators like imperialism abroad unless we fight its domes-
thirdworld people and allies have shut down Israel and its puppet states like the Philippines tic manifestation - violent racist policing- in our
the Oakland Federal Building to demonstrate are co-developing and deploying military own streets.
our support for the heightened struggle for and policing tactics in an attempt to perfect The West has built and structured this
Blackliberation, power, self-defense and self- techniques of counter- insurgency, crowd world on Black death, while systematically-
determination in the U.S. The verdicts in the and population control, surveillance, and the waging attacks on third world people in their
cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir militarization of local police forces. In the struggle for self-determination. By exposing
Rice, have drawn renewed attention to the Bay Area, people struggling against surveil- and confronting these systems, we seek to
ways that policing and the “justice system” are lance, policing,detention, forced displacement, weaken their foundations, and strengthen our
used to wage war on Black communities in ser-
vice of imperialism and white supremacy that
continues to undergirdthis country. For MLK
weekend, we are reclaimingthe militancy and
internationalism that was the hallmark of the
last phase of Dr. King’s life.
We join international movements for the lib-
eration of Palestine, Haiti, and the Philippines,
for indigenous sovereignty in Hawaii, for
native peoples in the U.S. and Mexico, and
for immigrant, worker, queer/transgender,
and youth justice in communities in solidar-
ity with the resurging calls to build “Black
Power” and “Black Resistance” alongside the
original nationwide galvanizing statement that
“BlackLives Matter!”
Today’s action targets the Oakland Federal
Building because of its role in promoting a war
on Black people and people’s struggles for
self-determination in the U.S. and around the
#3rdWorld4BlackPower activists shut down the federal building in Oakland, CA, 1/16/15.
world. Protecting their imperialist economic Many of the leaders were trans and gender non-conforming.

Stiletto 15
movements, our communities and our families. cops and militarized repression against our “THIRD WORLD RESISTANCE” Participating
For centuries, the devastating consequences people. Organizations and Allies: Anakbayan-USA,
of U.S. imperialism have been the order of In the words of Malcolm X: “It is incorrect to AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center,
the day for third world people from Vietnam classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial Asians4BlackLives, AYPAL, BAYAN-USA, BASAT:
to Korea, from the Dakotas toHaiti, from the conflict of Black against White, or as a purely Bay Area Solidarity Action Team, BLIS: Black/
Philippines to Palestine to Pakistan, from American problem. Rather, we are today seeing BrownLatin@s in Solidarity, Catalyst Project,
Hawaii to Mexico, and from Ferguson to Staten a global rebellion of the oppressed against the Critical Resistance, Freedom Archives,
Island. We stand together today in the name oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.” Gabriela-USA, Haiti Action Committee, HOBAK:
of Dr. King, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Hella Organized BayArea Koreans, IJAN:
Brown Berets, Red Guard, and AmericanIndian Tamir Rice and all victims of police: End State International Jewish Anti Zionist Network, the
Movement who took on the state-sanctioned Violence! International League of People’s Struggles,
attacks on our communities directly, elevating From Palestine to Ferguson to Haiti to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Ruckus
the struggle against state violence and for an Philippines: Fight Back! Society, VietUnity, Xican@Moratorium
end to the capitalist system that deploys killer Long Live International Solidarity!

Black Liberation is for All of Us

by Annie Danger

Black lives matter? Oh yes, please. As a white And as a low-income, white, trans woman We will make all lives matter and right now our
woman (as a person with a heart!, but also par- I have it easier than black trans women in my job (our current sentence in the story of libera-
ticularly as a white woman), I am avidly in sup- position. If I look deeper into every part of my tion) is to bring a halt to the genocide being
port of anything and everything black people life where I have access or safety or a trust that enacted on black people in this country still.
are doing to get free. I am not worried about I’ll be okay, it is built on the legacy of white And when we win—when all black people
how to get mine, I am only concerned with people enacting violence on black, brown, and are free to flourish—we will have fundamen-
how I can best support this new expansion of native bodies and very much on the legacy of tally changed the whole system. The same one
the Black Liberation Movement of the 50s, 60s, white people lifting ourselves through the sub- that oppresses me as a low-income person, as a
and 70s. jugation of black people. My comfort is tied to trans woman, as a woman. Because this whole
For me, it goes like this: I see anti-black rac- this genocide. system which is enacting genocide on black
ism somewhere near the center of every issue As a person conscious of these issues, I view people in the US is all one big knot of oppres-
of oppression in this country. Be it outright it as my responsibility to take part in libera- sion and profit. Racist police violence enforces
anti-blackness or the pervasive bias based on tion struggles which seek to right this horrible gentrification. Prisons make money off of each
relative darkness of skin color, the prison sys- imbalance power. Accordingly, I have nothing inmate and offer the only jobs in some commu-
tem or the job market, the ongoing legacy but love and support for this new blossoming nities to COs willing enact their racist policies.
of the enslavement of black Africans during of black liberation struggle in the US. What a Giant corporations make money exploiting the
the first few centuries of colonialism in North privilege to get to fight for the liberation of needs and job insecurity of poor people with
America touches everything we do and are. other people! What a scary challenge to try and few options, many of whom are people of color
The legacy of slavery forms the foundation of do it well and in ways that use the resources I and immigrants. It’s all tied together. You can’t
every institution and taints every social inter- have to add to the struggle, not make it about pull one strand without pulling the whole ball
action in ways that daily attack the lives of myself. of yarn. So if we get freedom for black people,
black people in this country. When I hear people correct “Black Lives we will have had to get it for everyone.
When you start counting up the ways that Matter” to “All lives matter”, I hear people There are many inroads to the better world
anti-black racism impacts the daily lives of trying to get theirs instead of supporting this we all wish we lived in. Picking and choosing
black people in this country (rates of impris- moment of liberation for black people. So which one is Right won’t get us anywhere
onment, police murders, economic imbal- many lives matter. But bringing justice into our fast. If we respect the fact that black people
ances and biases, lack of access to housing/ society is a lifetime of work to be done. We will need freedom and trust that there is room for
food/healthcare/education/jobs...) you count have to work together every step of the way everyone at the table of liberation, we’ll fight
quickly past “hard times”, “racism is bad”, and if we want to truly get liberation. And that hard to make this moment into a movement.
“oppression is harsh on all of us” all the way story won’t get told all at once. It happens a Centering the liberation of black people right
up to genocide. Genocide is being enacted on sentence at a time. Which means the sentence now means lunging toward liberation for all of
black people in this country. we’re on right now is just that: the next step. us together.

16 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

TGI Justice and #BlackLivesMatter
Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project is in
Solidarity With the People of Ferguson
August 22, 2014

The leadership team of TGI Justice holds freedom. We work in collaboration with others essential dignities as humans, and we are here
solidarity with the family of Mike Brown and to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to say that we join you in the struggle against
the people of Ferguson, who have endured to strengthen us for the fight against impris- the racist police state and towards a future of
unspeakable human rights abuses at the hands onment, police violence, racism, poverty, and self-determination for our communities.
of law enforcement including and following societal pressures. We seek to create a world As an organization led by formerly incarcer-
the police murder of Mr. Brown on August 9th. rooted in self determination, freedom of ated Black transgender women, we are cer-
TGI Justice Project is a group of transgender expression, and gender justice. tainly no strangers to police profiling, systemic
people—inside and outside of prison—creating We share your pain and outrage at the loss criminalization, and brutality at the hands of
a united family in the struggle for survival and of yet another young Black man’s life and the law enforcement. We are with you in heart,
subsequent assault on your community by spirit, and action as you push back against those
police, and call these assaults out as clear and in power who would try to kill, harm, degrade,
irrefutable examples of the deep, systemic rac- and silence you. The revolutionary work you are
ism that informs the Prison Industrial Complex doing in the streets of Ferguson, standing tall
in this country. This is a system that leaves our in the face of what must be unbearable grief,
brothers, sisters, and loved ones dying in the empowers and emboldens us.
streets or locked up in unconscionable numbers We want you to know that the eyes of the
in a dehumanizing network of jails, deportation world are on Ferguson, and that your sisters,
centers, and prisons. This is a system deeply brothers, and loved ones in the San Francisco
rooted in a long and consistent history of gen- Bay Area join you in demanding justice.
dered racial injustice in the United States. This Be safe and stay strong,
Woods Ervin and danni west is a system that seeks to rob us of our most TGI Justice Project Leadership Team

December 24, 2014

To our beloved members, supporters, friends, and unity as binary jail housing is enforced on Trans Lives, Black Women’s Lives, Black
and allies: Genderific greetings from the [work] protestors, the looking out for each other as Queer Lives, Black Poor Lives, Black People-
in the SF Bay Area! TGI Justice Project salutes tear gas is shot, and all the ways we are hold- with-Disabilities’ Lives, Black Survivors’ Lives.
the militant, focused,  non-violent  and popu- ing, loving and supporting one another in this While policing and criminalization dispro-
lar actions in Ferguson and across the world struggle  as we make sure no is left behind. portionately affect the Black Trans commu-
rising up against policing and state violence Amidst the uprisings, we have endured the nity,  it is the entire reach of our family that
while affirming that #BlackLivesMatter. We are continued violence against trans women of is endangered by the devaluing of Black  and
proud of TGI Justice Project’s participation in color that was so present in 2014. Early in Brown lives. TGI Justice Project celebrates this
the response to police violence and the non- December, our siblings in the trans liberation moment as a movement moment, a time when
indictment of the murderers of Michael Brown struggle down in L.A. lost a wonderful com- we are part of a collective process of changing
and Eric Garner. Our staff and members have munity leader to gun violence. Rest In Power the course of everyone’s lives by strategically
been out in the streets, in coalition meetings, at Deshawnda Sanchez. Days later, our commu- focusing on changing the conditions of Black
actions, in each-one-teach-one conversations nity in Georgia had a sister torn from them life in this country. We are here among and with
with people as we move through the world. We when Keymori Shatoya Johnson was mur- you all in the Bay Area and across the country.
have been alongside other TGI people showing dered. In this moment of anguish and anger, We at TGI Justice Project believe that we will
up to demonstrate that no business as usual in a year of heightened violence against Black win! #TransPeopleInTheStruggle #Solidarity
will be tolerated, that this ends today. TGI trans women and trans women of color, #BlackLivesMatter
Justice Project appreciates the consideration TGI Justice Project has been heartened and
and solidarity being extended to TGI people grounded by the truth that the fierce queer Be Safe and Stay Strong!
who are putting their bodies into the action women’s leadership behind #BlackLivesMatter
of resistance and survival; appreciates the care is building a movement that understands Love,
from community in police vans, the attention that Black Lives means all Black Lives: Black The TGI Justice Family

Stiletto 17
Trans Women of Color
Speaking Truth to Power
A Conversation with Activists Katrina Goodlett
and Nala Simone Toussaint
By Tanisha C. Ford, Reprinted from The Feminist Wire With Permission

Trans women of color are fighting to gain greater visibility for trans issues while truth. Youths of all experiences should have
classes dealing with topics like gender identity.
also creating safe spaces for themselves. Prominent figures such as Janet Mock
In order to dismantle the dehumanization of
and Laverne Cox have brilliantly used their public platforms to address the crim- Trans folks, we all need to educate our youths
inalization and social “othering” of trans women of color in popular media and at an early age; allowing Trans youth that are
basking in their journey of living in their truth
culture. But far too often the voices of the other women at the vanguard of the
to live comfortably. This process can happen
movement—those who do not have a global platform—are pushed to the mar- once the adults open their minds and hearts,
gins of our social and political consciousness. This creates a dangerous silence continue to educate each other, and create a
that muffles the diverse narratives and experiences of trans women of color as popular language that recognizes the fact that
gender never stands alone.
well as their radical political perspectives and strategies.
I had the opportunity to speak with two that shifts the focus off the real issues. Also, for TCF: You’re both active in the TWOCC. How
women committed to grassroots activism for me, radio is just a safer platform for my guest was the organization founded, and what are
trans sisters of color. Katrina Goodlett and Nala as well as myself. When I say safe, I mean the its major goals?
Simone Toussaint are co-founding members of interview can be done from their home or bed-
the New York-based Trans Women of Color room via a telephone or computer; there’s no KG: The TWOCC was founded in the wake of
Collective (TWOCC). The TWOCC is devoted need to meet in public or at a studio. Online Islan Nettles’s death last August 2013. Several
to “creating revolutionary change by uplifting radio also allows me to podcast every single amazing leaders in the community including:
the narratives, leadership and lived experiences show I’ve done, and that is recorded history, Lourdes Hunter, Koko Jones, Nala Simone,
of trans women of color.” Goodlett is the host/ something we lack in the Trans Community Vanessa Victoria, Kiara St. James, Janet Mock,
producer of Blog Talk Radio’s “The Kitty Bella (a historical record of our lived experiences). Octavia St. Lewis, Laverne Cox, and a few oth-
Show,” a weekly radio show dedicated to high- Whew, I have had some amazing guests, ers took the pain and hurt that we experienced
lighting trans people of color in various indus- Tanisha! New York Times best selling author at the Islan Nettles vigil and said, “ENOUGH is
tries and trans-centered social justice issues. Janet Mock, awarding winning filmmaker and ENOUGH,” “NOT ONE MORE.” During the vigil,
Toussaint is a fashion designer and youth advo- visual artist Dr. Kortney Ziegler, activist-educa- Islan was misgendered and called out of her
cate for the Center for HIV Educational Studies tor Lourdes Ashley Hunter, youth activist Nala name by the event leaders who were not inclu-
and Training. Together, they offered insight on Simone, blogger Monica Roberts, and psychic sive of any input from trans women of color. We
the most pressing issues facing trans women healer Noah Alvarez have all been on my show. are the ones that are being killed everyday, so
of color, what it means to be a good ally, and The beauty of my show is the diversity in not we need to be the ones leading the memorials
President Obama’s LGBT non-discrimination just content but in the actual lived experiences for our sisters. We decided to form our own col-
Executive Order. of my guest. lective to have our own voice and to hold folks,
including ourselves, accountable. The collec-
TCF: Katrina, why is radio such a powerful TCF: Nala, what do you feel are the most press- tive is also about fostering sisterhood and love
medium through which to share the narratives ing issues trans youth of color face today? amongst each other in order to pull each other
and perspectives of trans women of color? up when we are down and to always “check-in”.
Who have you had on your show? NST: Trans youth of color face a variety of bar- I’m a co-founding Board member and Chair of
riers just for living unapologetically in their Membership. We can be found on Twitter.
KG: Radio is a great medium to tell our stories. truth. Trans and gender nonconforming youth
Radio takes the emphasis off what the person need love, compassion, and justice.  They also TCF: Several trans women of color have been
looks like and makes the “audience” focus more need proper health care, financial stability, murdered this year (and most murders go
on what is being said. Transfolks’ looks and housing, and environments that are conducive unreported). How were you were affected by
bodies are often objectified in the media, and for them to learn while living their authentic these murders and the often problematic ways

18 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

outside of the LGBTQ community feel violence Obama’s Executive Order to protect LGBT
against trans people is “not my issue,” which government employees from workplace dis-
further contributes to the silencing of trans crimination. What was that experience like for
women of color’s experiences and to a lack of you?
political mobilization by people who should be
allies. What does it mean to be a good ally? KG: Yes, I was asked to go The White House
for the Executive Order signing. It was an
KG: Thank you for asking this question. This amazing experience to be in the same room
is one of those issues that rarely gets talked as the POTUS and to walk the corridors of The
Left-to-right: Nala Simone Toussaint,
about! I don’t get folk who follow that man- White House. However, I have to be completely
Katrina Goodlett
tra of “this is not my issue.” Um, actually it transparent. I was disappointed in the lack of
is a Human Rights issue, so we all need to be persons of color represented at the event. I
that the mainstream media reports on trans
involved. The fact is at the root cause of all was the only (to my knowledge) “out” trans
women of color?
this violence against trans women of color is woman of color at that event, and that is unac-
KG: So for me these stories don’t get it right. racial injustice, and until we eradicate that, we ceptable. D.C has plenty of amazing folk doing
The reporting is often times shabby and sensa- will most likely continue to be attacked. The the work, including Ruby Corado, who founded
tionalized and is focused more on victim sham- facts are my white trans sisters are not being Casa De Ruby. But it’s like I said on my radio
ing and blaming than actually reporting facts. attacked as frequently as my trans sisters of show this week: trans women of color are often
The fact is trans women of color are being color; this is not a coincidence! It all comes an afterthought in this society.
viciously attacked and murdered. In most cases back to race, class and privilege, and that is
the attacker was a longtime lover or friend what I wish our allies in the black community
who knew about her truth (so that old meme would understand. Allyship is not a retweet; it’s Goddess Queen sister Katrina Goodlett is an
of “the guy didn’t know she was trans” is bull not a Facebook “like.” Allyship is actually doing African American Transgender Woman of
crap). Every time I hear another story it’s like the work to help elevate the lived experiences Color who is also the Producer/Host of The
a dagger to my gut. I have stopped reading the of transfolk. It is providing a platform for trans Kitty Bella Show on Blog Talk Radio. Katrina,
articles due to all the misgendering and trans- women of color to tell their stories, providing who was born and raised in NYC, faced many
phobic comments that people bring up. Just resources or guiding them to resources that struggles growing up including Transphobic
look at the recent murder of Mia Henderson, help them, holding other folks accountable attacks and violence. Katrina overcame
for example. The murders will get reported in who misgender, victim shame, or use trans- some of her oppression and graduated col-
the news spin cycle and then forgotten about phobic language in daily conversation.  Allies lege in 2005 and has worked as a govern-
a day or two later. The fact is society and the can also donate to trans-affirming organiza- ment employee for 10 years. Katrina brings
media sees the lives of Trans women of color as tions like the Trans Women of Color Collective, her past experience as a journalist and writer
disposable and invisible. Folks have to educate the Audre Lorde Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law into her new show. She strongly believes the
themselves; we live in a digital age for crying Project, or Trans Tech Social. voices and actual lived experiences of trans-
out loud. Willful ignorance is not an excuse. folk need to be heard!! Katrina loves watch-
NST: People outside the LGBTQ community ing basketball and traveling. Katrina created
TCF: How can we raise awareness of vio- who feel it’s “not my issue” are allowing world the empowerment campaign #tgirlsrock
lence against trans women of color and move destruction. Have we not witnessed and/or in 2013 to raise the visibility and empower
towards eradicating the violence altogether? learned about the historical legacies of seg- transfolk thru clothing.
regation, discrimination, racism, imperialism,
NST: Education is key to the process of creat- Nala Simone Toussaint works with the
capitalism, classism, sexism, and other kinds
ing change. We must broaden our understand- Center For HIV Educational Studies and
of oppressive hierarchies that lead to wars and
ing of ‘violence’ against trans folks. Violence is Training (CHEST) as a Peer Health Navigator
death? The lack of involvement also is a reflec-
not just a stranger holding a knife; it can come working with trans women to support their
tion of internalized phobias and self-oppres-
from intimate partners, friends, family, and can health goals and wellbeing. In May 2012,
sion for those who have allowed the ‘system’
be as simple as someone kicking one out of a She earned her BFA in Fashion Design
to drive their thoughts and actions. What if
bathroom, calling a trans women a ‘man,’ or (cum laude) from the Fashion Institute of
certain states not allowing the change of gen- those murdered were someone in your family:
sisters, daughters, cousins, etc.? Being an ally Technology. Although her concentration
der markers on state IDs. We must acknowl- and degree were centered on fashion design,
edge that it usually starts at an institutional means supporting trans women, speaking out
she also has extensive experience working
level. For this reason, there is a call for action against the violence on trans women of color
with at-risk youth as a youth mentor and
from trans folks and allies to unite, rally, and when you see it, placing them in leadership
outreach liaison. Tousaint plans to start
lobby until justice is served for the countless roles, and funding works/organizations that
an organization that helps trans women
murders of trans women of color. are for trans women of color and lead by trans
and youth receive professional makeovers,
women of color.
attend educational workshops, and develop
TCF: Violence and criminalization are issues
strategies that will guide them as they enter
that affect our society as a whole (particu- TCF: Katrina, you were invited to The White
the job market.
larly people of color), but far too often people House last month for the signing of President

Stiletto 19
St. Louis Trans Liberation March
Organizers Speak Out Against Police Brutality & Violence
“There is no such thing as a single- The voices of transgender people, our Bank, on the corner of Sarah St. and Chouteau
beloved trans sisters and unfostered people of Ave. We will have a guest speaker at 9:30pm,
issue struggle because we do not live
color are at the vanguard of our movement! and begin marching together around 10:15pm.
single-issue lives.” We are shouting on behalf of those who do Dress warm, bring a sign or flag to carry, and
– Audre Lorde not have a worldwide platform. We are tired prepare to be make a statement. 226 lives lost.
From January 1st, 2014 to today, 226 Trans of fleshly human beings being shoved to the We remember and we will never forget. The
women have been murdered. Just let that margins of our political, social and emotional street is our medium for change!!!
number soak in—that’s almost one life lost consciousness. #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter
every day this year. The Transgender Day of We will meet in the parking lot of Commerce #nojusticenopeace
Remembrance is a time to grieve as a commu-
nity. But on this day, we will not be silent. On
the eve of “Thanksgiving,” the busiest night for
bars and clubs, we will take to the streets of
The Grove and demand justice for our sisters.
This is the time to bring your fire and passion
and prepare to be visible in a huge way.
This is a formal complaint! We will cry aloud!
This a large expression, a declaration of objec-
tion. Reservations are for restaurants—our dis-
approval will be heard. We will be peacefully
uproarious. We will utter, articulate, sing, chant. Photo from the march. Ferguson is just a few miles outside of St. Louis. Photo © Mike Sport

To those in solitary confinement in California

Critical Resistance has been heavily involved in order to create better inside-outside working to answer some questions? If so, please reply
supporting efforts by those in solitary confine- relationships, and to learn about your ideas for to this letter at the below address, and we will
ment through our work to amplify the mes- how to move forward. We also want to increase send you follow up questions. Please send your
sages and demands of past peaceful actions. our contacts with family members and loved response to:
Currently we are working to identify a campaign ones in order to deepen our collaboration and ATTN: Solitary Project
Critical Resistance Oakland
that will most effectively succeed in meeting support their needs. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 504
those demands. As a part of this process, we We would love to have your thoughts, expe- Oakland, CA 94612
are asking people in solitary to correspond with riences, and ideas included in this project to With respect,
members of our Solitary Project workgroup in help inform our work. Would you be willing Critical Resistance Oakland

Outreach to Trans Men and Intersex People

TGI Justice Projects centers and has tradition- the conditions for our people inside and out- about issues impacting intersex people and will
ally focused on trans women’s leadership, par- side of the prison industrial complex. We feel continue to be thinking about the impacts of
ticularly, currently and formerly incarcerated that centering trans women of color’s leader- institutionalized gender binary and control sys-
trans women’s, and most frequently Black ship is strategically necessary and we want to tems. In addition to building relationships with
trans women’s leadership. Trans Women of build power in our community in the broadest more of our people, we also are trying to find
Color’s leadership will always drive TGIJP and
sense. As we work to identify interventions and out more about the conditions of folks inside
at TGIJP we recognize that any movement for
solutions to the massive violence targeting TGI and the current context for our people, all of
liberation of trans people will include all TGI
people, especially TGI people inside of prisons, our people. Please be in touch if you are trans
people. In relationship with California Coalition
for Women Prisoners and Justice Now, in 2015 jails and detention centers, we want to keep a masculine or an intersex person and would like
TGIJP will be expanding our organizing work focus on trans women while ensuring that our to engage with us in the endeavors to see a
to include more trans men and intersex people scope advances towards freedom and justice radically different system of justice. Thank you
to most broadly and accurately work to better for all TGI people. TGIJP will be doing education for your resilience and leadership!

20 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

Medicaid programs will now cover
transgender healthcare following
SRLP’s twelve-year campaign
By Elana Redfield, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, reprinted from SRLP website

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo and the New • We held health care focus groups for Department of Health. We met with the
York State Department of Health announced trans people of color and developed a Health Care for All New York Coalition
that our Medicaid programs will now cover Cost-Benefit Memo gathering all available (HCFANY) to join forces.
transgender healthcare. This is a momentous data on transgender health care • May 30, 2014 – U.S. Department of
victory for SRLP community members and all • When Governor Patterson was unwilling Health repealed transgender healthcare
transgender New Yorkers. to overturn the regulation, we partnered ban under federal Medicare program
The proposed regulation will allow trans- with Housing Works and the Empire State after Denee Mallon case and advocacy by
gender people to access hormones and surger- Pride Agenda to bring it to Governor organizations including GLAD, ACLU, and
ies under Medicaid. Introduced on December Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team, with NCLR.
17th, the regulation is open for 45 days of 500 signed petitions. Assembly Member • In June 2014 we filed Cruz v. Zucker – the
public comment. The announcement comes Richard Gottfried and Senator Brad same week TIME Magazine hailed “The
in response to Cruz v. Zucker – a lawsuit the Hoylman declared their support. Transgender Tipping Point.”
Sylvia Rivera Law Project brought in partner- • When the Redesign Team refused to • December 10, 2014 – As a result of
ship with the Legal Aid Society and the law overturn the regulation, we started our our lawsuit and advocacy by HCFANY,
firm Willkie, Farr and Gallagher – and to the healthcare media campaign with GLAAD Governor Cuomo released a bulletin clari-
incredible persistence of our communities in and Callen Lorde this time with videos, fying that private insurance that covers
demanding this care. infographics, and thousands of signed mental health care must cover transgen-
It may be useful to share a little history of petitions. der health care
this regulation. Passed in 1998, the regulation • Working with Make the Road NY, GLOBE, • December 17, 2014 – New Medicaid
banned access to hormones and all surgeries and the Audre Lorde Project, we then Regulation introduced for 45 days of
commonly sought by transgender people. The used direct action to keep transgen- public comment.
impact was quick and deep, as thousands of der healthcare on the agenda for the
low income transgender people and transgen-
der people of color were cut off from life-sav-
ing care and denied much-needed treatments.
Since SRLP opened our doors in 2002, one
of our primary goals has been to bring down
this discriminatory ban. Here is a brief history
of this incredible campaign:
• In collaboration with other transgender
and queer groups, such as Queers for
Economic Justice, Audre Lorde Project
and the Gender Identity Project of the
NY LGBT Center, we began organiz-
ing and strategizing to take down the
• Working with the New York Legal Assistance
Group (NYLAG) and Orrick, Herrington
& Sutcliffe LLP, we filed the first lawsuit
to challenge the ban, Casillas v. Daines.
• When the court was unwilling to overturn
the regulation, we partnered with the
Legal Aid Society to bring a challenge to
Governor Patterson.

Stiletto 21
We have been fortunate to partner with so And the fight continues. As we have seen in to organize with our community members in
many incredible organizations to bring about Ferguson, Staten Island, and all over the coun- prison. We believe that all people are entitled
this change. In particular we want to thank try, the legal system is not designed to protect to gender-affirming care. We believe that all
the Legal Aid Society and Willkie, Farr and our communities. We must fight for the lives people deserve to be free. We believe that the
Gallagher for their incredible drive and legal of our community members, fight to end rac- fight for gender self-determination will not be
expertise in guiding this case. We are grateful ism and all forms of oppression or violence and over until all people are free to self-determine
to the Health Care for All New York campaign poverty will persist. their gender – and until the prison system as
for supporting us and lifting up our commu- Only hours after yesterday’s news was
we know it is abolished.
nities. And of course, we are grateful to the announced, we received devastating news
The work we are doing is the work of libera-
Cuomo administration for being willing to step that the appeals court in Massachusetts over-
tion. This week’s Medicaid announcement is a
up and address this long-standing injustice. turned the decision in Kosilek v. Spencer  – a
tremendous victory for all transgender people.
The regulation is not perfect – we would like groundbreaking case where the court said
to see care covered for young people under that a transgender prisoner has the right to It is also a testament to the power of move-
18, and we would like to see all forms of gen- gender-affirming surgery. The decision to deny ment building, to working together to bring
der-affirming care covered. But this is a great this right will be appealed to the higher courts, about the world we believe in, and to the com-
start. We invite all transgender people of color, but we cannot rely solely on the legal system bined strength of legal work, community orga-
low income people and allies to join us as we to fight for healthcare access and gender self- nizing, media, and government advocacy. We
plot our next steps.  Stay tuned for campaign determination. Just as our community mobi- could not be more proud of our communities
updates and next steps in early 2015! lized for this Medicaid win, we must continue and our allies for the work we have done.

San Francisco Department of Public Health

“Liberation, Not Deportation”

Queer & Trans Immigrants from Across the Country Denounce Deportations
by Familia TQLM and DeColores

President Obama continues to deport queer Famila: Trans Queer Liberation Movement We will continue to organize and mobilize in
and trans immigrants. The Obama administra- and DeColores Queer Orange County are bring- order to ensure all of our families are safe and
tion has deported a record number of more ing together Queer and trans immigrants from remain together. Queer and trans immigrants
than 2 million people, which has resulted in across the country to proclaim “liberation and rise up to demand “not one more deportation‚“
the separation of parents from their children not deportation‚“ and denounce the deporta- of our queer and trans undocumented brothers
and queer and trans immigrants from their tions separating our families and communities. and sisters and our families.
families and communities. There are more
than 267,000 undocumented queer and trans
immigrants living in the United States who
continue to be persecuted by the current
inhumane immigration policies of the White
House. Queer and trans immigrants are com-
ing together to demand President Obama to
stop all deportations of LGBTQ undocumented
immigrants and our families, and expand the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals pro-
gram for all undocumented immigrants in this
country. Organizers protest outside an ICE detention center in Santa Ana, CA, May 2014. Photo via Familia TQLM.

22 March 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

Ally Updates
skills and qualifications, not past convictions. sterilization of people in women’s prisons. This
NLG & TLC The question on applications for employment, win was the culmination of decades of hard
In 2015, TGIJP has expanded our relation- housing, public benefits, insurance, loans and work and organizing, both inside and out-
ship with the National Lawyers Guild and other services, means lifelong discrimination side of prison. We forced public attention on
Transgender Law Center to better inform our and exclusion because of a past arrest or con-
California’s history of eugenics, and modern
organizing work and legal advocacy work. viction record. We have chapters throughout
California, with our most active chapters are day practice of controlling bodies and families.
Thank you to the deepening relationships that We welcomed the new year with a change
will benefit our TGI people inside of prisons, in the SF Bay Area, Riverside, and Los Angeles.
For more information, please contact us at in our leadership, to a shared, non-hierarchi-
jails, and detention centers as well as those of
1540 Market St., Suite 490 cal structure. Amanda Scheper and Allison
us outside.
San Francisco, CA 94102 Barahona, our interim co-directors, transi-
tioned out of their roles as staff. We celebrate
Decarcerate PA Black & Pink their years of incredible work building this
Decarcerate PA is a grassroots campaign work- organization, and are glad they will remain
ing to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. For those who don’t know us, Black & Pink is
connected to our community on our Board of
We formed in 2011 to fight the $685 million an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free
world” allies who support each other. Our work Directors. The new leadership team is Misty
expansion of Pennsylvania’s prison system Rojo as Director of Campaign and Policy, Nora
toward the abolition of the prison industrial
amid drastic cuts to education, social ser- Wilson as Director of Legal Advocacy, and
complex is rooted in the experience of cur-
vices and healthcare. We set out to build a
rently and formerly incarcerated people. We Hannah McFaull as Director of Development
campaign to shrink the prison system and
are outraged by the specific violence of the and Communication.
expand the community institutions we actually
prison industrial complex against LGBTQ peo- Justice Now stands in solidarity with pro-
need—education, employment, housing, reen-
ple, and respond through advocacy, education, testers across the country who have raising
try, and health care. Our three point platform
direct service, and organizing. We send out a their voices to say that Black Lives Matter.
demands 1) no new prisons, 2) decarceration,
newsletter to our incarcerated LGBTQ mem-
and 3) community reinvestment. We work to We recently shared statements from people
bers and maintain a national list of incarcerated
build public consciousness that prisons don’t imprisoned at CCWF, compiled by Justice Now
LGBTQ members whom we support in finding
keep us safe and to develop a statewide move- free world penpals. If you are LGBTQ and want board member Cookie. Abolishing the police
ment to end mass incarceration. This includes to be on our list, you can write to us at: and dismantling white supremacy is central
creative protests, civil disobedience, grassroots Black and Pink to our vision of social transformation. We are
advocacy, and community building events. 614 Columbia Ave committed to continuing to draw the connec-
In the last few months we successfully stalled Dorchester, MA 02125
six anti-prisoner bills intended to extract addi- tions between the movement to end police vio-
2014 was a big year for us. We have been lence and our work at Justice Now.
tional costs and fines from people convicted developing chapters across the country -
of crimes, and led the outside support efforts including Boise, Buffalo, Chicago, Denver,
for the 1,300 people at Coal Township prison New Orleans, New York City, San Diego and MAJOR!
who staged a week-long boycott of the dining San Francisco. Each of these local chapters
hall to protest food cutbacks and human rights MAJOR!, the documentary film about Miss
has been working locally and in connection to
violations. We are currently mobilizing for a 24 each other to bring in new free world penpals Major, is currently in post-production and
hour “speak in” to protest a law that attempts and do other projects, including study groups, scheduled to be complete by summer 2015.
to silence prisoners. This spring—along with workshops, support for recently released The film follows Miss Major’s extraordinary
our allies—we will also be launching a cam- members, organizing more winter holiday card life, from her early childhood to Stonewall,
paign to end life without parole sentencing in parties than ever before, participation in the Attica, and her tireless HIV activism and advo-
PA. Decarceration now! Black Lives Matter movement, fighting prison cacy for her girls on the inside. It also includes
censorship rules and advocating for our mem- interviews with over 20 community members,
All Of Us Or None bers in various ways. We also did a survey of including many TGIJP members. We’re so
our incarcerated members and received over
All Of Us Or None is a grassroots organization excited to see our communities portrayed on
1,500 responses. We are currently entering all
led by formerly-imprisoned people committed the results. film with dignity and love, and will share news
to fighting for the human dignity of people We are excited to continue all of our work in about the film’s premiere, including photos, in
who have been or are being held captive in 2015, and especially excited to be celebrating the next Stiletto.
America. We are fighting for the full restora- our 10 year anniversary this year with a week-
tion of our civil and human rights and against end of celebration, community building, heal- TGI Justice Project was continually inspired
the systemic discrimination facing us while in ing, skills sharing, and planning for the future. by the existence of, activism of, and lead-
captivity and upon our release. We demand It will take place in Boston from October 16-18 ership structure of TYSN in Minnesota and
to be called people and not the dehumanizing and we will be offering stipends to support for-
labels we are usually referred to, such as ex- wanted to send a salute and a thank you
merly incarcerated members to attend. Please
offenders. These characterizations prevent us get in touch with us if you are being released for the legacy your organizers and contri-
from being seen and treated as human beings. soon and want to attend. butions are leaving for the movement as
Although we may have been to jail or prison, you transition to closing the organization.
our lives are much more than the sum total
of our past indiscretions or accusations. We Justice Now Thank you! We look forward to the day that
are presently working towards building the Justice Now partners with people in women’s our communities have the support we need
leadership of formerly-incarcerated people. prisons and communities impacted by imprison- to thrive as we build and maintain organiza-
Our nationally-recognized Ban the Box cam- ment to challenge gendered violence and build tions for us and by us. TGIJP also wants to
paign challenges the stereotypes of people a safe compassionate world without prisons. celebrate the ongoing TGI youth leadership
with conviction histories by asking employers In September of 2014, we celebrated the of BreakOut in NOLA and FIERCE in NYC!
to choose their best candidates based on job passage of SB1135, a bill to end the coerced

Stiletto 23
Art by Micah Bazant
1230 Market St #705
San Francisco, CA 94102