CHICAGOâ€”(ENEWSPF)â€”March 3, 2017. As we gather tonight at 6 p.m. at Wacker and Wabash in Downtown Chicago, to take to the streets for our liberation, we affirm the statement released earlier in the week, and emphasize the need to keep trans voices at the front and center of all conversations about liberation. #TransUpFront, because trans people are everywhere, and a part of all communities. We also acknowledge, and mourn the deaths of all seven trans people murdered this year, and an eight who was killed by police: Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Jojo Striker, Jaquarrius Holland, Keke Collier, Chyna Doll Dupree, Ciara McElveen, and Sean Hake. We say their names now, tonight, and in perpetuity as we fight for the liberation of all trans people!
We, the organizers of the Trans Liberation Collective, decry the heinous actions of the Presidential Administration in targeting trans students, who are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Here in Chicago, this direct attack on our trans siblings will not go unanswered. We will take to the streets, and loudly, proudly, and fiercely make our voices heard as we struggle for our own liberation, and the liberation of all oppressed peoples!
We will not be hoodwinked by propaganda and other falsehoods; trans people know that 45â€™s directive to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education does not change the reality of our rights under the law. Trans students are now, and will continue to be protected from discrimination in schools and public facilities across the country, and we believe the Supreme Court will soon affirm those rights in the Grimm decision. However, we are cognizant of the fact that the laws of this nation will never fully protect us. The laws of the United States are not intended to protect us, and they are created and supported by a government that continues to condemn trans people to poverty, homelessness, death, and violence. Our liberation will not be found in the passing of legislation, the issuance of guidance or protections from governmental agencies, or the so-called allyship of cisgender people who claim to have our best interests at heart, but all too often speak over us, condescend us, and coerce to be in their presence by hoarding land, resources, and visibility. We will not be made to serve the interests of a community other than our own! Trans liberation will always be made by and for trans people!
Our community will gather at 6 p.m. at Wacker and Wabash to begin our march, but this event has a more important, and more immediate purpose. We gather primarily to mourn the loss of our trans sisters, Keke Collier and T.T. Saffore. These fabulous, powerful, and fierce black trans women were stolen from us by transphobic violence, and by a society that does not value the lives of trans women. As we gather to grieve our sisters, and other members of our community that we have lost, we loudly proclaim that Trans Live Matter, that Black Lives Matter, and that the liberation of trans people will forever be bound up in the liberation of all other peoples. 2016 marked the deadliest year on record for trans people in the US, as did 2015 and 2014 before it. Our community will not go quietly into the dark, and lay down in front of the violence that seeks to put an end to us all. Just as we did for one of the mothers of our movement, Marsha P. Johnson, we will mourn Keke and T.T., and we will never let Chicago, and the nation, forget their names!
Further, we denounce all other attempts to redirect the energy and the bodies of the trans community elsewhere, particularly into spaces where trans people have historically not been safe. Each of the organizers can recount a story of feeling unsafe or experiencing violence in certain parts of the city, particularly those often thought of as â€œthe LGBT home baseâ€ of Chicago. Trans people are disproportionately targeted by police brutality and excessive policing, and experience homelessness at a staggeringly disproportionate rate, as compared to cisgender people. It is for these reasons that we locate this event in the heart of Chicago, rather than a gentrified, racialized, and heavily police neighborhood. Since trans liberation is for all trans people, we must locate the sites of our liberation in places that are accessible and safe for all members of our community! We will resist and dismantle police brutality, gentrification, white, cisgender supremacy, and all other forces of oppression. Join us to march, rally, and demand our liberation!
As the Trans Liberation Collective, we endorse and sign on to the following demands made by the Chicago BTGNC Collective , in the furtherance of our community, and especially our siblings of color. We know that the liberation of Black trans people will mean the liberation of ALL trans people, and we intend to throw the full weight of our collective behind the movement to see these demands realized!
- Education On Our Issues â€“ Pronouns are not enough! A massive project of education is needed to teach our employers, our neighbors, community members and other activists about the oppressions faced specifically by Black, trans and gnc people. We demand our people dedicate themselves to learning about Black, trans misogyny, and the unique barriers that keep Black, trans people from living full lives.
- Employment â€“ We support the Fight For 15, and demand living wage jobs for Black, trans and gnc people in all fields of employment, especially in leadership roles within organizations that claim to fight for trans issues.
- Safer Spaces â€“ Black, trans and gnc people need inclusion in existing movement spaces, but we also need spaces of our own. We demand resources be allotted to projects and organizations run by Black, trans people for Black, trans people.
- Housing â€“ We demand shelters and affordable housing designated specifically for trans youth and elders, in the neighborhoods in which they choose to live.
- Free, Affirming, Accessable Healthcare : We demand free access to hormones, needles, gender affirming surgeries, STI testing, and all our other basic health needs, provided directly in the neighborhoods where we live. We include in this free access to mental health servicesâ€“provided by other trans and gnc peopleâ€“which view us as in need of healing, not fixing.
- Decriminalize Sex Work â€“ We reject the criminalizing of Black, trans and gnc people for choosing their own means of survival. We demand the decriminalization of all sex work. We include in this vision the revoking of anti-sex trafficking lawsâ€“ disguised as feminist endeavors â€“which target trans and cis Black women, resulting in their incarceration.
- End Solitary Confinement â€“ Solitary is torture, not protection. We support the national #PrisonStrike, demand trans and gnc inmates stop being held in solitary under the guise of safety, and that solitary be ended as a practice for all incarcerated people.
- Abolition Now â€“ We demand that, to make these other demands possible, money be cut from police, prisons, detention centers and the military, and invested back into Black, trans and gnc communities. We demand the police, prisons and military be defunded, disarmed, and ultimately disbanded, replaced with resources that support Black, trans growth.
In solidarity, power, and fierceness, our liberation will be realized!! Trans liberation NOW!
Source: Trans Liberation Collective,