The first event our collective staged together was a vigil and direct action–called #TurnUp4TT–held in honor of TT Saffore, a young, Black trans woman killed on Chicago’s West Side in September of 2016. For that action, the BTGNC Collective released a list of demands. It included the things we felt were needed to make our communities and movements safer and more welcoming spaces for Black, trans and gender-nonconforming people.
While these demands continue to evolve as new voices join our collective, we hold them up continuously as what we believe to be some of the most core needs of Black, trans and gender-nonconforming communities, and the goals which drive and inspire our collective’s action:
- Education On Our Issues – 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 – We 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 – 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 – We demand shelters and affordable housing designated specifically for trans youth and elders, in the neighborhoods in which they choose to live.
- Free, Affirming, Accessible 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 services–provided by other trans and gnc people–which view us as in need of healing, not fixing.
- Decriminalize Sex Work – 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 laws–disguised as feminist endeavors–which target trans and cis Black women, resulting in their incarceration.
- End Solitary Confinement – Solitary is torture, not protection. We 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 – 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 that police, prisons and the military be defunded, disarmed, and ultimately disbanded, replaced with resources that support Black, trans growth.