“Trauma is not our name. Survived is not our identity. The future is unbound, the chains are broken.”
—“Beyond Resilience,” a collaborative poem for Trans Day of Resilience
Today marks Trans Day of Resilience, an occasion for us to uplift and celebrate the trans community and the future we can build by breaking the chains of oppression. Tahirih and its supporters dream of and work to build a world that values and liberates those who have been oppressed by systems and institutions committed to maintaining a binary status quo.
Unfortunately, too many institutions in the United States that purport to protect us actually cause further harm to trans immigrant survivors, especially Black and Indigenous individuals and people of color in the trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit communities. The Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) research project just published this year’s data, which shows that that 375 trans and gender-diverse people were murdered between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, making this year the deadliest for trans and gender-diverse people since the survey began. People of color make up 89% of the 53 trans people murdered in the U.S. The data also illuminates a dangerous intersection of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and hate toward sex workers, as the majority of the victims were Black and migrant trans women of color and trans sex workers. Sadly, we know that this data only provides a glimpse of the true dangers to the trans and gender-diverse community, as most cases are unreported and receive little attention when they are reported.
Our work to push back against systems and policies that perpetuate gender-based violence and oppression must be intersectional and bring together all voices that support liberation. Take action today to support trans communities:
- Read about the Trans Day of Resilience principles for how we can reimagine this world that supports and values everyone’s unique spirit and identity.
- Support the Transgender Law Center’s Trans Agenda for Liberation, which offers community-led guidance toward creating a liberated world, with the voices of trans people of color rightfully at the center of this work.
- Learn how the Trans Women of Color Collective uplifts trans and gender non-conforming people of color in their efforts to achieve liberation for all who are oppressed.
We strive to create a future that people like Allan—a transgender survivor and former Tahirih client—deserve. For Allan and other trans immigrant survivors, the road to justice and safety can be long and challenging; previous traumas may make this road seem overwhelming. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection subject trans people to prolific, systemic abuse such as solitary confinement, unsafe housing, medical neglect, sexual abuse and harassment, and anti-trans oppression. But all of us can stand alongside those in the trans community and work to dismantle the systems that harm, criminalize, and kill trans immigrant survivors.
As we celebrate trans resilience, we also remember those we have lost—which includes a disproportionate number of Black trans women and femmes. In their honor, we push back against systems of oppression and commit to building a future where everyone can live freely and joyfully.
As Allan said, “Looking back, I see that I had the strength and resolve the whole time. Now I am a legal permanent resident in the United States, and I have a meaningful job where I support others in need. I have come a long way, and I have realized big dreams. Now I have new goals and dreams, and I know I cannot achieve them alone, but only with the help of other good people like the people at Tahirih who have helped me so much.”
Let’s create a world in which survivors like Allan can pursue their dreams. With inspiration and motivation from trans activists, artists, and visionaries, we can ensure trans immigrant survivors have the opportunity to not only survive but truly thrive.
Thank you for your continued support for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence, today and every day. Together, we can build a future of liberation for all.
In celebration of trans resilience, and with love for those we have lost,
“We Defend our Trans Family” (2018) artwork by Micah Bazant and Forward Together