As of now there are AT LEAST SIX.” This time in 2014, just a year ago, Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera had publicly challenged Katie Couric; I sparred about language and identity on CNN; Cox’s Netflix series bestsellers list. As a writer and journalist, I had been forecasting the game-changing moment that was soon to come in May: Cox, a black trans woman from Mobile, Alabama, appearing on the cover of magazine.
The five women rounding out this tragic figure are***: —Lamia Beard, 30, Norfolk, VA —Taja De Jesus, 36, San Francisco, CA —Penny Proud, 21, New Orleans, LA —Ty Underwood, 24, North Tyler, TX —Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, Los Angeles, CA As the New York City Anti-Violence Project noted in their tweet about Golec’s murder, “This time in 2014 we knew of no homicides of Trans women in the US.
My show explores the intersection of popular culture, representation, politics, identity and community.
I’ve seen folks juxtapose the recent media visibility of trans women of color and these recent murders.
But cultural representation is just one piece of the social justice pie, and we must be clear about one thing: Trans women of color have had one year of visibility in the media, after decades of erasure (think about how many times historians, archivists, filmmakers or books mention the revolutionary work of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. It’ll take more than a year of a few trans women in media to transform decades of structural oppression and violence, decades of misinformation, decades of exiling.
Cox used her time in the pop cultural spotlight to not only advance her acting career, but to tell the stories of women like Ce Ce Mc Donald.
Their death marks the sixth trans woman** or gender-nonconforming person to be reported murdered in the U. This was the highest media saturation for trans women of color in U. After decades of erasure, trans women of color were finally garnering mainstream attention.
When I walk into a space, I am cognizant of the fact that I am bringing communities of people with me, communities that have historically been exiled and silenced.
The weight of that responsibility never lightens, even as I navigate uncharted terrain as a TV host.