Queers Built This is a project about queer inventiveness and DIY culture then, now, and tomorrow.The weeks following George Floyd’s death in the hands of the Minneapolis police have seen an unprecedented redistribution of wealth in the U.S., as celebrities, corporations, and regular folks have contributed out of their own pockets to citywide bail funds, Black-owned businesses, and other fundraisers aimed at uplifting and supporting America’s Black population. Many of these efforts have already amounted to huge success—the Minnesota Bail Fund, set up in Floyd’s home state, raised $20 million dollars in less than a week, according to the New York Times. These achievements illustrate how Floyd’s death has awakened the country to the immediate need for collective action on the issues of police brutality and systemic racism. But not all Black people have the same needs, and some Black communities, such as Black transgender people, are still not receiving sufficient financial and structural support.
Black trans people often face a specific set of structural, institutional, and personal barriers to accessing basic needs like housing, employment, and safety due to the intersections of their identities. According to 2012 data from Lambda legal, nearly one in two Black transgender people has been to prison, and Black trans people are also much more likely to face discriminatory policies and threats of sexual assault once behind bars. Black transgender individuals are also at higher risk of experiencing homelessness and poor mental health. In 2019 alone, at least 19 Black trans women were killed by fatal violence. As Black transgender people live at the nexus of two of the most economically and politically disadvantaged groups in this country, they are in need of specific and ongoing support.Activists and civilians alike have been disappointed that the momentum for uprisings across the country has primarily come from the death of George Floyd rather than the deaths of many queer Black people who have also recently died at the hands of police. Notably, Tony McDade, a Black transgender man living in Tallahassee, Florida, was shot and killed by police on May 27th. Though the queer Black community has honored McDade through various funds and online vigils, his death has seldom been mentioned in mainstream media or brought up during protesting—evidence of a larger pattern of historical oversight of violence inflicted upon Black trans people in the U.S.
Black liberation will never be possible without uplifting and protecting Black transgender people and communities. When offering Black people support during this time, we should all bear this in mind. Here are seven funds to donate to in order to support Black trans people:
The Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund provides money for Black trans women in Atlanta who are either sex workers or homeless. The fund has provided Black trans women with cell phones, temporary housing, food, and other necessities. According to Jesse Pratt Lopez, who created the fund in 2019, Atlanta has very few resources for transgender women, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. You can donate directly to this fund here.
Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund
The Okra Project is a collective that brings home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals to Black trans people across the country. Based on individual donations, The Okra Project pays Black trans chefs to go into the homes of other Black transgender people and cook them a meal free of charge. For Black trans people experiencing homelessness or whose homes cannot accommodate a chef, the project partners with outside locations to ensure there is space for cooking and dining. Donations to The Okra Project can be made here.
The Okra Project
The Black Trans Travel Fund is a mutual aid fund that provides Black transgender women in New York and New Jersey with financial resources to pay for car services in both states. The fund disperses $2,500 among a minimum of 50 people every month so that Black transgender women can access safe transportation. You can donate to the fund here.
The Black Trans Travel Fund
The Trans Women of Color Survival Fund assists with a range of financial needs for trans women of color including food, car fare, hygiene products, clothing, and more. The collective’s work also focuses on restorative justice and building socioeconomic growth and development for its members. You can donate to the fund here.
Trans Women of Color Survival Fund
The Emergency Release Fund is a grassroots organization that is committed to keeping transgender people in New York City out of jail. The organization allows people to request bail funds to ensure that their transgender loved ones can be released from prison and also does outreach to raise awareness on the issue of transgender incarceration. You can donate to the fund here.
Emergency Release Fund
For The Gworls raises money to assist with Black transgender people’s rent and gender affirming surgeries. The collective was started by a Black transgender woman and a Black nonbinary person who began to throw “rent parties” in New York City to pay pills for people in their trans community. The collective has now grown and is aiding trans people across the country. You can donate to the fund here.
For The Gworls
The Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund was set up with the specific purpose of supporting Black trans protestors with resources such as bail and medical care. Money collected by this fund is redistributed to several Black trans led organizations that are working to minimize violence against Black transgender individuals. The fund accepts donations through Paypal and Cash App here.Follow Mary Retta on Twitter.