Dear Friends, Family and Community,
We’re horrified that Texas Governor Abbott has instructed the Department of Family and Protective Services to begin investigating what he and Texas Attorney General Paxton have newly defined “child abuse”: families loving and supporting their trans and gender expansive children. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wants Texas communities to report parents and “licensed professionals” such as doctors, nurses and teachers, to state authorities if there is any sign they are supporting or providing transition-related care.
According to the ACLU, this “opinion is not legally binding, and it remains up to the courts to interpret Texas laws and the Constitution. Moreover, DFPS cannot remove any child from their parents or guardians without a court order. No court here in Texas or anywhere in the country has ever found that gender-affirming care can be considered child abuse. The opinion released by Paxton cites highly partisan, outdated, and inaccurate information that ignores the consensus of every major medical association and the evidence-based and peer-reviewed standards of care. Trans youth continue to be threatened in Texas by state leadership as part of a politically motivated misinformation campaign that harms children.”
This is only part of a wave of anti-trans legislation that has swept across the United States, and according to Freedom for All Americans, there are more states in the nation considering anti-trans legislation than there are not. (You can see their legislation tracker here.)
The ACLU has also made a statement warning against similar efforts and their impact on trans youth, “If allowed to go into effect, the law will undermine the mental, emotional, and physical health of transgender and non-binary people across the state.”
You can find groups working against these harmful attacks on bodily autonomy and trans lives by taking a look at the map on our website. Our map lists all TJFP applicants and grantees, grassroots trans-led groups organizing for trans liberation, that need the support of people on the ground in their communities! We encourage you to donate directly or offer your time, skills, and support, however you can with groups in your area.
“They don’t want to protect us, they want to control and eradicate us. And it is through our collective action that we resist and rebuild the world we want and need to live in” -Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project
Long before I joined TJFP, I was a trans child in New York, seeking care from my parents and a number of social work and medical professionals to support a transition that was already happening. My transition from numbly accepting a cis, closeted life, to a life where I could demand the care I knew I deserved, could make the moves I needed to be free from dysphoria and distress.
The legal decisions around my name change, the medical decisions around my physical transition, weren’t ones I was allowed to make on my own, and required a lot of second opinions and permission from authority figures. But whether my parents supported me or not, whatever my teachers or doctors had to say about it, I already knew I was trans. Receiving gender-affirming care and transitioning as a child simply let me continue living and growing in a way that felt most correct and right to me.
I do not know what I would have done if I had grown up in a state that interpreted transitioning under the age of 18 as child abuse. When we are children, when we are the most vulnerable and reliant on the authority figures around us, it is already terrifying to know you are trans and to ask for care. It is extraordinarily cruel to tell trans children, and the trans adults that they become, that the love and understanding they do receive is abuse. That the state will reward people who hate them. That all of this is done, supposedly, because the state has an interest in “protecting children.”
I did not and will never need to be protected from the rich, full, trans adolescence I had, the life I grew into through transitioning. The things I actually needed the most protection from were the condescension, mistrust, and archaic ideas about gender that slowed my transition. Even as a fully grown trans adult, coming from a background of strong family support and a relatively uneventful transition, I still feel helpless, still feel so much rage at the surveillance and control forced upon trans children like the one I was. Childhood is for being messy, for exploring and changing, for practicing being human, for learning how to care and support by being supported and cared for. It is not for living white-knuckled in fear and pain, for trying to perform normal good enough, waiting to reach some arbitrary age to possibly access freedom. It is not for fearing your family will be investigated for your personal medical decisions. We all want and need so much more, and we all deserve full and meaningful lives, free of cruel and unnecessary interventions by people far removed from our realities.
Part of TJFP’s mission is to move money to trans-led grassroots groups and projects centering trans justice in the US and US territories. Additionally we honor and amplify the ways our communities organize, create and shift culture, commit their love and care, and fight like hell for trans liberation.
We share your outrage with the seemingly endless attacks on our communities and yet we’re reminded all the time how incredibly powerful our grantees, applicants and our larger TJFP community is. We resist any narratives or efforts that seek to undermine our communities’ survival. Trans communities have proven throughout history that our commitments to keeping each other safe are unwavering and unbreakable. We are committed to trans futures, trans stories, trans families, and trans lives on a deep and personal level because these are ours, our kin in transness and queerness, our family that we will show up to protect. We are here with you!
Chase Strangio identified 3 key action steps in his update on Instagram:
We are sending so much love to our trans community everywhere. Always.
2020 has been neither seamless nor easy. A pandemic laid bare the cracks in an already overburdened healthcare system. A chaotic election further revealed the fragility of our systems of power and governance. Unceasing attacks on Black and trans lives have left communities reeling in anger and fear.
But as Glo Ross, former facilitator for the annual TJFP grantmaking panel, puts it, we can find power in “the fundamental truth of community: Decisions made from our collective energy and investment are more creative, powerful, and impactful than if we make them alone.”
We need all of us if we’re to achieve trans justice in this lifetime. Everyone doing what they can, where they are, finding their people and organizing together to make collective impact! We are so grateful for the immense wealth of knowledge and experience that our fellows, facilitators, grantees, and applicants past and present bring to this project that is funding trans justice. It gives us the strength and confidence to press on, looking forward to the beginning of a new year–“knowing that on the other side of the hardness is something much greater than our individual selves.”
As we move into 2021, we’re so excited to announce that our grant application form is opening very soon! Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement from us early next week, and spread this news widely. We couldn’t do this without you–our community of supporters who are committed to trans justice and trans leadership!
You can read Glo’s full piece “Community is a Verb” (originally published in the TJFP 2018 Annual Report) at this link.
We’re over the moon about the fifth of our six 2020 TJFP grantmaking fellows, Nicole Fernandes!
Nicole Fernandes is a South Asian Trans Woman new to the world of philanthropy. She comes from a more direct service and grassroots background, having worked at the LGBT Center of New York, and participating as a fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Currently, she is the Finance and Administrative Associate at Funders for LGBTQ Issues where she is beginning her career in philanthropy. Nicole finds joy in binge watching shows with her sisters and making a mess with acrylic paints.
Thank you for bringing your wisdom and generosity to this years grantmaking process!
TJFP is a small funding project built and powered by a lot of community love, sweat, and tears. And yes, there is magic in this work, but what really gets us going each and every day is YOU–our beloved and powerful grantees and applicants, donors, staff, volunteers, family, and friends.
“Our fight and our resilience is a testimony that it gets better, not because we pray it so, but because we fight like hell to make it so!” —Everette Renee Thompson, 2018 Community Grantmaking Fellow
Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of working with 42 of the most brilliant trans justice activists and organizers around the country as part of our annual grantmaking panels. We’ve received 1,118 applications from some of the most radical and visionary grassroots, trans-led groups creating spaces and systems of care for our community.
Please enjoy this video we created to share some of the behind the scenes magic with you. You may even see some familiar faces!
Here’s to seven years of trans leadership and justice in action! We can’t do this work without you, so wherever you are–thank you for being part of the magic and brilliance of our trans justice movements.
Completing the 2019 Community Grantmaking Fellowship team is the extraordinary Micky B! Having been long time fans of Micky B’s work and ongoing commitment to trans justice, particularly in the South, we were floored when she agreed to join us. Please help us celebrate all of our 2019 Fellows who over the past several months have been working harder then you might ever imagine.
Right now we’re just a few days away from hosting this awesome panel in New York who will be meeting all weekend long making final funding decisions! Stay tuned for more!
But for now, we’re pleased to introduce you to Micky B!
Micky B is a Black Trans Woman using cultural organizing to build the political leadership of Trans/GNC leaders across the South. Though a German born Army brat, Micky descends from the 1st free Black welders in Southwest Georgia. Her political development was grown through a village of white feminist lesbians, Black trans women, & HIV-positive Black gay men. Since 2015, Micky B co-founded & continues to curate “Southern Fried Queer Pride” (SFQP), a DIY art education non-profit and week long queer art festival. Through SFQP, she explores the nuanced intersections of queer performance art, installation, and film.
Micky has organized trans communities across the South as the 1st lead of the TLC@SONG program, where she co-organized against HB2 in NC, held a TGNC leadership convening in Nashville, TN, and organized a listening tour across the region. Currently, Micky works as the “Organizing Program Associate” for the Transgender Law Center, serves on committees funding trans-lead movement work, and trains organizations with the SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Center.
Micky is a proud member of the Pioneering House of Ultra Omni, member of Southerners On New Ground, graduate of the 2017 Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle, and 2018 Atlanta Pride Grand Marshal.
Micky B is a proud bisexual mama living and loving in Atlanta, GA. She loves fried vegetarian cuisine after a long day of voguing in resistance to the police state.
We can’t wait to be in your presence Micky B!
Not only are we feeling incredibly lucky for this opportunity to be at the table learning from this sage and powerful elder, we’re also feeling deep gratitude knowing that next week we get to work closely and collaboratively with Sharyn Grayson at this year’s grant making meeting.
What a privilege and honor to have this history maker on our team!
Sharyn has been working extremely hard reviewing every application received and remaining dedicated in spirt and service for trans communities. So with that, please help us welcome our fifth 2019 TJFP Fellow, Sharyn Grayson!
In 2006, recognizing the need for an expanded focus on innovative social justice projects and equity among community health and human services providers, Sharyn organized her own company and began operations in Oakland, CA. Today, the Nonprofit & Consumer Services Network (NPCSN) – offers a full range of professional business services and resources that launch, sustain, and support the economic growth, development, and continuity of community-based/grassroots organizations, nonprofit corporations, and small businesses that directly and positively impact the lives of all Transgender and LGBQI residents. Sharyn is CEO and Senior Consultant at NPCSN. The new home office has been relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. Among her many achievements, she is also part of a small, but growing, list of minority Transgender women who own and operate businesses across the country.
Currently, she also serves as Chief Operations/Financial Officer at the Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center (House of GG) – in Little Rock; a ‘Trans-led’ nonprofit organization she co-founded with world renowned ‘Stonewall Pioneer’, Trans Activist/Advocate, “Miss Major.”
Sharyn’s many professional business affiliations and alliances are extended across the U.S. She is a public speaker, trainer/facilitator, nonprofit business development consultant, grant writer, Transgender advocate, and highly respected ‘senior’ leader among the national TLGBQI neighborhood and healthcare community sectors.
Who’s crying? We’re not crying!?
Thank you Laverne for showing up so hard for trans justice and for believing in grass roots, trans-led organizing with us!
A message from Laverne Cox on Instagram:
“It’s my birthday. I am so grateful for another year and for all your love and support. Thank you also to everyone who has gone to ProtectTransHealth.org and left a comment saying that discrimination against trans people in healthcare is unacceptable. If you haven’t done so yet click on the link in my bio to leave a comment.
Also please consider making a donation to TransJusticeFundingProject.org to support trans and gender nonconforming lead organizations all over this country that provide vital services for trans people in local communities all over this country. This support would be an amazing gift to me on my birthday. Check out my previous IGTV post for more on TransJusticeFundingproject.org.”
“If you don’t know Lachlan Watson yet, it’s time to start paying attention, because the 18-year-old actor is on the brink of their biggest year yet. Watson, who plays Theo on Netflix’s teen drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, just partnered with Unilever for the brand’s latest initiative, United We Stand. The campaign pairs six grassroots, non-governmental organizations with LGBTQ+ voices and allies to raise a
wareness about the lack of accessibility of beauty products in the queer community.”
A huge thank you Tourmaline for helping make this opportunity happen and for filming such beautiful PSA stories! We’re so honored you chose us! And to Lachlan Watson and Schmidt’s Naturals, a super huge thanks you for partnering with us and supporting the work of TJFP!
Check out the full article here!
In a couple of weeks our panel of outstanding grantmaking Fellows will soon arrive in New York ready and eager to select and award this year’s grantees. This is something we work towards all year long. Please join us in welcoming another TJFP Fellow and incredible organizer, Priaynk Jindal!
Priyank is a longtime transsexual, part time amateur Muay Thai fighter. They are also a member of LeftRoots, a national formation of Left social movement organizers and activists who want to connect grassroots struggles to a strategy to win liberation for all people and the planet and a nurse practitioner living in Philadelphia, PA. They love accessories, a gorgeous braid and fighting to end heteropatriarchy and racial capitalism.
Priyank has been engaged in liberation work for decades and we’re elated they said yes to joining the team. We’re counting down the days till we get to learn from their experience and wisdom in person!