Discussing the Realities and Risks of Transgen…

Discussing the Realities and Risks of Transgender Visibility:


“A launch party this past Thursday at the [New Museum] featured the editors and contributors Che Gossett, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Juliana Huxtable, and Toshio Meronek. Miss Major, executive director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, noted that this era of increased visibility places transgender women of color, especially sex workers, at increased risk: ‘Their lives are in danger because of this,’ because violent actors take out their transphobia not on celebrities like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Caitlyn Jenner. Miss Major, whose activism dates back to Stonewall, highlighted the fact that transgender issues are being commodified by the mainstream in a way that has never happened before, but few people without what we commonly refer to as ‘privilege’ — advantages afforded to people based on their background — find themselves in media.”

“Artist Juliana Huxtable observed that the best remedy to the ‘packaging and distributing of our stories’ by cisgender people is to collaborate with other transgender people to make work and to find and cultivate role models. What this looks like in practice, what precious few examples exist, and how to build toward this reality could have been an entire panel in itself. The evening’s discussion, featuring predominantly transgender people of color, felt like a key step in the right direction toward Huxtable’s recommendation, but as Miss Major reminded the audience: ‘We don’t have economic security.’ In a country where transgender people suffer three times the unemployment rate of the average population, the doors to visibility may seem wider than ever, but many are still trapped fighting for safety and stability.“