Aerrion Burnett has been named as the 27th known trans person murdered in the United States this year. As the epidemic of violence against Black trans women continues, it is vital that trans advocacy groups receive support.
Burnett, who lived in nearby Kansas City, was found dead on the side of the road about 3:40 a.m., TV station KMBC reports. It was two days before her 38th birthday.
Earlier this year, huge crowds turned out to address the crisis which has now claimed another trans woman. Thousands gathered during Pride Month, a movement that owes its existence to trans women of color. However, sixty years on from the Stonewall Riots, trans people are still disproportionately at risk of police brutality, murder, and broad discrimination — trans people of color, more so. That’s why the fundraising and organization being done at the grass-roots level is so important.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 14, 2020
The situation is critical, but there are many ways you can show up for trans people in your family, workplaces, and communities. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you get informed and demand justice for trans lives.
Protect trans lives
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, transgender people are seven times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police than non-trans people. But there are organizations dedicated to protecting trans people during their interactions with authorities. This helpful spreadsheet includes places to donate such as the Homeless Black Trans women fund and The Okra Project, which provide life-saving services to trans people. Most recently, these grass-roots organizations have contributed to emergency shelter, food, and medical support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gays & Lesbians Living In A Transgender Society (GLITS Inc.,) has been temporarily housing Black trans people recently released from Rikers Island. They need your help to raise a total of $1,000,000 by June 30th to buy two buildings to create a permanent place to house and support Black trans people in New York City. Check out the fundraiser page here.
You can also donate to Trans Lifeline, a peer support and crisis hotline for trans people, that provides life-changing small grants for name change fees. And if you want to support elderly trans people, give to SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ Elders which provides housing and healthcare for elderly queer people.
There are countless petitions, fundraising campaigns, and community-led organizations that are well worth your time and support. Now, Twitter users are using their trolling expertise (and Harry Potter knowledge) to bring increased visibility to these causes. Check out the deceptively informative threads below.
Promote trans rights
Trans people are disproportionately targetted by police in the US, and misgendering and mistreatment of trans people within the prison system contribute to the high incidence of death and suicide. Trans people also face a dramatically elevated risk of harm or death in pre-trial detention.
The Emergency Release Fund works to ensure that no trans person at risk in New York City jails remains in detention before trial. In Washington, the Lavendar Task Force protects the rights of trans folks and you can donate to its WA Black Trans Task Force here.
You can also donate to The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which “provides direct representation for low-income transgender people and transgender people of color.”
Learn about the modern transgender rights movement
Transgender Lives: Your Stories is an interactive campaign created by The New York Times to allow transgender people to tell their own stories in their own words.
Consume trans-inclusive content
In light of Harry Potter author, J.K Rowling‘s latest transphobic comments, fantasy fans are looking for more trans-inclusive fantasy franchises. Luckily, there are lots of titles and series to choose from, including An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey, and Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. There’s an even more detailed list on the NBC news website.
GLAAD has a list of tips for allies of transgender people, which includes supporting all-gender public restrooms and avoiding making assumptions about a transgender person’s sexual orientation. Check out all the tips here.