Black Trans Liberation: Power and Purpose
August 16, 2021
Black Trans Liberation founder Qween Jean leads a closing event for the Homeroom activation Black Trans Liberation: Memoriam and Deliverance. Qween Jean will lead a virtual walkthrough of the space on MoMA PS1's Instagram at 1:30 p.m., followed by a live streamed panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. with Black trans leaders Ms. Ceyenne Doroshow, Tahtianna Fermin, Gia Love, Devin Michael Lowe, Raquel Willis, B. Hawk Snipes, and Marquise Vilsón Balenciaga. Following the discussion, Qween Jean will hold space on Rashid Johnson's Stage from 5 to 6 p.m. to mark the closing.
Ms. Ceyenne Doroshow is a compassionate powerhouse performer, activist, organizer, community-based researcher, and public figure in the trans and sex worker rights movements. As the Founder and Executive Director of G.L.I.T.S., she works to provide holistic care to LGBTQ sex workers while serving on the following boards: SWOP Behind Bars, Caribbean Equality Project, SOAR Institute, and NYTAG. As an international public speaker, her presentations include The Desiree Alliance, Creating Change, SisterSong, Harm Reduction Coalition and the International AIDS Conferences, and now PRIDE on FX. Ceyenne has published features in GQ, Vogue, TIME, ATMOS, i-D and many other publications. At the present time, Ceyenne is building her leadership academy and continuing to build out a medical center and combined housing unit in Queens, NY — building sustainability for the community like no other. G.L.I.T.S was able to raise enough money to buy a $2 million 12-unit residential building that is a free safe place for Black trans folks to live. The G.L.I.T.S. House in Queens, New York opened in November 2020.
Tahtianna Fermin is the founder and CEO of Bridges4Life, which works to help teens and young adults on street and in foster care become responsible, self-sufficient, confident, and educated adults. Bridges4Life provides housing, preparation for adulthood, prevention services, and assists young people in negotiating aging-out services within the foster care system. Tahtiana is also a member of The National LGBTQ Workers Center’s NYC chapter, serving on the Center’s National Board as its New York Liaison. A community activist since 2008, Tahtianna has been a Community Follow-Up Worker (CFW) at Housing Works Inc., a recovery coach and patient navigator at The Alliance For Positive Change, amongst other initiatives, as well as speaking at the Presidential debate in 2008 for Barack Obama. Tahtianna runs a transgender support group weekly at the Alliance for Positive Change and Bridges4Life locations.
Gia Love is a Black trans woman from New York City. She is a model and activist that centers her work around putting big bodied, Black, and trans women at the forefront of every conversation. Gia was featured in Pose and is the star of the Teddy Award-winning documentary Kiki; a coming of age story about youth in the ballroom scene, and her work in the house and ballroom scene has encompassed community activism, HIV and STI prevention services for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth, and research.Gia founded the Celebration of Black Trans Women Cookout, a summer time event that centers and celebrates Black trans women by creating a joyous experience for the community.
Devin Michael Lowe is a Black, first generation Jamaican-American, and queer man of transgender experience, originally from Houston, Texas, now based in NYC. As well as being the founder and CEO of the Black Trans Travel Fund, a mutual-aid initiative that pays for car ride services for Black trans women to be able to travel safely and free of harassment, Devin is also an actor and media producer, creating content that highlights the lived experiences of queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming folk, with a special focus on Black folks and other communities of color. Devin is the Executive Producer on a documentary currently in production, called Redefining Masculinity, that focuses on masculinity from a Black trans-masculine perspective. He is both an actor and associate producer on The Garden Left Behind (2019), a film following an undocumented Latina trans woman, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2019, winning the Audience award, among many others. He is also currently the host of Trans-masculine & Healthy, a new web-series developed in partnership with Callen-Lorde and the New York City Department of Health, that focuses on physical and mental healthcare for trans-masculine identified folks. Devin has been the lead facilitator for multiple trans masculine support groups throughout New York City that focus on self-care, political education, and redefining and centering healthy masculinity, as well as co-directed general TLGBQ+ support groups where folks participate in various cathartic and revolutionary art forms while learning about their impact on political movements. He is currently a Community Media Organizer for Black Trans Media, and helps to run their virtual support spaces for Black trans people across the country.
Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly Black transgender people. She has held ground-breaking posts throughout her career including director of communications for the Ms. Foundation, executive editor of Out magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC). In 2018, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence. During her time at Out, she published the Trans Obituaries Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against trans women of color and developed a community-sourced 13-point framework to end the epidemic. This project won a GLAAD Media Award. Raquel is a thought leader on gender, race and intersectionality. She’s experienced in online publications, organizing marginalized communities for social change, non-profit media strategy, and public speaking while using digital activism as a major tool of resistance and liberation. She will be releasing her debut memoir about her coming of identity and activism with St. Martin’s Press in 2022.
B. Hawk Snipes is an actor and activist from the Bronx, New York. B fell in love with being a creative while attending Fiorello LaGuardia High School for Art & Performing Arts. After high school they attended F.I.T college for fashion design, starred in the hit MTV show *Friendzone, and started a music group called O.F.U. They are on the board of Black Trans Femme in the Arts. They are mostly known for their unique style gracing different fashion magazines and style blogs. And also as an actor featured on the hit FX show Pose. They are always working on more creative projects to diversify and inspire the world with their unique talents in TV, fashion, and music.
Marquise Vilsón Balenciaga is an actor and activist. He is also a long-standing member, participant, and leader in New York’s underground ballroom scene, and is currently a member of the House of Balenciaga. In 2018 he received the Octavia St. Laurent Trans Activist Award, the Masquerade Blue Print Award, and was acknowledged as a Transman ICON. In 2011, Marquise was given the Eric Christian Bazaar Award for his work with Safe Horizons Streetwork Project as a Sexual Health Coordinator doing both pre and post counseling as well as HIV testing focusing on youth that is unhoused.