100% of the profits from our “Pride is Intersectional” shirts will be donated to Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund
“No one is free until we are all free”
- Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
“The better we understand how identities and power work together from one context to another, the less likely our movements for change are to fracture.”
- Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
As a queer-owned art space and in collaboration with queer artist @rebby__xx, Mesh Print Studio stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Social and political action needs to be taken to end the continuous police brutality, harassment, and systematic oppression of Black lives. During Pride month, it is important to acknowledge that this celebration is rooted in radical protest. The Stonewall Riots in June of 1969 were a response to prolonged police raids and violence against the LGBTQ community. Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman, was one of the most prominent figures in the days-long uprising and also in subsequent activism. Without her efforts and the efforts of the community, we would not have the social acceptance and LGBTQ rights movement as they exist today.
Intersectionality, a legal term coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is the concept that a person’s lived experience is the combination of different overlapping identities. It takes into account factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and class, as they are related to the legal, societal, and systematic privileges and disadvantages a person encounters in their lifetime. For example, a white, queer, cisgender man may face discrimination in his life as a queer person, but his whiteness and being a cis male, which are perperuated as society’s standard, provide him with numerous systematic advantages. In contrast a black, queer, transgender woman will face converging discrimination for being black, queer, and trans and will experience systematic disadvantages. Intersectionality operates as both an analysis of power imbalances and as a tool by which those power imbalances can be disarmed. In the three decades since Crenshaw defined intersectionality, it has helped to develop the fields of sociology, psychology, and feminist critical theory. However, despite great scholarly and social interest, courts have been slow to acknowledge the statistical facts that an individual with multiple identity markers often faces disproportionate discrimination and disadvantage.
This month, the Trump administration announced its plans to roll back healthcare regulations that protect transgender patients against discrimination in health facilities. While changes to the Affordable Care Act are impossible without being repealed by Congress, it does prevent Health and Human Services from advocating or investigating anti-transgender discrimination. Any change that threatens trans rights is likely to result in bodily harm and death to trans folx. Within the trans community, there are disproportionately high instances of homelessness, suicide, financial and food insecurity, and a lack of adequate mental and physical healthcare. Black trans women are especially affected because of the intersecting systematic disadvantages they face. In a 2015 transgender discrimination survey, 19% of black trans women reported living with HIV, compared to 3.4% of all trans women, 1.4% of all trans/non-binary (nb) people, and 0.3% of the US population. In the same survey, numbers showed that 20% of black trans/nb people did not have health insurance, compared to 14% of all trans/nb people, and 11% of the entire US population. In addition, the American Medical Association has labeled violence against the transgender community as an epidemic. In 2019, at least 26 trans/nb people were violently killed in the US, 91% of which were black trans women. We are only six months into 2020, and at least 15 trans/nb Americans have already been violently killed. Because of these and other egregious imbalances, it is imperative that we stand with our trans and BIPOC peers and advocate for further social and legal protections.
In our communities, we need to acknowledge the many different facets of the human experience and the many individuals that are at a greater systematic disadvantage. It is not enough to celebrate our differences, but we must actively do the work to elevate each other. We can help to identify and dismantle systems that keep individuals and communities in unjust circumstances. Just as ally is a verb, intersectionality requires active participation. Equity requires overcoming the substantive framework of discrimination by imposing positive institutional obligations to transform society. To acknowledge one’s privilege, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and class, and be able to educate yourself on the experiences of others is essential in the push for transformative, intersectional change. Build bridges and directly advocate for the changes you want to see in this world.
100% of the profits from our “Pride is Intersectional” shirts will be donated to the Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund, a fund to support black trans protestors with resources, medical care, and bail by the following organizations: Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, Black Trans Travel Fund, For the Gworls, and The Okra Project.
Please check out these organizations and others in our Resources page! There are also links to useful educational materials related to the Stonewall Riots, intersectionality, counseling services for black women and girls, how to be an ally, and more. This is a time to educate ourselves, regardless of identity markers.