Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is a day dedicated to memorializing the lives of trans individuals who have lost their lives to transphobic violence. It serves as a poignant reminder of the institutional challenges faced by the trans community and the pressing need for widespread societal change.
This Trans Day of Remembrance we would like to highlight the following pioneers and Black Trans-led organizations.
Ceyenne Doroshow is an activist, author, organizer, community-based researcher, and compassionate powerhouse performer known for her work in advocating for the rights of transgender and sex worker communities within movement spaces that she has developed over decades. Born on October 5, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, she has played a significant role in raising awareness about the challenges faced by Black trans individuals.
Ceyenne Doroshow is the founder of the organization Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.), which focuses on providing support and resources to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, especially those involved in the sex trade. G.L.I.T.S. aims to address issues such as discrimination, violence, and lack of access to healthcare that disproportionately affect transgender people.
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, and SOAR Institute. 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 envisioning a medical center and combined housing unit in Queens,NY — building sustainability for the community like no other.
In addition to her activism, Ceyenne is also known for her work as a dynamic performer and artist. She uses her platform to challenge stereotypes and stigmas associated with transgender individuals, striving to create a more inclusive and accepting society. -
G.L.I.T.S. has led to change systemic and economical oppressions of systemic and financial discrimination not only in NYC but also globally when it comes to our marginal communities, We approach the health and rights crises faced by transgender community members and the sex worker community , holistically using harm reduction, human rights principles, economic and social justice, along with a commitment to empowerment and pride in finding solutions from our own community.
The first issue we address is that of immediate need/crisis support for transgender sex workers and the TLGBQIA and Bi Poc community members from the NYC area, across the US and globally through supporting asylum seekers from our priority communities. The next issue we address is health care and health resilience for transgender sex workers. We need to address this issue because our community is hype marginalized and has a profound need for safe sex supplies and free/low cost health to address both trans specific and holistic needs. We currently work on housing since so many in our G.L.I.T.S.’ community are without stable housing, deepening the cycle of disenfranchisement. G.L.I.T.S. also advocates and educates to ensure health, wellness and inclusion of transgender people in our society and to address the stigmatization and criminalization of trans people because of anti-prostitution/anti-sex work laws.
GLITS creates holistic solutions to the health and housing crises faced by TGBLQIA+ individuals experiencing systemic discrimination at intersecting oppressions impacted by racism and criminalization, through a lens of harm reduction, human rights principles, social justice and community empowerment, imbued with a commitment to empowerment and pride in finding solutions in our own community. Centering Black trans leadership, GLITS is committed to building future community leaders and is grounded in a multi-generational approach to growth. GLITS uses advocacy as well as press and media appearances to educate the public about health, wellness and inclusion of TGBLQIA+ people in our society and to address the stigmatization and criminalization. GLITS holistically addresses the barriers the TGBLQIA+ community experience particularly at the intersection of gender, class and race identities. GLITS first faces immediate need and crisis support including for transgender sex workers, and incarcerated community members, in the NYC area as well as globally through supporting TGBLQIA+ asylum seekers. GLITS recognizes housing as a cornerstone of health and wellness and has created sustainable stable housing through GLITS I SOUTH & The Leadership Academy including 12 individual apartments with leadership, healing and educational services. Finally, GLITS address disparity in health care and health resilience for the TGBLQIA+ community through our preliminary work to establish a dedicated health clinic co-designed with health practitioners and TGBLQIA+ community members. GLITS initiatives are groundbreaking and each is being documented to serve as a pilot project exemplifying approaches that can and will be applied in other cities around the country and the world.
In addition to providing leadership to this project, founder Ms. Ceyenne Doroshow is an international speaker and media figure addressing the many issues facing Black, POC, trans and TGBLQIA community members , and is a powerful advocate fighting discriminatory policies.
Miss Major is a Black, transgender activist who has fought for over fifty years for her trans/gender nonconforming community.
Major is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a survivor of Dannemora Prison and Bellevue Hospital’s “queen tank.” Her global legacy of activism is rooted in her own experiences, and she continues her work to uplift transgender women of color, particularly those who have survived incarceration and police brutality.
Miss Major’s fierce commitment and intersectional approach to justice brought her to care directly for people with HIV/AIDS in New York in the early 1980s, and later to drive San Francisco’s first mobile needle exchange. As director of the TGI Justice Project, she’d return to prisons as a mentor to her ‘gurls’ inside. She now runs House of GG-TILIFI, a retreat center for trans and gender nonconforming leaders from the Southern U.S., in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her recent creative projects include executive producing the series Trans in Trumpland (now streaming everywhere), and Miss Major Speaks, a book on her life’s activism co-authored with Toshio Meronek (host of the podcast Sad Francisco), is out now from Verso Books. - from Miss Major
Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project
Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) was founded in 2004 with the help of a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Institute to provide legal services for transgender and gender variant/non-conforming people, primarily those in CA prisons, jails and detention centers. Attorney Alexander Lee, a member of TGIJP’s founding advisory board and the organization’s first Director, brought on Miss Major Griffin-Gracy in 2005 to help run the organization, which had just merged with the Transgender in Prison (TIP) Committee. TIP became the community organizing program of TGIJP, and Miss Major was hired to oversee it. Lee left TGIJP in 2009 and a year later, Miss Major became the organization’s first Executive Director.
The Transgender in Prison Committee (TIP) was originally an offshoot from the HIV-in-Prison Committee, a community-based program based out of California Prison Focus. Varying in membership over time, some key founding members of TIP were Judy Greenspan, Antoine Mahan, Beck Witt, Delphine Brody, Nat Smith, Neddy Baguio, Sean Saifa Wall, Morgan Bassichis, and Jayden Donahue.
Soon after the merger with TIP, long-time volunteers Melenie Eleneke, the Reverend Bobbie-Jean Baker, Trisha Wilson, Janetta Johnson, and Kathy Stripling joined. Other key volunteers who contributed greatly to the early years of TGIJP include Lala Yantes, Kelani Key, Gail Spencer, Miss Will Walker, and Sottoo Uueng, among many others.
From 2010 to 2014, TGIJP shifted from legal service work to peer legal advocacy programs. These formative years included a time where the staff was entirely trans people of color, three out of four of whom were formerly incarcerated Black and Brown trans women. In 2015, TGIJP hired a staff attorney, establishing an effective combination of rigorous legal service work and peer advocacy power building inside prisons, jails, and detention centers as well as outside in the community.
In Late 2015, Miss Major retired and passed the torch to Janetta Johnson, TGIJP’s current CEO and former Executive Director. Under her leadership we have implemented the social economic justice fellowship and the re-entry program where people are supported (paid job opportunities) coming out of cages, and the start of Black Girlz Rulez (BGR) – a Black trans, GNC, non binary national convening. Janetta/TGIJP are the co-founders of the first ever Transgender Cultural District and Taja’s Coalition, offering safety and accountability for Black and Brown trans safety. - from TGIJP
Marsha P Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was an activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Marsha went by “BLACK Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender. It is the consideration of who “BLACK Marsha” was that inspired The Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
So much of our understanding of Marsha came from the accounts of people who did not look like or come from the same place as her. As transness is now more accessible to the world, introducing the Institute to BLACK trans people who are resisting, grappling with survival, and looking for community has become a clear need. - from MPJ Institute
For more thorough information we suggest reading the following text available for free: Street Trans Action Revolutionaries distributed by Prisoner Correspondence Project.
Ashunte Deasia Coleman is a native of central Mississippi. She relocated to Tampa Florida in the early 90's. During a time when employment options were particularly limited for Black Trans people, Ashunte started working as a street based sex worker in order to support herself. Throughout those years, Ashunte experienced drug addiction and periods of incarceration. After returning home from a two and half year prison sentence, Ashunte struggled to find employment and housing. She eventually gained housing and worked as a banquet chef and later as a nursing assistant for over 15 years, where she focused on caring for the sick and elderly. In 2019 she relocated from Tampa from Atlanta and used her lived experience to begin advocating for the most marginalized people in society. As the co-founder of the Florida based organization LIPS Tampa, she has provided resources and guidance to sex workers and Black Trans Women. She has contributed to various projects that challenges the criminalization of sex workers and she is dedicated to sharing her skills to help others advocate for their rights.
Candy Clark is a Black Trans Woman who lives and was born in the Tampa Bay area. Currently the co-executive director of LIPS Tampa, she is intentional about sharing survival skills that benefit people in her community. She is compassionate about building strong bonds with the Black Trans Women she provides resources for and deeply understands the unique hardships impacting the Trans community. She is committed to working towards ending the struggles experienced by Trans people.
LIPS Florida is a Central Florida based organization by Black Trans Women for Black and POC Trans folks. It was created to promote health and wellness through support groups, case management, resource sharing, and educational workshops. We meet members of our community where they are, and give them the tools to flourish into leaders who make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
LIPS Florida approaches the health and rights crises faced by Trans people holistically using harm reduction, human rights principles, economic and social justice, along with a commitment to empowerment and pride in finding solutions within our own community.
The first issue we address is that of immediate need/crisis support for transgender sex workers, including community members from the Central Florida area. We do this by organizing a variety of weekly events to encourage community engagement and foster learning opportunities. We prioritize health and safety through the formation of partnerships and collaborations with other organizations in Central Florida that serve the needs of trans people and recognize the need for sex positive health care.
The next issue we address is health care and health resilience for Transgender people. Our community is hypermarginalized and has a profound need for safe sex supplies and free/low cost healthcare to address both trans specific and holistic needs.
We currently work on opening drop in centers and access to emergency housing with a path to more permanent solutions since so many in our community are without stable housing, deepening the cycle of disenfranchisement, discrimination and stigma.
LIPS Florida also advocates and educates to ensure the inclusion of Transgender people in our society when creating programs and policies that affect our lives, and to address the criminalization of trans people because of anti-prostitution/anti-sex work and outdated HIV laws. - from LIPS Florida
Qween Jean is an Activist, Stage/Film Costume Designer, and Storyteller. She has committed her voice to advocating for marginalized communities; specifically black trans people. Her passion is creating access for unsung heroes and people who are often overlooked. She feels that they matter, and that their stories are valuable.
Qween strongly believes in Black Trans Liberation, and feels that Liberation extends to everyone. This will allow the community to start healing, cultivating joy and maintain our POWER. She is thankful to be surrounded by family and friends who teach her communal love. When we lead with love, the oppressors cannot win!
Qween wants the world to recognize and understand that black trans folx have the right to love past the age of 35! She often states “It’s simple; we are here to live and to live beautifully.”
Black Trans People are FAMILY!
Black Trans People are MAGIC!
Black Trans People are ENOUGH! - from Black Trans Liberation
Black Trans Liberation
Black Trans Liberation aims to end homelessness within the trans population by providing access and resources from community partners that empower and celebrate the TGNC community. By keeping trans people off the street, we can dismantle the current 35 year life expectancy of Black Trans people and prevent systemic oppression.