How to help as trans people face unrelenting attacks across the country.
This is our newsletter-first column, Microtones. It runs on the site on Fridays, but you can get it in your inbox on Thursdays by signing up for our email newsletter.
April has arrived and I am ready for spring, outdoor events, sunshine and new plant life around us. This month I am supporting trans joy. I’m a cis woman who loves many trans people in my life and the unrelenting attacks across the country against the visibility, rights, and healthcare of trans adults and kids are horrifying to watch unfold. Drag bans impact drag performers of all genders, but unquestionably will be used to target trans people in public spaces, especially those who do not pass in cis-normative ways. The attempts to control queer and trans appearance in public is an attack on our pleasure and a way of testing the ground for how much can be taken from us.
I want to make clear that the freedom (including pleasure) of one marginalized group is dependent upon the other. I know as a Black woman that my status as a woman is questioned in ways that show the connections between anti-Blackness and transphobia. I know that my liberation cannot occur without trans liberation as well. Trans people deserve to live their lives freely and with pleasure, not punishment. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. And non-binary people are whatever they want to be because gender identity and expression encompass so many things!
In the face of so much systemic and macro-level transphobia, it is incumbent upon all of us to support trans people and in the case of this month’s pleasure practice, support trans joy. If you are a trans person reading this, please take time this month to intentionally center your joy, seek out gender euphoria, and connect with community. This might look like:
- Attending trans support or social groups
- Watching or reading trans media (check out the #TransRightsReadathon hashtag for lots of book suggestions)
- Getting/wearing that suit or overalls or parachute pants you’ve been ogling or holding onto for a while
- Going to a trans liberation protest or march
- Attending OutReach’s upcoming Trans Joy event (see OutReach’s Facebook page for more information)
Last year I attended the Trans Joy event and it was a complete delight to see so many trans folks of all ages, connecting, laughing, playing games, and sorting through items at the clothing swap. This year promises to be even more exciting. Your existence is resistance and your joy is a balm. I’m so glad you’re here with us.
Now for my cis readers, this month, like February’s call to support Black joy, I encourage you to support trans joy. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:
- Buy work from a trans writer or artist (check out the #TransRightsReadathon hashtag for lots of book suggestions)
- Volunteer to work a shift at OutReach’s Trans Joy event by contacting Gabe at [email protected]
- Donate to the fundraiser to support the Trans Joy event
- Donate to the Madison Area Transgender Association or Wilma’s fund (both via OutReach) as well as GSAFE—Tone Madison is kicking in $300 across these three causes, so match it!
- Donate to GoFundMe links to support local trans folks’ medical bills (follow locals HeyFawzy and nipinet on Instagram for regular mutual aid calls)
- Help a trans friend or loved one attend the Trans Joy event by providing a ride or being a support buddy if they are anxious to go alone
- Attend a trans liberation protest or march
- Tell your trans friends you love them, ask them what they need, and support them in finding whatever trans pleasure means to them this month
- Write your representatives expressing support for trans people and opposition to laws limiting trans rights and trans healthcare
Remember. my badass bitches, pleasure activism is not only about politicizing and fostering your own pleasure, but also supporting and making space for the pleasure of all marginalized people in the name of collective liberation. So this month, support trans joy!