With 22 transgender women murdered this year alone – 19 of whom women of color – Forward Together, a multi-racial organization aimed at creating social change through culture and policy, wanted to commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, culminating on Nov. 20th’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, with an art and activism project. But their observance goes beyond remembrance.
The Trans Day of Resilience campaign brings together eight trans and gender non-conforming artists and eight trans justice organizations to illustrate the stories of remembrance, resilience and resistance of trans women of color.
"Too often we’re only fighting the things we don’t want, like violence and poverty. It’s just as important to imagine and build the world we do want," Micah Bazant, founding artist, said.
Ahead, re-imagine Transgender Day of Remembrance with artwork from this powerful illustration project.
"With solitary confinement a commonplace and destructive method of dealing with trans detainees, I wanted the trans women in this piece to be together, touching, holding hands in resistance. Among their feet and wrists you’ve got chains disintegrating, breaking between the weight of their resistance, and in the background and between the collapsed chains, there’ll be sprouting flora and fauna, of the new worlds they are nurturing and of the worlds they’ve always come from, one and the same," says artist Mohammed Fayaz of this piece he did with the Transgender Law Center.
"The childhood images show every black trans woman’s beginning, and the images above show different possible futures – grieving and action," artist Wriply Bennet says of the piece they did with Black Lives Matter.
"We wanted to show different generations and gender expressions of trans femme people supporting each other and resisting state violence together. We wanted to show the connections between prisons and borders and the gender binary – how they are interconnected systems of control that effect us internally and externally," artist Micah Bazant says of this piece done with the Audre Lorde Project.
"The image is a femme tribute, a memorial, and a celebration of the ways we see and affirm ourselves," writes illustrator Ebin Lee, who designed this piece with SPARK Reproductive Justice Now.
With the words "seguridad" and "orgullo" listed among others like "resistance" and "liberation," artist Rommy Torrico, who created this illustration with the TransLatina Coalition, shows that the trans movement is multicultural and multilingual.
"This comic interweaves several themes: The erased herstory of our collective two-spirit ancestry; the role of our two-spirit elders in bequeathing teaching, resistance & power to us; the sacred power of our two-spirit ancestry; contemporary resistance to violence & oppression as our inheritance, especially with respect to the work of Buried Seedz. It focuses on these themes through the stories of three people: Jessie Hernandez, FC Martinez and Angie Zapata," writes artist Bishakh Som, who illustrated this one with the Buried Seedz.
Illustrator Adelina Cruz, who designed this piece with the Coalition of Transgender Women of Colour, writes that, "the words at the top express the Diné (Navajo) concept of 'walking in beauty and balance.'"