Why do you think the violence and inequities trans women of color, particularly immigrant and undocumented women, experience are left out of dominant conversations?
Racism still plays a key role in society.
As an undocumented trans woman of color, I am supposed to be invisible and live in the shadows. I'm not supposed to speak up or speak truth to the violence my community is still facing every day. Take Sylvia Rivera, a trans Puerto Rican-Venezuelan who was vocal about the police brutality and discrimination our community faced in the late 1960s, as an example. She unapologetically took the stage at a Pride event in New York decades ago, and the response she received from the mainstream LGBT movement was similar to the one I met at the White House last month. It is also important to point out that most people booing Sylvia and myself were white gay men.
You were called a heckler by the president, the news media and the Pride community, all for sharing your truth and calling out discriminations within "progressive" movements. How did that make you feel?
It was heartbreaking and devastating. I was very disappointed and upset that the mainstream LGBTQIA+ community turned its back on me. I have proudly supported other events and demonstrations they organize, so to me it was a slap in the face.
With that said, it wasn’t entirely surprising. So, as an activist and organizer, I did not let their reaction hold me back from speaking truth to power. I went to represent the undocumented trans community and spoke on behalf of transgender women of color. I did not attend the White House to take selfies while discrimination and violence are still incarcerating, deporting and killing us.
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