The diversity at this roundtable was so joyful and productive! We have so many different stories about our experiences with trans representation the media; being trans ourselves; and listening to the lived experiences of our trans friends and family. Even more importantly, we were able to more deeply understand the history of trans identity in the United States, what types of risks and violence trans people face, and what we can do communally and socially to combat these injustices.
We started with unpacking the legacy of Christine Jorgensen, one of the first women to become famous in the United States for transitioning publicly and displaying her trans womanhood proudly. The media spectacle that ensued set a standard for other trans people after her, from the Stonewall Riots in 1969 to Caitlyn Jenner in 2015. However, this is not where we ended, nor where the conversation around transness should end. Our centering of trans women of color brought to light many issues that are important in social justice – marriage rights, immigration, navigating the medical-industrial complex (hospitals, doctors, healthcare), and so much more. Incorporating intersectionality enriched our discussion and put the most at-risk populations at the center of the movement. However, it is critical to both honor these voices and make them heard. Direct action to prevent violence against trans people and combat stigma include volunteering with local non-profits and organizations; raising funds for transition-related care and living necessities for local trans people (especially trans women of color); and educating oneself and others both online and face-to-face.