Debates are occurring across the country about bathrooms and how they should be used by people of transgender experience. Some states (like North Carolina) are attempting to pass laws that would require people to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth, regardless of how they identify today. Chicago has officially made their stance known – they’ll allow students and faculty to use the bathrooms for the genders they identify with rather than how they were assigned at birth.
On Aug. 17, 2013, James Dixon, 23, met Islan Nettles, 21, in Harlem, New York. The two began to flirt until Dixon learned that she was a transgender woman. According to what Dixon later told authorities, he went into a “blind fury” and attacked Nettles, hitting her twice. The first blow knocked her to the ground. The second time, Dixon hit her as she already lay on the pavement. Nettles died five days later – after falling into a coma. Her death was a direct result of the physical assault from Dixon, according to the New York Times.
“I just didn’t want to be fooled,” Dixon reportedly said in a videotaped statement. Apparently his friends began to mock him for flirting with a woman of trans experience. He blamed the taunting for his decision to beat Nettles to death.
On Monday, April 4 2016, the jury selection began for the trial of James Dixon, the 25-year-old man who was accused of manslaughter and assault in the 2013 murder of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old black transgender woman.
While Sam Smith was busy trying to claim that he was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar, at another award show, there was actual history being made.
At the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Mya Taylor, the actress best known for her breakout role in Tangerine, became the first out transgender actress to win a Film Independent Spirit Award in the category of best supporting actress.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington were going to get a $100,000 donation in the early half of 2015, however the donor made a request: that the money wouldn’t be used to support transgender girls, so the chapter gave it back.
For the first time in the series, TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” will be featuring a transgender bride in search of the perfect gown for the wedding of her dreams.
The lucky lady? Precious Davis, an activist from the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. In the new episode which airs on Friday, she will share the story of her romance with Myles Brady, a fellow activist from the same area.
Black queer and trans* folks are often excluded from mainstream ideals about love and romance. Their deviation from the White heteropatriarchal “norm” means that many folks in these communities rarely see images of themselves reflcted back on the silver screen, in TV series’, or in other media in popular culture. That’s why NBC’s new series “Living Color: Love is Revolutionary When You’re Black & Transgender,” a first entry in the “NBCBLK “Love is Revolutionary” series is so timely and necessary.
In a world where trans folks are still murdered for merely existing, this series dares to spotlight the beauty in these loving relationships. While this will not cure all the issues many folks in the United States have had historically, and still have presently, with queer and trans* love, it is definitely a beautiful expression of visibility for individuals who are left out of the notion of love altogether.
Photo Credit: YouTube/NBCNews/Still
Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.
Who dies? Who thrives? Join members of both the Trans Women of Color Collective and #BlackLivesMatter to examine the vitality and visibility of justice movements. In the wake of the deaths of people like Islan Nettles and Eric Garner and the incarceration of people like CeCe McDonald, how do we promote the unity of these movements and the centrality of LGBTQ people to achieving justice? How can we advocate for fellowship and liberation as we advance our mutual cause?
Moderated by Lourdes Ashley Hunter, National Director of TWOCC and including panelists Darnell L. Moore, Ahmad Greene, Katrina Goodlett, Tiq Milan, and Elle Hearns, this important conversation took place at NYU on Feb. 12th.