Episode 402: Raquel Willis with Patrice Peck

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the long-term cast. This is Patrice Patrice. Welcome back, welcome, Patrice. L.. Patricia! You've been busy. Yeah. She's yet another piece in the New York. TIMES SELF CARE for black journalists willing to in the show notes. You gotTA. Keep coming, thank you. And thank you for returning to the show this week. Who did you set up an interview? This, week I spoke with cal. She is a Black Trans woman. Journalist activists national organizer She wears many many hats. She actually got her start after going to the University of Georgia off, I'm getting a degree in journalism. She started in local news in Georgia. And eventually she went to the transgender law center where she did some really great work in eventually became executive editor of out magazine. She's really amazing I'm sure with dynamic group of people while they're and now she's currently the director of Communications for the Foundation for women. Is She so interesting because you see her quoted as an expert or an advocate, but also uc or byline still doing journalism? Yeah, there's a there's an incredible part of this interview towards the end where she talks about. How for a while those labels were? Tough to navigate you know like whether she was a journalist or an activist or an organizer, and now she just sort of doesn't care like she's. She's just doing her work. And it encompasses all of those things which is pretty powerful. Before get to the interview I. Just wanted to point out you know again. I am a follower listener of the long form podcasts in I can't recall listened to an interview with a trans journalists who is out at especially not a lack journalists end ice thought that it would be very very important to include a voice like Racal's. That has this intersectional perspective included in the long form archives? Thank you for that addition to the ever swelling long-form our cash, of course, of course we're. We're thrilled to have her on the show in thrilled to have you hosted? Speaking of the swelling archive of long foreign podcast episodes are all brought to you with the support of mail chimp, who make this whole thing possible and have for many years. Thanks to melt him. Now here's Patrice with Rico Willis. Whoever cal thank you so much for joining us on long term podcast. I've been dying to get your here. Yes, hi, for traces so great, so be are. So. Let. The people know where you're from where we're cal grew up so I consider myself a southern girl through and through, even though I live in Brooklyn. Now I am forever from a gusty Georgia still not Atlanta Georgia Augusta get. Get right its own specific flavor, and I really care those stubborn roots with me everywhere I go I grew up in a fairly traditional black southern family. We were also Catholics. So there were layers of traditional layers of respectability in some ways so obviously growing up of a blacked budding here later to understand herself as transgender Parson. Yeah it was a it was a bit of a journey. To say the least and so, what drew you to journalism? So I! Loved. Riding like? Different things growing up I wasn't one of those people who likes insist that with it I'm a typical German I in that way. But then when I got to be I, don't know maybe about thirteen or fourteen I started writing song, and so I actually have been a big music fan of big fan of lyricism for most of my life, and I envisioned myself at one point as being a songwriter, so so that was kind of the organic star then when I got to. The later years of high school I was the yearbook nerd. You know I went to a fine arts high school, and so everyone had their thing, and my interest really went into your bug. I was so. And so the idea of creating this like objects that cap sure. A, year in our lives, you know like that was so interesting to me, and I didn't understand why other people didn't think that that was interesting, but in the same way, and eventually I was the editor in chief my senior year, so it was a fun experience, and it was nice managing a team collaborating with folks, and I was like well I guess I like this like I'm not going to be this doctor that my grandma always telling me I'm going to be. And so so it was like well. How do I do that? And so? I ended up going to the University of Georgia and I started out. Double majoring in graphic design and magazines journalism, specifically because I was still interested in the visual elements in conjunction with the verbal elements, and so yeah, so that was kind of the origin story of the journalism career got it got it than so. What year did you graduate and I? Ask because. I'm thirty. Two and I graduated from Undergrad in two thousand nine, and that was like during the last recession, and it was hell difficult to get a magazine job, and so yeah, what year did you Graduate College? And what were your career aspirations as like a graduating senior? Yes, I drive college twenty thirteen don't what's his kind of wild, so think about because it hasn't even been. You know a full ten years of a proper career. Obviously journalism faults deal. Before they even get out of school, but you know. My senior year was interesting because I was trying to finish my degree of course I had dropped graphic design, because I was it. Just wasn't as great of technical artists focused on the journalism degree, but I also picked up a minor in women's studies now. Folks, Gender Studies Women's studies, and that really shifted a lot of things for me as well because when I started the gender studies courses, and started learning about systems of oppression and finding language Arou- my own identity of trans her sign in College. It opened my eyes to the ways that these systems of oppression so. Color art experience in. Journalism Ryan you know the idea of objectively you know more people talk about that now. Then I was very hyper, aware of the fact that I was being in many ways to strip myself of my blackness of my womanhood of mind, fairness Trans Ness. So be seen as unbiased. which is cute and you know that is a particular way of rioting by. I'm not unbiased. You Know I. Believe in Black Power I believe in the power of Trans People in clear people I am a feminist. And I knew I was going to have a career at some point that touched on those things now. I had like many folks huge aspiration. I'M GONNA go to new. York right away I'm GonNa have this fabulous job like willingness later in ugly Betty. Working at a magazine, yes, I think the kind of assumption would be particularly as a woman, and has a clear person that I would want to work at somewhere like vulgar working a fashion space, but you know my favorite magazine in high school was actually wired yes. Sue Wired and obviously like the visual components of it, and just like the stories were always like cutting edge. Mean they're still doing great stuff. Why doesn't get enough love? To this day. To this day. So, so yes I had these dreams of going to New York, and my sister at that time lived in New York, so I went to visit her for like two weeks right after my senior year completed and I WENT To interview and you know you don't know anything about trying to find a job, you know most people don't. It? Maybe that's because I was black Clarence Trans and like I didn't have typical kind of men's worship. But I was interviewing you know. And I interviewed at this place, and it was definitely a pyramid scam. It was supposed to be about marketing. Okay well maybe I'll open myself up to that. But. It definitely was not a real thing. It was wild. I interviewed the small Boutique Hair company I was like okay well. Maybe I'll do marketing like get some social media chops with them. Didn't get any of those. It was just I was looking on craigslist. You know like all of the places that I applied probably to. You know one thousand places. Through that last semester of my college experience and nowhere was binding part of. It was because I was I didn't live already in New York. I have focused on China Get New York and I. Understand those dynamics that they wanted to live there already. So I freelanced for I came back to Georgia I was lucky that I had a friend who allow me to stay with them, so I didn't have to go back to Augusta. Georgia was if go back to Augusta I'M GONNA get sucked into the war attack day and be a hometown hero, which of great you know, but I knew I didn't want to be in Augusta I knew that there was more any to do so eventually I guy my. I. What I consider rail job as a news reporter in Monroe Georgia. The, Watson beyond. Amazing so you know that's. The journey you just described as like a rising senior, and then a graduate is senior recent college Grad rather who was looking to get into journalism career at like I. think that is very familiar. Especially in New York, city and as we have mentioned. That's you know coming from the south. That's not discussed enough. Sort of how this industry is really seemingly dominated by. Coastal region, folks and yeah, that journey just described like Hella familiar and you said he graduated twenty thirteen. It's funny. Thirteen Zoll at that point that industry was all ready in that volatile state of trying to figure out what the business models are like. A lot of publications are folding like what any of that addressed in your. College education in terms of the state of journalism industry now I mean. I know obviously that we were in the afterglow in some ways of. The downturn in two thousand eight in I, knew Boeing in college, because I graduated high school in two thousand nine. The something was going on Ryan but I. You know I. think that I I mean I came from middle class background my. Had you know degrees on degrees like my mom had a doctorate in education so I. was privileged. A sense of like I was like. Oh, I'll be fine. You know like by the time I get out of college. It'll be fine and. It wasn't you know so. They didn't really address the economics of the journalism industry when I was in school I. Don't feel like I had as much support as I need a in college, and obviously like there were organizations like in a Bj Ryan the National Association of by journalists, but so be honest. I was a trans woman. You know very early in my transition. I didn't see that as an outlet you know in was, and still is a very respectable space as most black institutions still are unfortunately though. I didn't necessarily see as A space that I could like find support. I always felt like I had to figure it out on my home. Less get into your. Your entry level your first journalism job. Talk to me about the in Monroe Georgia. Georgia style I remember so vividly going to interview for that job. I obviously had like my little. You know physical copy of my resume. My little folder I was dressed up in a very like traditionally feminine way you know at least by southern standards. I have full on phase yet. My hair was curled at that point. It was still relaxed. Okay, I am Han on like a stirred and like this like Joel towns top, okay and hills you know again. It was like. A, different part on my transition where I felt like I had to fit more of these stereotypical ideas of femininity, but I also knew. That I was GONNA have to go back and so the classic so I went and talked to the guy who become you know. My editor emboss got the job and I was not out as queer or trans the home Gotcha. I don't want to be presumptuous than say. No one knew but like I. Really Don't think people knew that I was trans because. There are just little things that I. Picked up, you just little things they would say you know one time. There was a woman who came in who had a pretty deep voice and the women on the staffer like Catalan making. About I was like our. Wow, okay, this is what happens behind the scenes when y'all think the a transverse around comments from. A male editor made a joke about the t slur about trannies and all of this stuff and I was like Oh. This is how it goes behind the fans so I saw the transphobia. From. Styles, perspective or I was you know not out about my identity? That's what we would call south in our community, so that was interesting to say the least. It was a very conservative environment and has even imagine so this was the proto trump era of the tea party Republicans so the Inbetween Sarah Palin and trump that kind of like outrageous. SUPREMACISTS conservative mindset was being stoved in I witnessed a lot of that in small town. Georgia Azza was happening. I had a weekly column. I would try darndest to. Talk About Social Justice Issues I was hitting them with different things each sweet. I wrote a column inspired in some part by Shimon the DIGI. Put, that out there guy, you know. Hey, letters saying that I was young and naive and bringing my liberal colleagues. Talked to the town, I were right. Some about the early iteration of the Black Lives Matter Movement Movement for black. Lives Ward about LGBTQ issue. And! This was all in twenty third hand. Ryan Braun. That's. Interesting to me because I went back and read some of those things recently and I was like. Wow you know like I, guess for those days. I was considered radical in that spe. I was considered radical. And now everyone is well right the back band even just a few years ago. It'd be like what y'all West, what's wrong with you Why are you saying all this? You know it seems so French. Yeah, THA! How were you feeling around that plane? Because like I, said. You know that's your first job. Did you feel like there was a lot of representation that you can sort of model yourself after within the newsroom like you sound like you were just a very bold courageous. Lists I felt very isolated You know I. I didn't really have many folks that I looked up to. That point as like an example. Because again I. Think Journalism was still such a space of. The old guard of the. Archaic Idea of objectivity of You know it was by understanding. You know that many black artists didn't want to write about blackness because they didn't want to be seen as less than a real journalist, because there's this idea that you your inherently going to be biased or basically be an activist. Experiences too close to your own. You know I think maybe people were just starting to write things like personal essays. Regularly, but the law of the land was not as particularly on the Internet was first essays. Yet you know, and then particularly as a trans journalists. You Know Janet. Mock had just. been. Open about her experience and Marie Claire. Around, I would say maybe twenty, twelve, twenty thirty, and so like I, was in the midst of my journalism as a case and yeah, so that was eye opening of course, but she didn't have the career, but she would go on to have yet so grateful and Early Period for trans representation on anything like Orange is the new black came out. The week that I one of the week that I was in New York John Search. Okay and I remember I started binge-watching watching that week. That I was on my job starch so it it was also new and I think what's interesting is people because I'm so young? People don't realize that I actually was starting my career. Before this bubble head. Yes, okay Oh. So there's a way that I think. A lot of experience as a folks gets a raised. Because you know that's the way the visibility works as it eclipses. The struggles the experiences that are already happening in a way and so. While I look up, so you know there was also like so much that I was doing on my own that I was seeking and finding my own before. They brought the cultural relevance that our community needed. So when exactly? Efficiently, and what was that lake interviewing in terms of like nervous and you know 'cause I noticed. You mentioned like you remember specifically like how your Hair Zan. Like what Alpha you're wearing and so let us into your shoes real quick. So you know I to be honest. I think that this is often. Be Imagination for a lot of systems where people move but I feel like. I was transitioning innocence pretty much. My life like I never kinda fit. These restrictive ideas of who I was supposed to be to live. In terms of. A social transition for me. I started my. Transition and college you know in a formal Stan right where I was like coming out, so be blessed. And I knew that I needed to have a certain part of my transition done before I was on the market because I just knew that that was going to be near impossible, so my last year was really spent getting. Documents chance to make sure they reflected my name engender experience and identity it was. Starting a medical transition and Yes, I mean it really was in those years of college that I was. In some ways fast tracking it so that I could survive after I graduated and I I won't say fast track right like I said time like Winston therapy like a lot of people do pat a lot of our conversation with family. All of that stuff, but I was trying to have a bulk of that out of the way so that I could actually have a career. Yeah, because that that takes that is your job. You know a lot of trans people trying to secure access to transition in the ways they may want to. isn't a job. so I was privileged in a lot of ways to be able to. Go about my transition in that way and planet and a sense so that I could just work afterwards. Wow, okay, so we are! In a row and What was your position while you were there in that newsroom, I was a staff reporter staff reporter. Okay, so you said you had your column. Did you also have to do like any local beats national So the breakdown of the editorial staff. I was the only woman. I was the only person of color, and it was the staff and editorial staff at least a four. My boss was the editor there was another. Staff reporter, and there was a sports editor hands. They were all white men. I will say I think my editor. Sawed the importance of having me and in that space I will say that he was a great editor. He pushed me I learned a lot from him. But I I will say I don't think that the culture that point understood the importance of diversifying the newsroom. And so I still in some ways foul disposable. And then the women who worked at the newspaper. Were all in marketing Wow, are in circulation and so. You know I will say I think I got love from the women in the marketing team. Because I think it was interesting to them, F- to see how a woman can also be. A rider and like create the content and like people would listen to her voice. And I was actually taps, and my last few months to help develop the county's first women's. Magazine we're going to be like a quarterly women like you know magazine. It was like I was going to be on newspaper, but it was going to be one of those like really just delving answer women's experiences the county. Because you know as open as a feminist so like that was the thing every now and then there will be women who had come up different events and be like you're so brave. Thank you for saying what you said I. Mean why women? Yes lay. It was so interesting, and Ben. We ended up getting a new publisher. Through the course of US starting the developing of that magazine. And they brought in a man who scrapped. And Rats the newspaper and was. It's called sports rapper, so he completely debts that projects and then decided we were going to center sports, and that really was my. Douse the final Straw and I was like I got out of the space. I gotta be in a space where I can be my full south yeah. And so that was what eventually push me some useful Atlanta. So he moved to Atlanta did you? Did you get a new job like what happened? I when I moved Atlanta I actually stayed with an aunt. Great and I got a job at how stuff works. Dot Com would. Then was starting I build kind of this podcast empire lay. They already had a bunch of podcasts like they saw the potential podcasting early. And investment in it. I was not a podcast. I was a digital publisher are worked on the website on really kind of publishing content I, wrote maybe one or two things while I was there, but it was mostly like publishing content while I was there. There was the death by suicide of Leila Alcorn Yang Trans Girl who? Ended up publishing a ladder about. How she'd been at the future for herself transport them. And she added to be published on Tumbler after she. died not like one of those by the time you read this yeah kind of experiences that. Broke something in me. And also just reminded me of the death of Ilan. A Black Trans woman at the hands of a black sister, man and twenty thirteen. I believe if I'm I'm remembering the years correctly. and. I was just realizing that. Oh you know like I was seeing the pattern of violence. Yeah, from all ends right like the psychological violence, the social violence, the physical violence, the State Violence that Trans folks of color were experienced same. And when Lela died, that was kind of like the final thing and. I was teary-eyed. I publish this on Youtube Video. The site talking about how we need folks to be better, you know we need folks to move up and. Fight on behalf of Trans people because we can't do this alone and no child should feel like they can't find. How clear in our society, I was still style. You know so like I was still in this mode of will I'll stay on the clause a, but I wasn't as like. Stringent about it and this new job I was like well. If it comes to a point where it has to come out I will, we'll just let the chips fall where they may. Publish that video. It went. I guess viral. It was like four thousand views. Was You know barometer of Var Rally at that time was so much smaller than it is now like people jet like millions of miles of us, but so that was the thing and BBC picked it out. Okay, and they were like. We want to interview you for this global radio show. And I was like. I wasn't really like excited. I was scared. Because I knew. I was going to do it partly because. One of the things I said in the video was like I, couldn't be silent anymore so I knew I had to hold myself accountable so that, but I was frightened. I told my sister WHO's Al-Barid. She was like. That's exciting. So when are you gonNa tell your boss. And I was like. She was like yeah. Okay so I told my boss then she told her boss. And they were on board with their like you definitely have to do. It was not an issue that I was trans. We didn't even. Go into any more detail. They didn't ask any like wild. Question was what it was. So I did their interview and then from there I would just became more outspoken on social media I was starting to tap and more to community organizing. Not As journalists. Really. Literally joining the efforts because I felt like I needed we putting my energy and the movement. To keep us alive and I knew there were many folks fighting for. Black Trans folks in the south you know. or at least I did I wasn't connected to the larger network that I am now. And then I test this podcast to. The folks they are and. was like we need to be having a conversation about what's happening and the Movement for black lives. What's happening in terms of LGBTQ, issue? I would love to do a podcast on these things now granted I will say. Maybe, I didn't articulate the vision while enough, but one of the things that I was told by a black woman who was my supervisor was A. we've already got. A FEMINIST PODCAST! They're already talking about things. and I was like you have, and this is no shades them 'cause they did great were. And still do great work. They had a podcast that was hosted by two white women, and No shade, but they weren't. Going to be able to carry a conversation around race. and Algae Cube plus issues and and different things like that and the way that I. It was very disheartening to have. My black supervisor squash that a Nazi the importance of having those conversations. So that was one shot in the next Straw was the death of another black person. At. The hands of the police are member just light trending on sweater. Were a you know how it is for folks like we have this kind of mass mourning when that happened, yes. Than as we work enacting new ways via social media. And I just remember going to are. Surrounded. Most of people were there. There was that by black supervisor. Nobody was phased It was business as usual, and I'm over here I can't think about anything. Yeah, by are people being killed by police? Yeah. And I was like Oh, I gotta get Outta here yeah. I've gotta be a putting my energy and every part of my energy and to. What's happening on the ground? So I started applying to as secure plus organizations I didn't even. Envision I guess mostly black organizations being ready. To hire me as a trans woman, yeah, so the lgbtq plus kind of non profit industrial complex. Seems like the Fed I applied to. All types of places I won't name them, but I will say that. I was applying for like. Calm, positions, press, secretary, position, and types of. Storytelling positions. And I was just getting met with resistance. You know by these very white spaces. Yeah they're national LGBTQ plus organizations that turned me down and a so interesting now because. These are now the same who wanNA. Pick my brain on. Everything still won't pay me. From my label right, but they want to take my brain. And then I found Trans Law Center. TRANSGENDER law center. which was based on the West Coast and I came in the COBB's associate. And I moved from Atlanta. To Oakland California. My first time living outside of Georgia twenty five years old. And that was on, and so you know had of their formative experience. They are as well during that time. Thousand I spoke at the National Women's March continuing to be outspoken on social media I shifted from the Com- space, which I felt like I was being blocked from doing more. And to NASA national organizing spe okay. Sorry was a national organizer for the organization but I was still. Freelance writing, doing like George you know press and all types of things you know in in a sense you know though I was never acknowledged as this or compensated as this I was in some ways a spokesperson for the organization And it's so interesting because I feel like I'm at a point in my career now where I can make. Say these. Yes, like this is the Labor that I was doing the Black Trans. Woman s that you weren't fully acknowledged. Yes, they were benefiting from and this is in these various spaces, but you weren't acknowledging before this kind of era of rocketing. Talking about systems of oppression. So while I was a TLC I pitched. This project adds focused on the healing justice a Black Trans Women in the south and focused on how we can kind of alleviate some of the problems of these murderers and various community, so it was really based on political. Education leadership building and healing justice for black transplant, and so that was a powerful experience. Just connecting with other black, translating LaSalle in deeper way and honoring black trams power. You know like I think that was kind of the start of me. Seeing our power in a different way. Yeah, not seeing our power something that needs to be given to us by people. But seeing it as something that we need to foster within ourselves. While I was there I got proposition to be the executive editor of out magazine. Yes yes. By. Philip Cardi of Who is a dear friend now and such a source of encouragement and such a model of like Wyatt Allies should be you know what it means to be. A why I wanted to be assists gay man who's an allied to. You know a black trans. Woman and so he asked me you know what I do this and I was like I gotta think about it. And I thought about it at that point, I got a fellowship with the jags Jones. Literary Arts folks based on La Under Chima. John's WHO's phenomenal and I had like two weeks. You know that I was starting to work on my book and a deeper way. That I have been working on on. And then I was okay. Yeah. I guess I'm doing this so I moved from Oakland California to New, York and December twenty, eight eighteen, and there was all man sorry I had this job. This leader so pressure adds a legacy lgbtq plus publication that had historically ban white cisgender day man. Again Bourgeois wealthy you know. Had, a certain particular body had a limited worldview. And I was. There to support Philip Cardi and this new team. Of folks of all different backgrounds racially ethnically gender wise sexuality wise on giving this magazine the faceless Anita. We, just we had a great time by the end. The first issue that are really gonNA work on the. Mothers and daughters of the movement cover story had. Land who the world is really starting to recognize now who we've known in community for so long I mean she really can be credited with. Pushing the culture sue pivot around censoring black and Brown. Trans women like she dead a lot of that historian work around Barshop. and Sylvia Rivera that uncovering of that work and their lives before was like it vogue to do that. And we had major. We have Barbara Smith legendary black feminist had charlene carruthers and emerging legend in her own right, who? Was the first Edo B. Y. P.. One hundred. Okay, and we had at least the bars. No, Yup, one of the. Of the Movement for black lives. Dot was our first issue I remember that that was written and photographed and style. By women and Binary FABS. Ever in the history of the publications. And the cover was shot by Mick the lanes Hamas. Janet mock was the guest editor honey I mean. It was stat yeah. And it was just such a powerful experience, one of my favorite issues to this day, and so that kind of set the tone for the next year. You know we explore beauty in a different way we explored are. In a different way. And then the cover story that I worked on deeply was the trans obituaries objects. Yes, which was we? Dowd to the story of Lali, politico was killed and rikers custody. While died and rikers custody I should say and. Really sparks. A new move bad around ending solitaire confinement, which we just learned this week New York moving forward with. A solitary confinement that with a large part. Due to her family, her sister Malania. Who has spoken out so beautifully ED become a great advocate for the Trans. Community and then I was so blessed to be able to. Capture it and give an investigative deep dive for the Trans Been Serious projects, and I coupled it with a second car. That was the obituaries that all the trans. Women of Color and black transplant who? In Twenty nineteen deserve after interviewing upwards of forty folks who knew them closely, which was not an easy experience I mean there are many times. I was crying on the foul on. You know trying to put on my best journalists had and continue the interview and I couldn't set off. The people that I was interviewing. Sensitive to. Being that strong voice that they could. Share, these ideas And then the third part was a thirteen point frame word on how we can end the epidemic violence community sourced from experts. Who are black and Brown Schranz and clear folks. So that was. By proudest moment Al was being able to give the translators projects created, and we you know are dominated for a glad media awards, so everyone kid cross their fingers on tells the. Maybe we'll get some good news, but. I. Throughout my career It's been important for me to. Bring my community with me. Elevate my schmunity with me. Yes I'm an activist. Yes, I'm a journalist. Yes, I'm a writer. Yes, I'm a storyteller. I guess I'm an editor I don't care anymore. None of those things are at odds with each other. And particularly when I think about our legacy as black writers and editors and journalists. When. I think about this epidemic. Of Violence Against Black Trans Women. And the importance of shining light on it I see it. And similar way to how idol be well here Ya was shining a light on the lynchings of black people in the sow and the United States. You know more than a century ago. Arabs. As part of my legacy. You know or or I'm a part of our legacy. I should say Angela Davis shining the light on these systems of oppression. I stabbed Patricia Ho collards people like Barbara, Smith Barnes V so that journalistic scholarly. Part of my spiritual ancestry as they are. In organizing history. You Know Marsha p Dong? Sun Wasn't a writer as far as we know, but that's why I lean on. Sylvia Rivera wasn't a writer as far as we know, but that's why lean on miss major is to arlene on you know, and that all informs my work, and I have no qualms at this point in my career about owning that admitting that. definitely. So. It's interesting. Because The New York Times I think they haven't ongoing obituary project called overlooked where you know. They're going back to all those people whose lives were overlooked by the obituary section in this. Household legacy publication. And so talk to me a bit about. The Of obituaries particularly. In regards to the Black Trans Community. Yeah so. Already you know I, think obituaries and particularly for the black community. It's like your love ladder to. The person that has gone. Yet now I. Have? Experience the writing of obituaries for my father for. My grandmother for her I. And I don't take that process lightly I. Mean those are pieces written with so much intentionally typically and so much love and vulnerability, and possibly the most vulnerable say it's the people riding them have never been. So. It's important and the unfortunate truth. Is that so many trans people, but particularly blocked Trans People. Aren't loved respected. After death and particularly during that process. In the last two weeks there have been reports and media, and from community of at least six trans, women. WHO had been murdered? and. Most of them were initially mis gendered meaning, they were identified as male. By police a media. Many of them were called. What we call a that name, which is you know or their birth name the name that they did actually choose for themselves. And, so that kind of disrespect, even after experiencing some of the most brutal of violence, a person can experience Is Demoralizing you know so. I wanted to talk with people who knew. These women closely. Wanted to ask questions. Abou- what their dreams and aspirations are what their lights than hobbies were. What brought them joy? What made them smile over their favourite songs The joyful things and I heard tower full. Testimonies I heard from. A man who had just gotten day. It's to one of the women about a month before she was murdered. They had been together for a few years. Loved each other deeply. They had a dog together. And you know. She was martyred. His fiancee was murdered. That's a love story I heard about a mob. Who Sheild with murdered and a different state and You know how she missed their last laughter and. Wants to see you know what they were going to becoming life. Yeah, there was another young woman named. Bailey reads who. was. I believe seventeen years all. She was just about to off to college. He was killed. So. I talked with her sister. And her husband about. You know her vibrant personality in house. You shot a figure out what she was going to do with rely so these are not stories that we hear about Black Trans People. And with the obituaries are both wanted to honor. Their humanity. But I also wanted to signal. Sue other Black Trans people that. They does our respects. That their stories matter no matter what happens. And that there will be people fighting. For you. No matter what happens. And then I also just wanted to signal to the rest of the world that. You're missing our stories and shouldn't be. After our death that you hear those stories you should be honoring our power now. thank you. Well I love that project personally okay. Interesting that you're saying you are. You're a multi hyphen. Because especially now today we're seeing these conversations crop up around objectivity in how that's you know has always been a main tenant of wisdom in journalism as we all know. The Industry today was established by predominantly white male people and institutions right but the black press. which came up in the early eighteen hundreds that came up directly as a response to. The lack of inclusion of black stories in news in historically white media, and as a way to counter the few times we were covered. To counter those negative stereotypes right so there has always been this. Sort of mission to uplift black communities I. Think you know in the of black journalists in in this country right and you had said in an interview that you had at one point. You're using objectivity as a mask to not be yourself. You talk a little bit about that moment when you were using it as to mask yourself objectivity. Yeah, I think that. When I was in journalism school. You now, this tenant of objectivity reigns supreme. And in many ways it was a warning. To not be too black, an IB too much of a woman's not beat clear. It's not be too low incomes be. Too much of anything, because then that will compromise your ability to tell. An unbiased story. But the flaw in that? One of the fathers is that? Our? Industry is not unbiased. Just as you said. It is a white supremacist industry. It was started in large fired. You know and I. I'm hyper aware of this as a black journalist who came from the south. Who went to an institution that is named after an unabashed white? Supremacist. The they molded this in this way. And it's easy for. A person who has the dominant experience dominant adds to think that anything else deviates from that is. Being extra or a being French, and so we have to grapple with that in our industry that the white supremacy the respectability. The ALITA is a problem. The other thing too is. I don't buy that me owning my marginalized experiences. Every move that I made or in every story that are riots makes me necessarily biased. Because, in fact, black people have always had out more facts than white people to survive clear people have always has more facts than straight people to survive in our everyday lives, and particularly when we're making case, says about what's happening in our communities and the people that we know and we're familiar with. We know that we have to have more facts than the average person say even be taken seriously to even be hard, but also because our people's lives are on the line. So I don't buy. The me owning all of my experiences in my identities as journalists and as a writer. Means that I'm not invested in facts because we see. What a fact lists! You know news ecosystem. Can Do to wreak havoc. And white supremacy. And! Classism and homophobia and the Patriarchy allowed. People who claim to be stating facts? To make it to the White, house. To make it to the highest positions in the land without checking down. Because they gave them a benefit the Dow. Because these unchecked systems of oppression and so now a lot of these institutions are playing. Catch up because they weren't listening, so the voices of marginalized, she bought all along the way who has to have more facts, and under stood and had the. forethought the DAX had happened. Yes, and it's just pointed out like IDA B wells. She created a lot of techniques that are used in investigative journalism today. It doesn't get more journalistic than that. You know what I'm saying. And Ida B wells was. Clearly an abolitionist on those time and A suffered. US I mean smooth very involved with the early feminist movement. I mean there was no way for her to not be. She could vote Ryan. Our people have been property. Yeah! So. How dare I sit up in journalism class? As a Black Queer Trans woman being told by mostly white, says hat man with means. The my identity. Should not be central Tamar work. Get Out of here. bad day is over. So. What. What do you want to say to like your journalism? Peers who are listening right now a and B. Would you like to say to any? Black! Journalists or spiring journalists listening. To. Buy here's. I would just say that we have to. Rethink our idea of leadership. Rethink our idea of storytelling. You know as a media. We shouldn't be seeing ourselves of the owners and the gatekeepers of people stories. We actually need so be democratizing this experience sharing. Storytelling without a folks, folks are hungry. You know to tell their own stories and may not always have the tools, but we see it on social media everyday you know folks will share the raw style. Is All shot weird. Typos Galore but it resonates because it's real authentic and accountable, and it's coming from the source, and so we've got to. Eliminate as many intermediaries as possible I get to the source and support the source. When it comes to Black Trans People. And advocating particularly for us I think that. We need to be investing. And blacks rounds. Storytellers. Writers than editor then. For Tiger for some bibliographer. stylist all types of things you know we're everywhere. And you need us in your space us. Our perspectives and you need to be in conversation with black. Trans people before you share our stories or call yourself sharing our stories because. There are so many journalists who. Don't know you know that there's a problem with how they frame our stories. There's a problem with only focusing on the tragic mayor does there's a problem with only speaking about us? In terms of like how police reports about US presume where bartered are experiencing violence. You know not tatum dead. They were gender somebody, but as you're not having regular communication with black transpeople yet you're not GonNa do that so figure that out for Black Trans folks. Lean on other. White Trans folks. And other folks did you know understand our experiences in our lands and our humanity? There plenty of journalists. That are so lauded by folks who? Never speak on clearness trans. They'll speak on everything else especially. Blagdarni. Yes, yes, that's real. You know you can't do any projects about blackness and not talk about black learned trans people especially in this time. You can't be having these magazine covers. That's about the victims of police brutality and not talk about Sony. mcdade and other black transfer. Sue Ben yes, there by police. And blacks us, people have done that. Recently Multiple magazine covers the give names and don't say anything about transpeople. So. That's kind of my light charge of that. We invest and. Black translators and Black Shan storytellers and writers, and we extend opportunities, so folks who are on the come up. Because I. I want to leave the door open for. The Knights people I don't want to continue to be a first or only. That's not one of our most powerful, most awful when lamenting. The, thank you so much account. This has been. Amazing. Yes, thank you. This is great. Thanks for listening long form I'm Patrice pet. The show is hosted by Aaron Lammert Evan ratliff and Max Linski Geno Pifer is the editor and Julianne Parker is the intern. Thanks to mail them for sponsoring the Shell and thanks so much to recount Lewis. You are truly an inspiration.

Coming up next