Summer of t-shirts #4 / Transgender TrailblazersPosted: August 17, 2016
This is a series in which I highlight different shirts I am now able to wear un-self-consciously, because I had top surgery earlier this summer!
This one is a brand new t-shirt – it was designed by Erin Nations, a transgender comic artist living in Portland, OR. You can get one here: Transgender Trailblazers Tee. You might want to act now – they could go fast! (Looks like he’s already out of size M light-blue shirts, for example).
From the website: “50% of each sale will be donated to the TransWomen of Color Collective. TWOCC is a grass-roots funded global initiative created to offer opportunities for trans people of color, their families and their comrades to engage in healing, foster kinship, and build community. They strive to educate and empower each other through sharing skills, knowledge and resources as they build towards the liberation of all oppressed people.”
Ten trailblazers are illustrated. “They were/are advocates, activist, pioneers, community leaders, and historical figures in the transgender community. Through their actions and involvement, they paved the way for many trans people, allowing us to live our lives more openly, safely, and authentically.”
Here they are, with a brief description that I cobbled together from various websites:
Sylvia Rivera (top) – She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance. She attacked the HRC and Empire State Pride Agenda for not being trans-inclusive. A lasting quote: “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.” The Sylvia Rivera Law Project was founded in 2002, in her honor, and aims to ” guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence”.
Miss-Major Griffin-Gracy (2nd from top, L) – She’s the executive director of Trans Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project. She was a leader in theOne month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts 31 Stonewall Riots and then imprisoned for 5 years, which led to her also fighting the prison industrial complex.
Leslie Feinberg (2nd from top, R) – A self-identified trans, butch lesbian, communist. Wrote Stone Butch Blues in 1993. Also wrote Transgender Warriors and Trans Liberation. She did not care what pronoun was used in reference to her, as long as it was with respect.
Alexander John Goodrum (2nd from top, center) – An African American Trans, civil rights activist and the founder and director of TGNet Arizona. He took his own life while in a psychiatric ward in 2002; he was posthumously awarded the Godat Award for his service in the LGBTQ+ community.
Lou Sullivan (3rd from top, L) – He was possibly the first trans-man to openly identify as gay, and he was largely responsible for the understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity being separate facets. He also founded FTM International.
Kate Bornstein (3rd from top, center) – There’s no way to condense her accomplishments here. Just look her up! Read her books! Also she just posted on her twitter feed, today, about it! – “Tickled pink to be drawn on one of these T-shirts by Erin Nations.”
Louise Lawrence (3rd from top, R) – She worked with Alfred Kinsey and later, Harry Benjamin, and she counseled other trans-people just by having them drop by.
Marcelle Cook-Daniels (bottom, L) – He worked for the IRS and was working on his masters in computer science. He was a transmasculine African America activist and leader, presenting at many conferences and contributing to a handful of books. He took his own life in 2000.
Reed Erickson (bottom, center) – He became very wealthy over time through his professional life – he studied to be an engineer and later successfully ran two large companies and invested in oil-rich real estate. In 1964, he founded the Erickson Educational Foundation, which “helped to support, both through direct financial contributions and through contributions of human and material resources, almost every aspect of work being done in the 1960s and 1970s in the field of transsexualism in the US and, to a lesser degree, in other countries. The EEF funded many early research efforts, including the creation of the Harry Benjamin Foundation, the early work of the Johns Hopkins Clinic” as well as information, counseling, and a referral network.
Marsha P. Johnson (bottom, R) – A close friend of Sylvia Rivera, she was a leader in the Stonewall Riots and later a co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and an organizer with ACT-UP. She was also a member of Andy Warhol’s drag queen troupe, Hot Peaches. A lasting quote, whenever she was asked what the “P” stood for: “Pay it no mind!”
Others in this series include: