20 Mar 2013



“We (Lesbian Feminist Liberation) found out there were plans to have a transvestite as part of the entertainment for the 1973 Gay Pride rally in Washington Square following the march and we decided to make a statement critical of transvestites…we decided we were going to stand up on that stage and tell everybody what we thought.  We stayed up the whole night before the rally and typed up this little statement.  We thought it was very important.  You see, we were creating theory at the time.” Jean O’Leary, founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, later the first president of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

“The transgender community was silenced because of a radical lesbian named Jean O’Leary, who felt that the transgender community was offensive to women because we liked to wear makeup and we liked to wear miniskirts.  Excuse me! It goes with the business that we’re in at the time! Because people fail to realize that -not trying to get off the story -everybody thinks that we want to be out on them street corners.  No we do not.  We don’t want to be out there sucking dick and getting fucked in the ass.  But that’s the only alternative that we have to survive because the laws do not give us the right to go and get a job the way we feel comfortable.  I do not want to go to work looking like a man when I know I am not a man” Sylvia Rivera

A case could be made that we should have included transvestites rights but I don’t think that gay people wanted to be identified with that.  We were trying to get away from that image.  And we were trying to get the bill passed.  So the transvestites were excluded from the bill and they never got reinstated.” Jean O’Leary

“I thought free loving was the thing, I found it doesn’t pay the rent…During the daytime they all call us fags and freaks.  At night I get even.  I freak on them.  I make them pay for all the insults they gave me.  I can have a nice conversation with them, give them words of wisdom.  But I’m getting back at them. My way.” Marsha P Johnson

Many of you guap@s may be heading out to Atlanta this week to partake in the Creating Change conference.

We can’t ask you not to go. However, remember the oppressive history of our community.

When you are in Atlanta, look around and ask yourself (and everyone in charge) where Sylvia and Marsha are? Where are their daughters, sons, and children? Because change isn’t possible if we do not center it on the most marginalized.

8 Dec 2012


I had the pleasure of being on a panel called “Race & Gender in the 21st Century” at last month’s “Facing Race” conference by the Applied Research Center, which publishes In it, I added my two cents on the intersections of race and gender, specifically issues and advances for trans women of color.

The Center for Social Inclusion’s Maya Wiley led the conversation with myself, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, race scholar Michael Omi and the Albany Law School’s Christian Sundquist

17 Nov 2012


NYC area friends! please join me & other contributors wednesday September 19th to help launch The Scholar & Feminist Online, “A New Queer Agenda! I am super excited about the piece I wrote with my sibling Che Gossett and friend AJ Lewis called Reclaiming Our Lineage: Organized Queer,…

16 Oct 2012


Thank you, Fierce, for publishing these letters. I, too, am upset that the Times has not issued an apology for this lacking-in-context piece and/or published any of these letters from others who are angered by the piece. 


On July 25, 2012, FIERCE organized a Call to Action asking supporters to submit letters to the New York Times demanding Dignity for Transwomen of Color and LGBTQ Youth in their reporting. The Call to Action was organized in response to a July 24th article: “For Money or Just to Strut, LIving Out Loud on a Transgender Stage.

The article, which relied on and fed into harmful, negative stereotypes of young transwomen of color, neglected to highlight or consider the root causes of why LGBTQ youth are disproportionately on the streets and finding it harder to maintain access and ownership over this historical safe space.

Over the weeks following the action, we received dozens of letters that were not only powerful, but also the acts of solidarity were incredibly moving for all of us here at FIERCE!  Seeing your words and feeling the support of so many allies, we saw the depth and strength of our struggle against transphobia, homophobia, gentrification, and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color, especially transwomen of color.

As far as we know, theTimesdid not publish the letters. In an effort to empower LGBTQ youth and the communities that support LGBTQ youth-led organizing  in NYC and elsewhere, we wanted to share a small collection of these letters with you.

In love and struggle,


4 Oct 2012

Two trans women in a San Diego prison entered their second week of hunger strike over the weekend.

Amazon and Catarina, both trans women imprisoned at that Richard J. Donovan Correctional facility, have refused food since Sept. 21 in a strike “against the unfair treatment of trans women within [the prison],” according to a release from radical trans women’s collective Gender Anarky (of which both inmates are members).

Since both Amazon and Catarina are trans women in a men’s prison, the inmates have been held in isolated, single cells — despite having asked to share a cell with each other. It is not clear what convictions the two inmates are serving time for — Gender Anarky does not list its members’ crimes; to do so would be to use the logic of the prison system, which they fight against.

Transgender individuals are regularly put on single-cell status, or even moved into solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system.

This particular hunger strike is underpinned by a militant anti-prison stance. The release from the inmates’ collective calls for “directly attacking the systems of domination that make living conditions of trans women, both inside and outside prison, a living hell.”

Amazon and Catarina’s situation is not the first in recent months to bring attention to the treatment of trans individuals in the criminal justice system. Notably, CeCe McDonald, a trans woman in Minnesota, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after killing one of her attackers when she was assaulted by a group, one of whom smashed a glass in her face. At the time, Mother Jones noted that trans women accounted for 50 percent of LGBTQ hate-crime murder victims in 2009.

McDonald is being held at a male prison in Minnesota, where she can shower alone and has a single cell. According to a May report from MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Minnesota is currently incarcerating 10 trans inmates in a similar manner.

(Natasha Lennard, Salon)