Creating Liberation Together: Reflections from TGNC Rights & Empowerment Day

by Caroline Truong | May 15, 2018

Seated workshop participants and facilitators during the TGNC Rights & Empowerment Day.

On March 24th, 2018 our Trans Justice Working Group facilitated APIENC’s first Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Rights and Empowerment Day (RED)! We made space for a whole day centering our TGNC Asian and Pacific Islander community, full of workshops that emphasized our rights, healthcare, and empowerment. At the event, we prepared an art and zine station, shared food catered by QTViet Cafe, and a held a clothing swap held by Across Gender. With over 50 TGNC API participants and allies, we celebrated ourselves, built community, and shared knowledge.

To be honest, I had work scheduled [on this day] and I didn’t know until the day before that my shift would end at 11 am. I sincerely thought I was going to miss out on something beautiful and magical that our Trans Justice Working Group made happen. Speaking of our working group, we’ve recently had new folx join our group and they willingly threw in their skills and connections to make this day happen. Shout out to Karlon, William, and Junior! 🙂 I feel rejuvenated knowing that we have more friends and comrades creating and visioning together.

A workshop facilitator from Critical Resistance charts for the Creating a Safety Plan & Abolishing the Police workshop.

Witnessing the day happen from start to finish made me feel the power of our people, and the power of our stories.Throughout the day, whether at workshops, through art, clothing, or food, we talked about the struggles of our time (binders! how can we make safer spaces!) and shared our tools for creating liberation (making safety plans, recipes for healing, talking to our families about our truth) which felt rejuvenating and healing all at the same time. Our stories matter. And they are so valuable. Especially hearing from the trans elders in the room, it made me realize “damn, I too can live that long — so be strong and keep on.

For me, trans justice means honoring the work of those who came before us — trans women of color like Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera — and continue their legacy of liberation. Liberation also means collective healing. We face violence on many levels and we are all connected by this fight for our existence. We have to remember to rest to resist too! I’m so happy that we provided a space where our TGNC folx can come together and honor our growing trans selves and community.

We need these reminders that we are a large community and we aren’t alone. Hopefully, there will be more days where we can come together learn, eat, build and renew.

If you want to hear more about our experience planning for this TGNC Rights & Empowerment Day, check out William’s volunteer spotlight!