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Transgender solidarity from Louisiana to Uganda

Commentary by Dylan Borne |
May 9, 2020
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Trans Positives and Lady Mermaid’s Bureau delivering basic necessities in Uganda
Trans Positives and Lady Mermaid’s Bureau delivering basic necessities in Kampala, Uganda. (Fight Back! News/staff)

New Orleans, LA - On May 4, a coalition of Louisiana’s transgender community organizers extended a solidarity grant to activist sisters and siblings in Uganda. The gesture makes clear that trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people are standing together against coronavirus all around the world.

This solidarity is the opposite of ‘charity.’ The two groups struggle arm-in-arm against the same injustice.

The coronavirus crisis hits TGNC people harder than most, both in East Africa and the U.S. Deep South. TGNC people face high rates of poverty, especially Black, Latino, and indigenous trans people. Healthcare providers and employers discriminate against any TGNC person bold enough to be themselves. Trans community members often have to rely on sex work, a dangerous profession not eligible for government relief.

Twice in the past decade, Ugandan lawmakers have contemplated a “Kill the Gays” bill. It wasn’t passed, but it could have imposed the death penalty for gay sex. The Louisiana injustice system and police routinely target, arrest and imprison Black, Latinx and indigenous trans people. Louisiana prisons have nearly 100% coronavirus infection rates, so arrests mean murder. Already on the edge of survival, many more TGNC people now face lethal circumstances.

The TGNC Peoples COVID Crisis Fund of Louisiana fights back by providing cash assistance to marginalized community members. Five organizations take part in the Fund: the LGBTQ Task Force, Trans*Visible, the Trans March of Resilience, Louisiana Trans Advocates, and the Real Name Campaign. The coalition has also negotiated with landlords and spread awareness of TGNC struggles.

Trans Positives Uganda and Lady Mermaid’s Bureau have partnered to support trans sex workers in Uganda. In their words:

“We, the campaign team, are fundraising to secure the critical basics for Ugandan sex workers who are vulnerable and struggling during these strange and disorienting circumstances imposed on the world by COVID-19. Basics include: Food, medicines, rent support and sanitation. We are especially focused on supporting the low income female and trans sex workers in streets, brothels, bars and slums in the Kampala Capital area.”

From Louisiana to Uganda, leadership comes from the community and fights for the community.

In solidarity with both coalitions, please share and donate if you can:

TGNC People’s COVID Fund of Louisiana: https://www.gofundme.com/f/tgncLA

Trans Positives Uganda and Lady Mermaid’s Bureau: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kampalaswrelief

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