Reflections on the 2014 Black Trans Advocacy Conference

May 13, 2014

by Theo George, Online Communications Manager, National Center for Transgender Equality

The 2014 Black Trans Advocacy Conference (BTAC) kicked off in Dallas, Texas last month. The conference is three years old and included six days of activities, workshops, and seminars. This year’s theme was “One Earth. One People. One Love”.

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Photo: Esperanza Brown

I had no idea that this type of event existed until doing some of my own research earlier this year. These types of opportunities are desperately needed in Black trans and gender non-conforming spaces. As disturbing as the general findings were for the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), they were even more so when looking at respondents of color:

  • 34% of Black trans people live in extreme poverty, reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year.
  • Half reported having attempted suicide.
  • 50% who attended school expressing a trans identity or gender non-conformity faced harassment.

I remember reading the results of this survey nearly a year ago or so, a little after I began my own transition process, and being completely overwhelmed. It’s quite overwhelming for anyone to try and comprehend these types of discouraging statistics. Black transgender and gender non-conforming people seem to face tremendous obstacles in virtually all areas of life from employment opportunities to attending school.

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