There is always something to mourn these days. In 36 hours in New Orleans this week, two Black trans women were murdered for having the audacity to proclaim to the world that their lives, on their terms, demanded to be seen, loved, and cherished. Over and over again, we fail to see, and if we finally do, we fail to love and cherish. And now that we have a federal government that acts in accordance with the belief that trans kids don’t need or deserve protection, what can we possibly do to create a world where all trans people, but especially trans women of color, live full, safe, and healthy lives?
Sometimes it feels like donating to an organization is a surface-level solution (and indeed, it’s incomplete), but considering that trans people are more than twice as likely than the general population to live in poverty, moving money is a crucial start. The Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and Youth Breakout (which is based in New Orleans) are three organizations I recommend familiarizing yourself with, though there are many more.
Less often now does it feel like there’s much to celebrate, but this week there was a little something. A $1.5 million movie about a queer Black boy navigating the constraints of masculinity, the ravages of poverty and trauma, and the fragile but fruitful possibility of loving another person took home the Academy Award for Best Picture (and Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay). Moonlight is the first movie with an all-Black cast and the first movie centered on the experience of a queer person to win the top prize. I don’t want to overstate what this win means in terms of “progress” in Hollywood, but I do believe that getting closer to a world in which pop culture tells the story of the U.S. as it actually is, and not solely how it exists in the white racial imaginary, is an important and necessary step toward artistic justice.
You can rent or buy Moonlight on Amazon if it’s not currently playing in a theater near you.
And now, onward.
Trying a different format this week, cribbed from all my favorite newsletters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Attention liberals: free speech doesn’t entitle you a platform, especially when that platform is giant and lucrative. When tolerance is a paradox. Mapping the Appalachian Trail, using Black literature. Warsan Shire and Beyoncé are the artistic superheroes we need. Behind every great woman is…another woman. Oceti Sakowin camp comes down, but Standing Rock still stands. Civics needs a serious comeback, and what it means to take education into your own hands. White men do not use their power for good, but they do use it for: manufacturing terror, exploiting social malaise, and monopolizing the internet. Inhumanity depends on ordinary Americans. Marriage will not cure wealth disparities for families of color. Planned Parenthood–and women’s health in general–is in great peril. The dark edge of reason. “I was a Muslim in trump’s White House.”
If you’ve never really “gotten” Prince, Anil Dash has you covered.
My mom learned about Gil Scott Heron this week. His whole body of work is relevant as ever, but this week we were struck in particular by “Whitey On the Moon.”
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater pays homage to Moonlight.
I really liked the Netflix reboot of “One Day at a Time” and cried multiple times while watching it, though that is also true of my experience seeing commercials for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
Until next time.