While there’s plenty of work that needs to happen in Brazil, discrimination is a global issue. “We’ve seen the Weightlifting today_s actions are tomorrow_s results shirt Also,I will get this violence towards the trans community recently in the United States through the Black Trans Lives Matter movement highlighting the recent brutal murders of Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Tony McDade,” says Sampaio. “Black trans people are suffering immensely, as they are disproportionately targeted. This fight is not only within the LGBTQ community, it’s with everyone, and it’s important to advance the trans-rights movement. We’re holding firm and committed to doing everything we can, every day, to create space for a peaceful, dignified existence. We demand respect—the basic right to exist as we are.” More than three weeks ago, Ceyenne Doroshow, founder and executive director of the grassroots organization G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society), spoke to a crowd of 15,000 protestors at the Black Trans Lives Matter rally in Brooklyn. During the last several months, she’s raised more than $1 million toward opening housing and social services centers in New York for the local Black trans community. Some community members were recently released from Rikers Island, a notoriously unlawful, ill-equipped, and unsanitary jail where many trans women are sent for minor sex-crime activity. As of late March, more than 160 inmates and 130 staff members at New York City’s jails, including Rikers, had tested positive for COVID-19. This has been Doroshow’s focus since the global pandemic first ravaged New York, disproportionately hitting the Black community and Black trans community harder than any other. At the rally, Doroshow spoke passionately about the hate and discrimination that her fellow trans community members have always faced. Recounting this struggle brought her to tears before sending out a renewed message of resilience: “We’re fighting, and we’re winning.” Indeed, Doroshow has been fighting her entire life, including experiencing homelessness in New York (a period when she also struggled with substance abuse). Doroshow has been a sex worker and a performer, but beyond every success and every obstacle she’s faced, advocacy for her trans family has always been her core focus. Doroshow has been doing advocacy work for more than 30 years, working with various social-service organizations all over New York. She founded G.L.I.T.S. in 2015 to provide countrywide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community who are struggling with threats of violence, homelessness, unemployment due to discrimination, the criminalization of sex work, and lack of health care.
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Doroshow and her team provide career training, certifications, and housing referrals as well as a “TransDignity Post-Release Kit,” which includes hygienic essentials like wipes and deodorant to trans people who have just been released from prison. Doroshow hopes to be able to do more of this kind of work on an international scale. With more funding coming in each day, she and the Weightlifting today_s actions are tomorrow_s results shirt Also,I will get this G.L.I.T.S. team are now looking into new physical centers and housing for Black trans people in and around New York and hopefully elsewhere around the country. There is a general problem when it comes to equity and trans people, people of color, Black trans women,” Doroshow explained over the phone earlier this week. “There’s a problem when you’re trying to sustain and trying to live. For example, your landlord has the right to discriminate against you, and you can’t prove discrimination. It’s hard to prove discrimination. So once again, you’re abandoned by a system and by a community.” Doroshow says that during the first two weeks of the spike of coronavirus cases in New York, she lost around 20 friends and members of the G.L.I.T.S. community. She was devastated, explaining that she even had to facilitate some of their bodies to be picked up and given a proper burial. “I could not let that continue happening to my community,” she says. “We had to create an immediate response.” And so she and the G.L.I.T.S. team got in touch with Rikers Island and helped come up with a COVID-safe plan to get Black trans men and women out of jail and into safe isolation. “And here we are today, we are thriving,” Doroshow says. “Those we’ve been able to help, they’re thriving. Some have graduated college through COVID-19 and graduated at the top of their class. That’s what makes me proud, and that’s what I want, to continue developing these tools so that we can catch people before they fall.” Many of the G.L.I.T.S. volunteers and the general public have also been donating to an emergency relief fund that helps bail Black trans sex workers out of jail. “Allies don’t come in color—they’re just allies,” Doroshow says, doubling down on the hopeful spirit of the movement. “If they’re willing to bail people out of jail, then they’re more than allies, they’re family. Having a bunch of young people care and just jump in and start organizing around us and helping us do the work—you can’t ask for anything better than that.”