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‘Black Trans Lives Matter’: Stop what you’re doing and watch this trans activist’s rousing speech from outside the Stonewall Inn

Vic Parsons June 2, 2020
Black Trans Lives Matter: Stonewall Inn speech calls for trans liberation

Ianne Fields Stewart outside the Stonewall Inn on June 1, 2020. (Twitter)

Black trans femme Ianne Fields Stewart stood outside the Stonewall Inn on the first day of Pride month and asked the crowd to do more to honour Black trans lives.

As protests against racism and police brutality continue in the US following the deaths of George Floyd and Black trans man Tony McDade, Stewart said: “You say you honour us, but where are we?”

The Stonewall Inn was the site of protests against police violence in 1969, when a police raid on the bar turned sour after officers accosted bar-goers.

Although accounts of events that night differ, many agree that it was when the police tried to shove butch Black lesbian Stormé Delarverie into a police car that the uprising was triggered.

The ensuing protests are commonly credited as the birth of the modern-day gay-rights movement.

Ianne Fields Stewart tells Stonewall Inn crowd: ‘Black Trans Lives Matter.’

Standing on a bench near the Stonewall Inn yesterday (June 1), Stewart, whose pronouns are she and they, told hundreds of people that “Black Trans Lives Matter”.

In one video of her speech, viewed almost 8,000 times, the crowd can be heard cheering as they do a call-and-response with Stewart.

“Black trans women,” she says, “have given y’all culture!”

The crowd chants it back to them. She continues: “Have given y’all style!”

“Have given y’all seasoning in your damn chicken! And for too long, we’re not here.

“You say you honour us. You say you uplift us. Then where the f*ck are we?”

Stewart is an actress and the founder of The Okra Project, a grassroots project that combats food insecurity in the Black trans community.

To honour McDade and Nina Pop, a Black trans woman who was murdered in her apartment in Missouri in May, Stewart is launching an emergency mental-health fund that will provide one-off counselling to Black trans men and women.

“The Okra Project recognises that Black trans people are feeling the weight of our siblings being murdered while their murderers, whether it be the assailants or the police force that puts very little efforts into finding their killers, walks free,” says a press release for the new fund.

Black trans women in the US are commonly reported to have a life expectancy of just 35 years.

Twelve trans or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the US in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s anti-trans violence tracking project.

 

More: anti-trans violence, black lives matter, black trans lives matter, Ianne Fields Stewart, the okra project, the stonewall inn

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