Content Warning: transphobic hate crimes, anti-Blackness, murder, incarceration
In the spring of 2021, I moved to Columbia City. I found the neighborhood to be welcoming and exciting. It’s close to bookstores and Asian grocery stores, and I spent much time going on walks around my home. On my walks, I paid close attention to public boards and postings. I found posters advertising community events and marches, as well as stickers declaring various points of view about the pandemic.
One day, I was surprised to come across a red sticker on a street pole that said “protect children from gender clinics.” I’d heard this phrase before. As a transgender man, I’m very familiar with the various right-wing dog whistles used to deny health care to my community. The claim that clinics that offer transgender health care prey upon children is a blatant lie, even as bills passed in the U.S. make it increasingly harder for transgender youth to receive care.
Black trans women and nonbinary femmes are the most underserved population within the LGBTQIA+ community.
This is the reality that the Lavender Rights Project (LRP) knew but did not yet know how to effectively address after serving as a grassroots nonprofit law firm for the last five years. This September, on their five-year anniversary, after bringing Black trans women and femmes into new leadership to inform LRP’s strategy, they’re changing their mission to better hone in on this problem. While they still intend to be inclusive and serve the larger LGBTQIA+ community, they will center their work around Black trans women and nonbinary femmes moving forward.
“We are hoping to be inclusive of all LGBTQ in our services, but we see focusing in on Black trans women as a method to address all needs of the entire community. When we get it right for Black trans women, we get it right for everyone who reaches out to us for help,” Jaelynn Scott (she/her) said. As LRP’s executive director, Scott exuded a mix of fierce compassion that also somehow felt like a calming balm as she spoke about LRP’s future.
We celebrate and honor the legacy, labor, divinity, sacredness, and love of our Black trans women and femmes and trans Women of Color in community!
by Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network
Jaelynn Scott, M.Div., is the executive director of Lavender Rights Project. Jaelynn has worked as a director of HR, operations, and education for nonprofits and religious organizations. She is an ordained minister and regularly preaches and facilitates workshops on justice and mindfulness. Jaelynn is passionate about trans liberation, sacred practices for self-care, decolonized labor practices, and mindfulness in the workplace. Jaelynn, we love you and celebrate you! Thank you for your loving leadership and cosmic commitment to Black trans liberation and healing for generations to come!