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Black Trans Lives Matter

February 4, 2021

Written in collaboration with Erin Horne.

Black Trans Lives Matter. Public support for the Black transgender community is not yet where it needs to be. Failure to provide adequate support for this community has jeopardized the member's safety and quality of life. We must collectively demand justice and offer allyship to the LGBTQ+ community.


Trans PULSE Canada Statistics

The Trans PULSE Canada report outlines the perspectives of racialized trans and non-binary individuals in Canada. 

“In 2009-2010, Ontario’s Trans PULSE Project found that three-quarters of racialized trans people had experienced racism or ethnicity related discrimination, and one quarter had been harassed by police because of their race or ethnicity” [1]

“Racialized respondents rated their overall health more poorly than non racialized respondents, while both groups reported fair or poor mental health at similar rates.”[1]

"In the past 5 years, 72% of racialized respondents had experienced verbal harassment, and 49% had experienced sexual harassment.”[1]

“Unreasonable expulsion or suspension was twice as common among racialized respondents compared to non racialized respondents”[1]

“73% of racialized trans and non-binary respondents worried about being stopped or harassed by police or security because of who they are.”[1]

"A striking 33% of racialized respondents had avoided calling 911 for police services in the past 5 years, while 24% had avoided calling 911 for emergency medical services.”[1]

“When asked whether they trusted that the police and courts would treat them fairly if they were physically assaulted, only 1 in 5 racialized respondents said yes. When asked the same question about sexual assault, only 1 in 10 racialized respondents trusted these systems.”[1]


On Monday, October 26th, 2020, a 30-year-old Black transgender woman died after being taken into custody under Ontario’s Mental Health Act. Statements released by the province's police watchdog neglected to use gender-neutral terms [2]. Members of the LGBTQ community demand answers after a Black trans woman dies in police custody using the hashtag #TPSWhatHappened [2]. This article discusses the harm of misgendering and the lack of care administered to the victim.

Black trans individuals and the inequities they face in the health care system 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) individuals have been named among the most vulnerable to contracting the virus [3]. Inequities within the healthcare system have affected the quality of care for TGNC members. Listed below are areas in need of improvement within society to create a compassionate space for our LGBTQ+ community.

Cultural Sensitivity 

Restricting gender options to “male” or “female” on medical documentation can perpetuate transphobia and lead to misgendering [3]. Gender-neutral language in healthcare would serve to create an inclusive space for all who may require it [3].


Mandatory education of Black TGNC lives should be offered to healthcare providers of all levels [3]. Raising awareness of the underlying biases present within our healthcare system will be foundational in reversing stigmas.


To combat the injustices faced by Black TGNC, healthcare policies must be updated. Healthcare organizations must be held accountable for maintaining a standard of equity for all [3]. Patient surveys can offer a unique perspective and inform the institutions of possible changes that need to be made [3].

Highlighting “The Okra Project”

Ianne Fields Stewart is the founder of The Okra Project based in the United States. The goal of this organization is to feed Black transgender individuals amidst a hunger crisis [4]. The Okra Project hires Black trans chefs to cook nutritious meals for Black trans individuals in need [4]

Donation Centers 

  • Transgender Law Center 
    • A legal organization committed to supporting the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.