Year in review: QTPOC moments from 2015 that will shape 2016

Peacock feathers

2015 was painful, but also historic, groundbreaking, revolutionary, magical, sexy, beautiful, and awe-inspiring.

If you need some inspiration, let’s review some of the year’s top queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) moments, actions, and brilliance in the US, as curated by the Peacocks. So much happened that we missed a ton of stuff, so email us if you have something to add to the list or if you have corrections.

Jennicet Gutierrez interrupts President Barack Obama to call for an end to deportation and abuse of LGBTQ immigrants. Right at the launch of President Obama’s Pride Reception at the White House for a lot of mainstream gay, lesbian, occasionally bisexual, and rarely transgender organizations and officials in June, Jennicet spoke up about the atrocities that many detainees face and spoke up for many who are being abused in detention centers and prisons. Jennicet specifically named the violence that many TransLatinas have been facing including but not limited to sexual abuse and unlawful detainments. Bea Fonseca on Black Girl Dangerous writes, “Real courage is being the lone voice in a room full of fake allies and still speaking up. Real courage is putting your immigration status and life on the line to fight for your immigrant trans sisters. Real courage is crashing a party at the White House to demand liberation for your people.” You can read the Washington Blade’s exclusive interview with Jennicet on why she interrupted President Obama here.

Lexi Adsit’s list of 24 Things You NEED To Do To Help Trans Women of Color Survive. Peacock Rebellion’s own Lexi Adsit was featured on Autostraddle for her amazing article and list of 24 things you NEED to do to help Trans Women of Color Survive. She writes, “With all of this in mind in one of the most visibly bloody years we’ve witnessed of violence against trans women of color, I wanted to make a list of things you can do to begin to change the culture of violence against trans women of color into one of love, appreciation, and transformative change.” Lexi goes on to list articles, projects, books, and organizations that center trans women of color and many ways that you can start building a loving and understanding culture around the trans women of color in your life.

Boycott of Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall. Miss Major said it best, “It’s so disappointing. They keep doing this! My first thought is: how dare they attempt to do this again?” You can view the full interview by Mey Rude with Miss Major here. Stonewall, a fictional twist off of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, featured a fictional white cisgender gay man, Danny, who Emmerich decided should throw the first brick. With news of trailers and the plot synopsis coming out, a campaign to boycott the film started and gained lots of traction online with over 20,000 signatures and coverage from mainstream outlets like Salon, Mashable, and BBC.

Premiere of MAJOR! Documentary in San Francisco, CA. Miss Major, the legendary and iconic transgender liberations, racial justice, and prison abolitionist activist finally was the center of a documentary. Major, a Black trans woman who founded the Transgender, Gender-Variant, and Intersex Justice Project, was a Stonewall veteran, mother to many, and raised a generation of transgender women of color activists, is the most interesting documentary centerpiece not just because of her extensive change-making history but also because of her contagious smile, warm and nurturing personality, and no-holds-barred/no-bullshit realness. If you’re interested in bringing Major to a site near you, you’re in luck as Analise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez, the creators of the documentary, are planning on taking it on a world tour. You can learn more here.

Mangos With Chili performs their last National Queer Arts Festival show ever. Bittersweet: The longest-running QTPOC cabaret in North America is closing this June after ten years of love. Mangos nurtured and loved up on more than 150 QTPOC artists from across the US and Canada, and toured to tiny towns so the one brown queerdo in rural Klansville could see that we are here, we’re alive, we’re ok, and we got you. Mangos co-founders Ms. Cherry Galette and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha wrote a farewell note that our great-great-grandqueers will read, in awe at the legacy that Mangos hath built. But anyways, their last Queer Arts Fest show was on point, bringing together Mangos old and new for one big orgy of sweet, sticky, tender dreams.

TAJA’s Coalition launches #TransLiberationTuesday. On February 10, 2015, TAJA’s Coalition (Trans* Activists for Justice and Accountability Coalition) gathered in front of City Hall in SF to raise awareness of and protest the ongoing genocide of trans women of color. They called this beautiful action Trans Liberation Tuesday.

SF supervisors reject the proposal to build a new jail. Part of the call from TAJA’s Coalition and others, part of Californians United for a Responsible Budget’s No New SF Jail Coalition, was to block the construction of a massive new jail-which they won!!!! SF won’t be building a new jail!!

Grassroots organizers launch a massive wave of actions across the US for #BlackTransLivesMatter. #TransLiberationTuesday, #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName…So much was and is still happening. These actions helped link them, putting the murder of Black trans women and work for Black trans liberation at the forefront. Check the Facebook event page for tons of links, photos, and more.

Shiloh Quine becomes the first trans prisoner in the US to receive gender-affirming surgery while imprisoned (as far as we know). While we know we’ll never be free until the prison system is abolished, the Transgender Law Center writes that this settlement with their client is huge because “a state government – which already covers gender-affirming surgery under Medi-Cal – is making a clear statement that our identities and medical needs as transgender people are as valid as anyone else.”

Brouhaha: Trans Women of Color Comedy-Based Storytelling happens in Oakland, CA. Ok maybe we’re a little biased, but it’s legit important: Peacock Rebellion made history this year with an all-trans women of color comedy-based storytelling show that featured 7 amazing trans women of color including: Janetta Johnson, Star Amerasu, Luna Merbruja, Chella Coleman, Elena Rose, Erica Cane and Jade Hambaro. All of them participated in Luna’s 6-week training program, which she told Autostraddle about: “Usually when people hear stories it’s about pain and death, but what about sex and dating and desirability? We experience trials and tribulations that are sometimes just like, funny stories that we tell. We never get to be uplifting or joyful or funny.” The show sold over 700 tickets (what!) and was a riot of laughter. With all the mainstream fuckery of tokening trans women of color, this was a refreshing change, with trans women of color in leadership of the producing, training, curating, writing and performing, along with many other roles. Trans women of color in control of the stories of their lives and how those stories get told–imagine that.