A Georgia Peach in the Big Apple
A few weeks ago I announced that I’d be moving to NYC after two years in Oakland. I couldn’t share the reason then, but I am thrilled to do so now. I am the new Executive Editor at OUT Magazine.
As many of you know, my background is in media and journalism and a significant portion of my early career I worked as a news reporter at The Walton Tribune, a small newspaper in rural Georgia. It was there that I had my first professional opportunity to tap into my love of storytelling and amplifying voices. I covered everything from a 9-year-old girl who overcame leukemia to a person living with HIV who had to remain anonymous for fear of stigma in a rural town to thrill and fear of a conservative county hosting its first drag show. During that time, I also had to learn what it felt like to be stealth and not share my truth and identity for the first time since I was a child.
After leaving that job and finding community and a truer calling in Atlanta, I began to live more authentically than ever before. I traded in my notepad for a laptop and began work as a digital publisher for the nerdy online platform, HowStuffWorks. Though there was little that excited me about that particular job, it’s disconnection from identity and what was happening in the world deeply uncovered some major priorities for me. I had found nourishment for my social justice heart in Atlanta’s Black LGBTQ community I worked alongside Black trans sex workers boldly demanding the police to stop profiling them, young organizers calling for an end to police brutality and queer and trans folks of color building cultural events to celebrate that specific intersection of being a Southern iced-tea sippin’, fried food-eating queer. This was also the time that I began to be more vocal online. Starting with Tumblr and then later discovering a deeper affinity for Twitter.
As the murders of my Black trans sisters began to increase, public discourse began to fire up around trans and gender nonconforming folks and bigoted threats became fiercer for the many communities I’m a part of, I felt called to working in a new capacity in the larger Movement for Liberation. This is where my last two powerful and impactful years at Transgender Law Center comes in. I came in doing communications and left with a deeper grasp of the power of community organizing. I feel forever indebted to the TGNC folks fighting in every corner of the country and the Black organizers drafting a new dream for our people and the powerful women of color who are experiencing a surge of power and confidence like never before. It is with such a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my comrades in that particular space.
Don’t fret, my organizing work doesn’t end with leaving my official capacity at Transgender Law Center. In fact, I will continue on leading a project that I developed in collaboration with Black trans women in the South and Midwest. Black Trans Circles will continue to create spaces for healing and redemption for Black trans women in New Orleans, Houston and Columbus, OH. As well, I feel forever committed to the work on-the-ground and I’m excited to have a chance to elevate the people, experiences and stories that I have encountered over the years and discover many more. I see my continued work in media as cultural organizing and I’m committed to continue elevating marginalized voices. Thanks for supporting me on this journey so far. There’s so much more to come!