We are launching America in Transition (AIT), which will highlight social issues and positive role models from underrepresented trans communities across the US.
“America in Transition is inspired by my experience coming out and seeking community as a youth in rural Vermont. I had questions about everything from health care access to navigating familial relationships, but no one to ask,” says TOHP founder and AIT Director Andre Perez, “Without role models or institutional support, I felt like I had to come to Chicago to find myself. AIT is working towards a world where people feel like they don’t have to leave their communities to be who they are.”
Media frames our culture and shapes our understanding. Mainstream media portrayals of the trans community has come so far in such a short time, with examples like Janet Mock on MSNBC, or shows like “I am Cait,” and “Becoming Us” among others. However, that media attention still leaves many trans folks invisible–people of color, poor people, people of faith, people with disabilities, and immigrants.
“Families and communities continue to reject trans folks, which fuels alarming rates of suicide, homelessness, and violence,” Pérez continues, “Trans people and advocates desperately need culturally relevant tools, to build understanding and acceptance.” According to Injustice at Every Turn, a report issued by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Trans Equality in 2011, over 50% of trans people have experienced discrimination in housing or on the job, 60% have experienced bullying in schools, 59% have survived violence due to their identity, and 41% of trans people have reported attempting suicide (compared to 1.6% of the general population).
The first season of AIT will feature six people in different places across the country, highlighting how a person’s environment impacts their experience of being transgender. It will answer key questions: How did your hometown shape you? What is the most important relationship in your life? Where do you belong now?
AIT is more than a series, it is a platform for change that will be interactive online and in real life. Stay tuned for web applications, educational material, and live community events.
Building relationships within and between communities is central to AIT’s model. Perez started working towards AIT ten months ago by establishing a Community Advisory Board, recruiting Media Mentors, and forging partnerships with more than 30 organizations around the country such as Disability Visibility, Lambda Legal, Medium, Trans Lifeline, and United Latino Pride.
AIT is launching its first fundraiser ever via an indiegogo campaign for $5,000 ($10,000 stretch goal). Proceeds will pay to travel and shoot the first three episodes. If you believe trans people belong anywhere they are and anywhere they want to be, then make your tax-deductible donation today!
AIT is working with Jess Oros, the web developer who brought you the trans pride filter, in order launch a custom filter for trans community members. If you are trans and feel like stories like your are left out of the mainstream media, then help us bring an intersectional perspective into the national conversation. You can write in the communities and identities that shape you, and show others what is missing from the frame by applying our new #MyTransStory filter to your social media profile pictures.