Black Trans Lives Matter is a campaign advocating for equality and justice for transgender members of the black community. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, activists and supporters began using the phrase to call attention to crimes committed against black transgender people.
In 2013, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi started the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black high school student.
That year, following the death of Isan Nettles, a black transgender woman, some began using the hashtag and expression “Black Trans Lives Matter.” On August 23rd, 2013, for example, Twitter user @PrernaSays tweeted that hashtag #blacktranslivesmatter (shown below, left). Days later, on August 27th, Twitter user @sistrenista tweeted, “#IslanNettles because the lives of Black trans women matter #lgbt #poc #qwoc” (shown below, right).
The movement continued over the next decade as people continued to call attention to the murders of black trans people. For example, on August 14th, 2015, actor Laverne Cox posted about the death of Ashton O’Hara on Facebook. She wrote, “The second trans woman found murdered this week. This is a #StateOfEmergency. Thank you @chernobiko for keeping us informed. #SayHerName #AshtonOhara
@Regrann from @chernobiko – The is the face of the 4th Black Trans Woman lynched in the past month. #SayHerName #AshtonOhara. I’m starting to believe that all lives will matter won’t matter until #BlackTransLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter #TransIsBeautiful #RedefiningRealness #GirlsLikeUs #FolksLikeUs. #Regrann.” The post received more than 2,300 reactions, 730 shares and 200 comments in less than five years (shown below, left).
On April 22nd, 2019, TEDx published a talk on the subject. In a little over one year, the video has received more than 3,300 views (showm below, center).
On June 3rd, 2020, Redditor hurriqueen posted “Pokemon Go says Black Trans Lives Matter” in the /r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns subreddit. The post included a message from Niantic, the makers of the video game Pokémon GO about donating money to black trans causes. The post received more than 1,700 points (99% upvoted) in less than two weeks (shown below, right).
2020 Black Trans Lives Matter Rally in Brooklyn
On June 14th, 2020, as part of the wave of protests started by the death of George Floyd the Okra Poject, a group that provides meals to black trans people, and the Marsh P. Johnson Institue held a rally for black trans people at the Brooklyn Museum. An estimated 15,000 people were in attendance.
That day, Twitter user @whembleysewell tweeted video footage of the rally. The post received more than 490,000 views, 23,000 likes and 7,700 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
— whembley (@whembleysewell) June 14, 2020
The following day, Redditor Lilyo posted a photograph of the event in the /r/newyorkcity subreddit. The post received more than 1,000 points (94% upvoted) and 170 comments in less than 24 hours (shown below).