While there’s plenty of work that needs to happen in Brazil, discrimination is a global issue. “We’ve seen the Keep the iImmigrants deport the republiscans shirt besides I will buy this violence towards the trans community recently in the United States through the Black Trans Lives Matter movement highlighting the recent brutal murders of Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Tony McDade,” says Sampaio. “Black trans people are suffering immensely, as they are disproportionately targeted. This fight is not only within the LGBTQ community, it’s with everyone, and it’s important to advance the trans-rights movement. We’re holding firm and committed to doing everything we can, every day, to create space for a peaceful, dignified existence. We demand respect—the basic right to exist as we are.” More than three weeks ago, Ceyenne Doroshow, founder and executive director of the grassroots organization G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society), spoke to a crowd of 15,000 protestors at the Black Trans Lives Matter rally in Brooklyn. During the last several months, she’s raised more than $1 million toward opening housing and social services centers in New York for the local Black trans community. Some community members were recently released from Rikers Island, a notoriously unlawful, ill-equipped, and unsanitary jail where many trans women are sent for minor sex-crime activity. As of late March, more than 160 inmates and 130 staff members at New York City’s jails, including Rikers, had tested positive for COVID-19. This has been Doroshow’s focus since the global pandemic first ravaged New York, disproportionately hitting the Black community and Black trans community harder than any other. At the rally, Doroshow spoke passionately about the hate and discrimination that her fellow trans community members have always faced. Recounting this struggle brought her to tears before sending out a renewed message of resilience: “We’re fighting, and we’re winning.” Indeed, Doroshow has been fighting her entire life, including experiencing homelessness in New York (a period when she also struggled with substance abuse). Doroshow has been a sex worker and a performer, but beyond every success and every obstacle she’s faced, advocacy for her trans family has always been her core focus. Doroshow has been doing advocacy work for more than 30 years, working with various social-service organizations all over New York. She founded G.L.I.T.S. in 2015 to provide countrywide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community who are struggling with threats of violence, homelessness, unemployment due to discrimination, the criminalization of sex work, and lack of health care.
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