Black Trans Stories Matter - TMI Project

In partnership with Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, TMI Project is proud to announce our first-ever Black Trans Stories Matter true storytelling live virtual performance on Saturday, June 12th, 2021. Join us or host a screening from anywhere in the world!

TELL YOUR STORY

Submissions due by March 1st. Chosen applicants will be contacted by March 15th and will receive a $500 stipend for their time and participation. Participants must be available Mondays, 7-9PM EST from April 19 to June 14 (with the exception of Memorial Day) and for the performance on the evening of Saturday, June 12.

HOST A SCREENING

Schools, Universities, LGBTQIA+ Centers, and groups of any kind can sign up to host a screening. We will send you marketing materials and a Viewing and Discussion Guide to help you gather your audience, either in-person or online, to watch these amazing stories and to facilitate brave and impactful conversations after the performance is over.

ATTEND PERFORMANCE

Black Trans Stories Matter Live Storytelling Performance
Saturday June, 12th, 7pm EST

STORYTELLERS

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Theodora Green
Pronoun: She/Her/Hers
Geneva, IL

“I’m honored to share my story and hopefully inspire young women not to give up — that through adversity and perseverance you can reach your goals, whatever they may be.”

Julian Harris

Julian Harris
Pronoun: He/Him
Washington, DC

“Our stories matter. My story helps me remember my resilience in times I feel weak, alone, and hopeless. I hope it can help others, too.”

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Sanaia Hood
Pronoun: She/Her/Miss/Ma’am/Queen/Mermaid/Goddess
Charlotte, NC

“We need as much positive trans visibility as possible, from many different perspectives — politicians, creatives, entrepreneurs, medical workers, etc. I want the audience to know we can do and be anything!”

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K.C. Nyabinyere Jallah
Pronoun: They/Them/Theirs
Los Angeles, CA

“Too often the narratives of Black Trans people are unheard, disregarded, or only focused on death. I am hoping these narratives extend our collective humanity and empower other Black Trans folx to continue advocating for our existence.”

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KT Kennedy
Pronoun: They/Them
Brooklyn, NY

“I want to showcase, share, celebrate, uplift, and highlight the profound and infinite ways BTGNC’s voices and stories matter.”

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Eddie Maisonet
Pronoun: He/Him/His
Boston, MA

“Trauma porn is very effective to get white-centered institutional resources but using the way hegemonic society pathologizes Black Trans people does not affirm my full humanity or integrity as an artist. I am more than a token that audiences can use to get in touch with their own humanity.”

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Lylah Matthews
Pronoun: She/Her/Hers
Las Vegas, NV

“I am a strong-minded, caring, and smart individual, who happens to be Black and transgender. I’m just like anyone else who has a story.”

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Aren Somers
Pronoun: He/Him
Lynchburg, VA

“There is tremendous diversity in the lived experience of Black trans men. We can be neurodivierse, ASpec, gay, nerdy — a million different things. I hope the audience will ponder what makes up a black trans life, and how we find the courage and solidarity to keep on living those lives.”

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Jahir Thomas
Pronoun: Him/He
Fort Worth, TX

“I want to tell my story of being a black trans man to inspire young and old FTMs to be confident in who they are and to not let fear of judgment slow their lives down. I want the audience to know that being trans is not a negative — it’s a normal and positive aspect of life.”

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Syd Williams
Pronoun: He/Him
Durham, NC

“I think it is important for the audience to know the stories of black trans folks are not all the same. We all go through different things to get to where we are.”

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Mario (Mars) Wolfe
Pronoun: They/Them
Petersburg, FL

“Stories centering Transgender folx usually dramatize violence, surgery, and sex work. I find those stories difficult to watch because some of those narratives hit too close to home, but also because they contribute to a monolithic depiction. I want to help expand our growing landscape; filling in the non-binary colors of the rainbow.”

WORKSHOP LEADERS

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Kiebpoli Calnek
Pronoun: They/All

“Working with TMI Project feels like divine guidance. It is humbling to have the opportunity to engage with brave participants, helping them express their true stories, which capture the Black Trans narrative in all its raw authenticity and wisdom. This crucial work enriches the spirit of the performer with a platform for their truth and provides a unique window of reflection for the viewer.”

Kiebpoli Calnek, a non-binary queer Black creative from NYC/Lenapehoking, has generated nuanced performances and creative direction seeped in poetic somatic elements for over two decades. Their social enterprise, Black*Acrobat, produces interdisciplinary programming sharing stories of, for, and with fringe communities, celebrating authentic visions and viewpoints through research, access, and collaboration. They were covered in Essence and contributed, “How It Feels… To Be An Aerial Acrobat” to Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. While living out West, Kiebpoli nurtured film, stage, and literary relationships and in 2018, the concept of Queer & Trans Love Stories (“cuties”) was born at a writing residency in New Mexico’s Peñasco mountains. Kiebpoli’s works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astraea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. They are a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association. kiebpoli.com

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Erik Harris
Pronoun: He/Him/His

“As a Black trans man, I know I have been lucky to come of age in environments that valued my input and allowed me to thrive, but that is not the reality for so many other people like me. When I heard about Black Trans Stories Matter, I knew I had to get involved because my community has so many powerful folks and stories that have yet to be heard.”

Erik Harris is a proud Black, queer, trans man from North Carolina who recently moved up to New York to become the Program Assistant at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. Before coming to the Center, Erik was a high school English teacher in Nashville, Tennessee where he was one of the founding advisors of the SafeZone, a club for LGBTQ teens and allies to explore their identities and advocate for their needs in the school. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Race & Ethnicity Studies from Salem College as well as a Master of Arts degree in History from UNC-Greensboro. All these experiences, in addition to his own lived experience, shaped his long-standing passion for social justice and equity work.

When he isn’t working, Erik enjoys hiking, playing video games, cooking, and practicing guitar. He spends most of his days hanging out with his cat, Tux.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR

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Cece Suazo
Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

“Before I was introduced to TMI Project I was torn, broken, and felt like damaged goods. To be completely honest, I just wanted to end it all. Today, I live with a greater sense of freedom because I learned how to tell my narrative and live in my truth. I was accepted and gained a new family through TMI Project. I feel whole again, stronger, and more confident in my ability to continue life’s journey. I also felt inspired to reach out to others in the TGNC (transgender non-conforming) community to let them know there’s so much out there for us.”

Cece is a life-long trans activist and artist. She was honored with the 2018 Advocate Magazine Award for her contributions to the ballroom community and performing arts. She has appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions at Rattlestick, Signature, LaMama, Arcon, and appearing in the New York Times Critics’ Pick production of Street Children and Incongruence at NYTW. Cece also starred in the Bay/San Francisco area premiere of Chisa Hutchinson’s Dead & Breathing at Theater Rhinoceros, as well as in TMI Project’s off-Broadway production LifelinesQueer Stories of Survival for the Trevor Project. In 2019 she had the honor to play trans pioneer Lucy Hicks Anderson in High Herstory. As the 1st trans woman of color at WOW Cafe Theater, she’s produced many works in her 12 years as a collective member. Cece is also one of the founders of TRANSLAB where she recently did a residency in partnership with The Public Theater & WP Theater. Her first play, Shattered Reflections (The Deep Play), had its premiere in December 2018 at the WP Theater. She recently presented her latest play, You Will Neva Enter Our High Holy Land Of Blackness-HIYA, at Long Wharf Theater. Ms. Suazo’s ballroom career began in 1988 as the youngest member in the Iconic House Of LaBeija. She earned Legendary status in 2010, and in 2013, she departed the house after 27 years.

Black Trans Stories Matter supports and is aligned with the mission of Black Lives Matter.

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Sample Copy:

TMI Project and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center are proud to announce our first-ever Black Trans Stories Matter true storytelling live virtual performance on Saturday, June 12th, 2021. Join us or host a screening from anywhere in the world!
www.tmiproject.org/black-trans-stories-matter/
#BlackTransStoriesMatter #BlackStoriesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter #TMIProject #Storytelling

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