SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives and well being of elders in the LGBTQ+ community, announced the launch of the new Trans Legacy Campaign in honor of Pride Month.
In collaboration with Trans Equity Consulting, the campaign aims to increase the representation of transgender elders amidst ongoing struggles within the community.
Trans elders are some of the most vulnerable individuals within the LGBTQ+ community, having lived much of their lives in a time where living their authentic selves expressing gender identity was (and still is) a threat to their lives.
Gender expression for many transgender elders meant living under constant harassment, discrimination, prejudice and threat of violence. Oftentimes these living conditions meant that trans individuals suffered poor health, financial insecurity and lack of community support.
Despite these challenges, transgender elders have persevered – leading LGBTQ+ youth in addition to surviving and enduring violence and bigotry. This resilience is portrayed in the Trans Legacy Campaign, which gives the public an intimate look into the experiences and challenges they faced while simply living their lives authentically.
“Transgender elders are a cornerstone for our community,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE in a statement on May 27. “We wouldn’t have the rights we have today were it not for transgender people – and especially Black transgender women – fighting back. With anti-trans legislation at an all-time high, it’s never been more crucial to share their stories and increase their visibility as we continue the fight for full equality.”
The Trans Legacy Campaign will feature a gallery of photos focusing on the lives of six transgender elders. The photographs were captured by viento izquierdo ugaz & Oscar Diaz, who both utilized film and digital photography to capture their subjects.
One of the participants, Miss Simone from Manhattan’s West Village, spoke out about her experience with discrimination and transphobia, and how she hopes that by living her life fearlessly and without apology, she will inspire others to do the same.
“Many transgender people are in an environment where people may try to lower our self-esteem,” said Miss Simone. “It’s important to be around people that are actually behind you and help you live your truth, your true life.”
The campaign aims to celebrate the vibrancy of transgender elders, while also honoring their fight and contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.
“I remember the Civil Rights movement,” said Miss Genevieve, one of the campaign participants. “I was in the service during the Vietnam War. I remember Stonewall. There was a time when we had nothing,” said Miss Genevieve, one of the campaign participants. And look at the changes that have been made. Look at the people we’ve influenced and still influence just by our existence.”
New Yorkers can celebrate the campaign’s launch by attending the Trans Legacy Gallery Launch, a free public event, on Friday, June 3, starting at 5 p.m. EST at Stonewall House. RSVP at the link here: sageusa.org/TransLegacyRSVP.