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College of Humanities & Sciences

Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

Transcripts Podcast Panel: "The South Deserves People Like Me"

April 12, 2021

Event date: Tuesday, April 20 @ 5:00 p.m. ET

Transcripts is a new podcast that puts the transgender movement in context. Using oral histories from the Tretter Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota and produced by Cassius Adair, hosts Andrea Jenkins and Myrl Beam introduce listeners to the trans activists working to build a more just and more fabulous world. 

This event will include an excerpt of the episode, "The South Deserves People Like Me", which follows Black and multi-racial transgender Southerners as they fight to build home and community below the Mason-Dixon line and will be followed by a panel discussion with four visionary trans activists. Sponsored by the Dept of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Virginia Humanities and the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Contact gsws@vcu.edu for questions. Register for this virtual event here!

Panelists

Mariah Moore, looking over her shoulder [View Image]

Mariah Moore

House of Tulip, New Orleans, LA

Mariah Moore is a national transgender rights activist from New Orleans, LA. Her work includes fighting to ensure equity, equality and safety for the transgender community, especially Black transgender women. Mariah has worked tirelessly in New Orleans to bring awareness to communities that have been adversely affected by laws and policies that are discriminatory.

Mariah serves on the LGBTQ Task Force which was created by New Orleans Mayor, LaToya Cantrell. She also works with the CANS Can't Stand campaign, which is a campaign that was created to bring awareness to and hopefully abolish the crimes against nature law that has historically targeted LGBTQ people of color, specifically Black transgender women. Mariah is a Victory Empowerment Alumni, which is a program that identifies LGBTQ community members who wish to run for office and provides campaign training and support. Through sharing her lived experiences as well as the work she does at House of Tulip as co-executive director and Transgender Law Center as a national organizer, she continues to change hearts and minds so that all people can live free from fear and have what they need to thrive.


Aurora Higgs in front of a nature background [View Image]

Aurora Higgs

MATX Doctoral Student, Richmond, VA

Aurora Higgs (she/they) is a Black queer visionary from Richmond, Va. Aurora transitioned in 2018 and uses her platform to promote justice and equity. She’s a speaker, performer, and producer of media that elevate queer BIPOC voices. As a member of the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, Aurora helps shape medical practice guidelines and protocols to better ensure the transgender policies are appropriate, progressive, and compassionate. Aurora specializes as a speaker and facilitator on equity, DEI work, social justice, and gender/sexuality studies.

Aurora is currently obtaining a PhD at Virginia Commonwealth University, studying the relationship trans people of color have with media and the archive. She believes that art and digital media are the catalysts that most successfully open the public’s consciousness; to speculate about worlds beyond our own. Aurora unapologetically integrates her art with her area of study. As a burlesque performer, Aurora employs the classically effeminate art form to expand the viewers’ scope of femininity. As a Black transgender woman, taboo has always surrounded her identity, so she leverages and reconceptualizes the nature of “the taboo” to foster generative discourse about identity, sexuality, gender, performance, and new epistemologies.


Kayla Gore [View Image]

Kayla Gore

My Sistah's House, Memphis, TN

Kayla Rena Gore works to help to coordinate homeless services, conduct direct outreach, and advocate for the rights of TLGBQ people, especially transgender women. She studied Sociology at Southwest. She also provides trainings for CBO’s, educational institutions, healthcare organizations around trans inclusivity. Her organizing work has includes fighting for housing equity for all people who are chronically homeless and advocating for the just treatment of transgender people by law enforcement.


 Andrea Jenkins [View Image]

Andrea Jenkins

Minneapolis City Council, Minneapolis, MI

Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Jenkins moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979. She worked as a Vocational Counselor for the Hennepin County government, for a decade. Jenkins worked as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the
Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University, and a Bachelors Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, a 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion, and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. In 2018 she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.

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