Imara Jones is both pessimistic and hopeful. The Emmy- and Peabody-winning journalist and activist created TransLash, a docuseries and media platform that chronicles the complicated trans experience of today. We caught up with Jones — who previously held positions in the Clinton White House and was named a 2018 Champion of Pride by The Advocate — on the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance to ask her how we can make the most of TDOR and how to one day leave it behind.
The Advocate: Today is Trans Day of Remembrance, or to some, Trans Day of Resilience. Which moniker do you prefer, and why?
Imara Jones: Trans Day of Remembrance. It’s easier to say and is as equally meaningful to me.
How can we honor the lives of victims of anti-trans violence?
We can honor their lives by stopping anti-trans violence, specifically by holding the wider society accountable for the wide array of policies, laws, and cultural practices which give license to those who wish to do us harm. And we can massively invest in trans communities in the areas of economic opportunity, housing, health care, and education to reduce the marginalization of trans people, which contributes to us being targeted.
Tell us about TransLash and its mission.
TransLash is a cross-platform media project which tells the stories of trans people, specifically trans people of color, at a time of social backlash. As a journalism and personal narrative project we create content, events, and resources to center the humanity of trans people and increase empathy. Our goal is to drive a cultural shift in order to save trans lives.
Are you hopeful there will be fewer victims to honor in 2020?
Sadly, I am not. We live in world which is too permissive of the violence against us. The United States has the highest levels of trans murders on the planet except for Brazil and Mexico. This fact reflects deep structural problems in this country which must be resolved over time. However. I am very hopeful. That’s because we continue to exist, to become stronger and to link with those who believe in us. This combination is why at some point I am confident that Trans Day of Remembrance will be a thing of the past.
Find out more about TransLash here.