It can often feel like joy and optimism went on sabbatical around 2015 and have yet to reappear. Counter that despair with the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, a young organization building community and mobilizing resources for underrepresented artists. Since its founding in 2019 by Jordyn Jay, the grassroots organization has raised over a million dollars to support Black trans artists. Members of the collective have appeared on HBO Max’s Legendary, staged exhibitions at Los Angeles’s Armand Hammer Museum, and performed on Broadway.
Jay says their organization is necessary because disparities of funding and safe spaces, and the general inaccessibility of art education, contribute to a lack of representation for Black trans women in the arts.
Jay states that, “Today, BTFA addresses all of those concerns by providing funding for projects led by Black trans femmes artists via BTFA Productions, providing artists with free studio space in New York City at BTFA Studios, creating programming for Black trans femmes to support their development as artists, businesspeople, and individuals, and connecting Black trans femmes to the resources needed to survive and thrive.”
Black trans femmes have contributed so much to American (and world) culture and BTFA’s ultimate goal is to allow these women to “take ownership of their cultural production” and continue to create without limitations.
Find out more about BTFA, and contribute to their cause, at btfacollective.org.
Jordyn Jay of the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts
Image by Myles Loftin