By Kelcie McKenney, Emily Park
On the last day of Transgender Awareness Week, we remember the trans lives who have been victims of transphobic violence. 2020 is the deadliest year on record for Transgender lives. Close to home, Nina Pop was killed in her Sikeston, Missouri, apartment in May.
Know their names. Say their names.
Today, Elle shared this comprehensive list of the names we must remember. But while we mourn and memorialize these trans lives, we wanted to remind you that support for trans lives doesn’t start after we’ve wrongly lost them. We need to support our transgender community now. So we put together this quick-list of trans folx and organizations to support right now. We know this list is nowhere near comprehensive or complete, so tell us the trans folx in you’re life who you’re supporting today and always.
Kansas City director and filmmaker Sav Rodgers makes films about the queer experience through both a comedic and personal lens. At the beginning of the year, he gave a TED Talk called “The rom-com that saved my life” about his love for the 1997 Kevin Smith film Chasing Amy. He’s currently working on a documentary called Chasing Chasing Amy. It’s about “the cultural impact of Chasing Amy (1997) on the greater LGBTQ+ community and the profound, lasting impact on himself.” He also has Kevin Smith on speed dial now, so that’s pretty neat. While his documentary has been in post-production, he’s been working on a few other queer projects—including the Transgender Film Center. Launching later this month, it’s a space designed to help trans creators promote their film work. It’s in the early stages, but we’re damn excited about it. You can support Sav through the Transgender Film Center or on his Patreon.
UN/TUCK’s Zoey Shopmaker + Mazzy Mann + Lorelei Kretsinger
The queer and trans-focused collective and record label UN/TUCK has brought Kansas City a collection of intricate live shows and national act-connections. Trio Zoey Shopmaker, Mazzy Mann, and Lorelei Kretsginer—who perform as BTRFLY, MX.MRS, and Floraviolet respectively—founded UN/TUCK in 2017, and they’ve been fulfilling our need for queer and trans music enjoyed in an accepting space. Last year, they put on an alt Pride Fest called Transfiguration Music and Arts Pride Festival. “We want to move away from a singular idea of what it means to be queer or gay or trans in the Midwest,” Zoey Shopmaker, told The Pitch in 2019 about the Pride fest. Check out UN/TUCK’s bandcamp and let your ears enjoy their artists.
Korea Kelly is a Youth and Adult Empowerment Specialist and UplifT Program Coordinator for the Kansa City Anti-Violence Project—a nonprofit offering dedicated services to LGBTQ+ youth and adults. Korea is a community advocate for trans and LGBTQIA peoples, and she shared her passion at October’s Reale Womxn’s Rally/March at Mill Creek Park. When she isn’t educating and supporting the trans community, she is also the owner of Cavalli Entertainment, her business that supports and creates events for ballroom and pageant communities and the LGBTQ+ community, with a focus on supporting people of color in those spaces. Today, Korea told Flatland KC what Transgender Day of Remebrance means to her: “For me, TDOR means keeping the love, joy, memories and dreams of my fallen Kansas City trans-siblings alive. It means fighting for what is right and to not let this cycle of violence keep happening over and over again in my city.” You can support Korea through her work with the KC Anti-Violence Project or through Cavalli Entertainment.
Stephanie Byers made history this November by becoming the first openly transgender Native American to be elected to U.S. office when she won her seat for the Kansas House of Representatives. She’s also Kansas’s first openly transgender lawmaker. Byers is a retired music teacher who first thought of running for office while attending last year’s Wichita Pride parade in September. “For me, being transgender is just another aspect of who I am,” Byers told KAKE. “I am a member of the Chickasaw Nation. I ride a motorcycle. I’m a musician.” Over the past four years, Byers has campaigned against “bathroom bills” that threat to dismantle the rights of transgender people. With her in office, Kansas has a good one on its side. Support Byers by following her campaign at byersforkansas.com.
KANSAS CITY RESOURCES TO CHECK OUT:
Kansas City Anti-Violence Project
The Kansa City Anti-Violence Project is the only domestic violence center that specifically serves the LGBTQ+ community in the greater Kansas City Area. CiCi Glasgow, KCAVP’s outreach and education manager, told The Pitch ahead of last Trans Remembrance Day that LGBTQ+, trans, and indigenous people of color “make up the largest percentage of individuals who seek services from the organization.”
To reach KCAVP’s Crisis Hotline or get more information about its services, call 816-348-3665.
Kansas City Center for Inclusion
The Kansas City Center for Inclusion is KC’s hub for LGBTQIA+ resources. They provide a safe, inclusive community space for education, resources, and activities. According to executive director Samantha Ruggles, roughly 90 percent of its clients are members of the transgender community.
For a full schedule of events, visit inclusivekc.org/schedule. For more information about the center, contact email@example.com.
EQUAL Trans Support Group
The EQUAL Trans Support Group is a Facebook group and monthly social club where “anyone under the transgender umbrella, questioning, or an ally is welcome.”
Join the group here.
Transformations—the transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender expansive group—is the only trans-focused support social group for youth ages 12-18 in Kansas City. Transformations also offer support groups for parent and guardian support. Due to COVID, their twice monthly meetings have been virtual and are free to attend.
To learn more about attending or supporting the group, visit transformationskc.org.
Kelcie McKenney is a writer, editor, and artist who is passionate about feminism. She currently works as Strategy Director at The Pitch , where she writes and edits for Kansas City’s alternative magazine. You can find Kelcie on Instagram with #kcdaddy, where she talks about her three-legged cat Luna, thrift finds, and ways to overthrow the patriarchy.
Emily Park is a Kansas City-based journalist, passionate about giving a voice to those who don’t always have one. From news to features to business-to-business reporting, she’s done it all. (Features are her favorite though.) In her free time you can find Emily playing games, reading, streaming, or hanging out with her furry babies, Sutton the dog and Salem the cat.