The Tea Vol. 20 Trans-Visibility

Greetings, beloved community! On this Trans Day of Visibility, we unite in envisioning the world we’re striving for—one that embraces, safeguards, and exalts the existence of Black trans, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals with boundless love and affirmation. The journey of recent years has been marked by the powerful essence of “Black Transcendence” (shout out to Jay-Marie Hill), the pursuit of queer liberation, a profound self-care movement, an unprecedented surge in visibility for Black trans, gender-nonconforming, intersex, and queer (TGNCIQ) folks, the recognition of Black trans movement pioneers, and a revolutionary wave of creativity.

Amidst this vibrant tapestry, we also confront a stark reality that is rampant with appalling violence against Black TGNCIQ folks. The dissemination of anti-trans rhetoric; disinvestment in the health and well-being of Black trans communities; instances of police violence targeting Black TGNCIQ folks, cis women, and girls; and an overwhelming onslaught of anti-trans legislative measures are devastating to experience. Yet, in the face of opposing forces attempting to dim our light and lives, let us stand unwavering, united in our commitment to uplift, protect, and celebrate the entirety of our Black community.

If you weren’t locked into our socials this past week, check out our campaign celebrating this year’s Trans Week of Visibility and Action!

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In this issue: We celebrate the life and legacy of Black trans icon and music luminary Jackie Shane; share a conversation with an M4BL ecosystem member about why they feel gender abolition is the key to our liberation; share a video series featuring some of our Black TGNCIQ ecosystem members and leaders; and share our favorite reads and tunes for the month in our “What We’re Vibin’ To” section! Thanks for reading!
Celebrating Jackie Shane Accordion Header

Jackie Shane, a luminary in the realm of Black trans musicians, led a complex and inspirational life marked by multiple transformations, unabashed self-expression, and unwavering resilience.

Amidst adversity, Jackie faced harrowing experiences, including police harassment. Jackie was also sabotaged in her career and eventually vanished from public view for over four decades, leading many to believe she had passed away. Then, in a remarkable turn of events, Jackie staged a triumphant return in her seventies, defying the odds and reclaiming her rightful place in the spotlight. She resurfaced, secured a record deal, and garnered a nomination for Best Historical Album at the Grammy Awards for her acclaimed work, Any Other Way.

Jackie Shane between sets in Canada in 1967. Photo: Jeff Goode/Toronto Star

Despite harassment, violence, and discriminatory laws, Jackie pursued artistic expression and personal freedom. Through her indomitable spirit and raw talent, she transcended the confines of gender and genre, leaving an indelible imprint on the soul and R&B landscape. Jackie’s onstage presence and soul-stirring performances captivated audiences and defied conventional expectations.

She eventually left the spotlight after disputes with Frank Motely, a regular collaborator, who sabotaged her career because he felt he was entitled to her success. Jackie lived a quiet, private life with family for four decades, leaving her music career behind. Despite the ebb and flow of fame, fortune, and freedom, Jackie’s legacy is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and authenticity. Her triumphant return to the spotlight in her seventies, culminating in a Grammy-nominated box set, immortalized her contributions to music history and affirmed her status as an icon for generations. She died in her home the same year after receiving the Grammy nomination at 78.

Jackie Shane between sets in Canada in 1967 Photo: Jeff Goode/Toronto Star

Jackie Shane’s life and legacy are a beacon of hope and inspiration for Black queer and trans communities, serving as a reminder that authenticity is not only possible but imperative in the pursuit of liberation and self-actualization. She reminds us to settle for nothing less than living our truth unapologetically and authentically in a world fraught with adversity, not to mention prioritizing rest and rejuvenation.

Jackie Shane “Any Other Way” (official audio); Source: YouTube

According to Billboard, “a new documentary telling the story of Jackie Shane, a trailblazing trans soul singer, (premiered at South By Southwest on March 9th). Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story is executive produced by actor Elliot Page and explores Shane’s life and career, from her popularity in 1960s Toronto to her re-emergence in the 2010s. Co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the documentary chronicles Shane’s legacy as an icon of Canadian music and queer history.” 

Sources: Elliot Page-Produced Jackie Shane Documentary To Premiere at SXSW; Jackie Shane: A Force of Nature,No Other Way: The Story of Jackie Shane; As a Trans Singer in the ‘50s, Jackie Shane Changed R&B Forever


A storytelling series featuring M4BL’s TGNCIQ ecosystem members and leaders 

As we work daily toward a future in which Black folks worldwide are liberated,  we must remember that we won’t fulfill our freedom dreams if we don’t center our Black TGNCI siblings. By approaching our work from a Black queer feminist lens, we are attuned to the needs and leadership of our most vulnerable and, often, most influential communities. Black queer and trans stories are integral to this movement, and in sharing more of them, we’re better equipped to connect through the shared experiences of being Black and human as we build the world we deserve together.

We are considering new ways of documenting and sharing these stories, and we have more to announce soon! In the meantime, check out our short series, Speak Up, a video storytelling series featuring M4BL’s TGNCIQ ecosystem members and leaders. To hold ourselves accountable and capture the full breadth of our movements, we are continuously questioning and revamping our approaches to “the work” and considering questions like: What allows for Black queer and trans people to feel held, seen, and integral to our Movement for Black Lives? How can we authentically capture and celebrate the stories of ourselves/our queer and trans siblings? What does the future of Black queer and trans leadership look like?

In these videos, we will be highlighting interviews with our members and shining the light on M4BL queer and trans leadership.

Thank you to all our members within the TGNCIQ communities who shared their stories, ideas, and visions with us. Watch below:

Still A Long Way To Go – M4BL; Source: YouTube
A Queer and Trans political Home – M4BL; Source: YouTube
Why Gendering Abolition Will Get Us to Freedom

1. Tell us about yourself and your work. How is this work connected to the Black liberation movement?

I am Mason-Sera Vincent, your residential Gendering Abolitionist! At my core, I am a Black queer feminist and strongly believe in its principles and ideologies—while also acknowledging its shortcomings and challenges in combating and defeating CisHeteroPatriarchy. So, I advocate for what goes deeper than traditional feminist approaches: Gendering Abolitionism. With Black queer feminism as its backbone, Gendering Abolitionism aims to end our ingrained programming to CisHeteroPatriarchy and dissuade our movement from postgenderism.

Photo provided by Mason-Sera

2. Can you define “postgenderism” and “gendering abolitionism” from your perspective?

Postgenderism calls for the erosion of the cultural, psychological, and social roles of gender, believing gender is a pointless and unnecessary limitation on human potential and that removing the “gender binary” and inaccurate inclusivity will free us. Postgenderism primarily reflects the current state of our movement. To some, “postgenderism” may sound like a positive approach, as it seemingly encourages the acceptance of non-cishet people. In actuality, it’s misinformation meant to add confusion and fog, pushing us further away from Black liberation while strengthening CisHeteroPatriarchy’s legitimacy and power—mainly because postgenderism itself is a byproduct of CisHeteroPatriarchy. 

Postgenderism rejects CisHeteroPatriarchy, but challenges that system on that very system’s terms and constitution of things, rather than transcending to a higher consciousness that can see above it. You must have a higher level of consciousness than the consciousness that caused the problem in the first place. Gendering Abolitionism is devoted to that higher consciousness, to understanding the operations of Gendering Systems, including CisHeteroPatriarchy. Gendering persists through the active and continual categorization based on titles encompassing more than gender (even when it shouldn’t). Abolitionism aims to dismantle harmful Gendering Systems to create new systems aligned with our vision and values.

3. Why do you feel Gendering Abolition will get us to freedom? What do you have to say to folks who believe otherwise?

To use analogies, CisHeteroPatriarchy is like perceiving humanity on the scale of Black and white folks.

Postgenderism perceives humanity in full shades of gray; you technically see more colors, but all colors perceived are from the base colors of black and white. Gendering Abolitionism is perceiving the true gradients of our humanity in all its perceivable colors and shades. 

Gendering Abolitionism provides a centralized and standardized understanding to unify all Black people globally. It will help us disconnect our survival instinct to CisHeteroPatriarchy while also allowing us to enter a new Gendering System in which Black people can exist, adequately restoring the balance between hypersonalization and interpersonal relations. 

Now, to the folks who believe otherwise, I’ll be clear: Postgenderism has misled you into thinking that humans can live without a Gendering System or, worse, that Black liberation and CisHeteroPatriarchy in any form can somehow coexist simultaneously. But neither of these proposals mentioned above will work. Suppose we don’t create a Gendering System to adopt ourselves into. In that case, any change we create will have no sustaining power behind it, with Black lives being sacrificed to ultimately receive a “benevolent dictatorship” form of the Gendering System already in place.  

4. How can folks stay connected to you and your work?

I am launching the K.O.F.A (Knowing Our Freedom’s Attainable) Learning Project, where people can learn more about Gendering Abolitionism and the mechanics of Gendering Systems through healing-centered engagement and multi-modal learning styles, and discover how we can adopt a new Gendering System made for our people. If you’re interested, please contact me at

Mason-Sera is a sapphic genderless female born and raised in North Miami Beach, Florida. A child of Haitian immigrant parents, Mason-Sera learned early as a hyphenated American about the horrors of colonization and CisHeteroPatriarchy and the ever-present violence it imposes on their people to this very day. Since joining the Black liberation movement in 2017, Mason-Sera has experience in conflict mediation and resolution, survivor-focused healing practices, trauma-informed crisis management, and national public speaking. In 2021, Mason-Sera obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration on Writing and Rhetoric, with honors. Mason-Sera is a current Kitchen Table Fellow on the M4BL Abolishing Patriarchy Table and a Healing Organizer for IamNegrx.

What We're Vibin' To

In each issue of The Tea, we feature our favorite reads, music, and things we love to watch from the Black LGBTQIA+ community! Here are our TDOV-inspired picks for this month: 

“In 2017, Raquel Willis took to the National Women’s March podium just after the presidential election of Donald Trump, primed to tell her story as a young Black transgender woman from the South. Despite having her speaking time cut short, the appearance only deepened her commitment to speaking up for communities on the margins.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, to Black Catholic parents, Raquel spent years feeling isolated, even within a loving, close-knit family. There was little access to understanding what it meant to be queer and transgender. It wasn’t until she went to the University of Georgia that she found the LGBTQ+ community, fell in love, and explored her gender for the first time. But the unexpected death of her father forced her to examine her relationship with herself and those she loved. These years of grief, misunderstanding, and hard-won epiphanies seeped into the soil of her life, serving as fertilizer for growth and allowing her to bloom within.

Upon graduation, Raquel entered a career in journalism with the backdrop of the burgeoning Movement for Black Lives, intersectional feminism going mainstream, and unprecedented visibility of the trans community. After hiding her identity as a newspaper reporter, her increasing awareness of the epidemic of violence plaguing trans women of color and the heightened suicide of trans teens inspired her to come out publicly. Within just a few short years of community organizing in Atlanta, Oakland, and New York, Raquel emerged as one of the most formidable Black trans activists in history.

In The Risk It Takes to Bloom, Raquel Willis recounts with passion and candor her experiences straddling the Obama and Trump eras, the possibility of transformation after the tragedy, and how complex moments can push us all to take necessary risks and bloom toward collective liberation.”

The Risk It Takes to Bloom is available now.

“With her platform (as a Pop-icon and YouTube Sensation), Mila Jam, a Black trans woman herself, is using her voice to empower those who are still here to take action against ongoing issues (facing Black trans folks). In doing so, she also commemorates the fact that Black trans women deserve to love and to be loved, and have the right to live.” —Paper magazine

Thank You!

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