Honoring Trans Lives, Dreaming of Trans Freedom


Trans Day of Resilience is an offering to trans people of color everywhere. Artists and poets have come together to imagine our uncompromised freedom and seed our future world. We invite you to imagine, feel into and build this world with us.

Trans communities of color face epidemic levels of discrimination and violence, and this violence overwhelmingly targets Black trans women and femmes. November 20 marks Trans Day of Remembrance, an annual memorial for our murdered kin. While we mourn, we also honor the resilience of our trans family.

We know our power — our dreams of freedom could set the whole world free. So we offer this space, by and for trans people of color, to see ourselves, celebrate one another, nurture resistance and femifest a world of trans liberation. Dream with us.

Founded with the Audre Lorde Project in 2014, the Trans Day of Resilience art project is an annual culture shift campaign led by Forward Together. Its current name and spirit emerged from a 2015 call from New Orleans trans justice organization BreakOUT! to celebrate the power of our trans family.

Forward Together transforms culture and policy to work for all of us nationwide. We build courage and foster connection among our multiracial community of changemakers to secure the rights, recognition and resources all people need to thrive.


Féi Hernandez

féi hernandez is a Mexican trans non-binary immigrant spiritual healer, writer, actor, visual artist and graphic designer. They grew up undocumented in Inglewood, California and has continued community work through their writing and art. féi’s writing has been featured in NPR, Immigrant Review, Non Binary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT, Good Mood, Live Wire, and Hayden’s Ferry Issue 64. Their art work has been exhibit at Galería de La Raza, is featured in the Latino Book Review 2019, and is currently working on a digital collection of artwork for exhibit. They are currently the Art Director of Palms Up Academy and Lorenzana Services Inc. and teach Crafting Eternity, a writing class for developing writers in Los Angeles. féi has a forthcoming full-length poetry collection published through Sundress Publications on the intersections of race, identity, gender, the hood, immigration, and sexuality.
@fei.hernandez | feihernandez.com

Glori Tuitt

Glori Tuitt is a New York City based painter/illustrator and Black woman of trans experience. A graduate from Purchase College with a B.F.A in Painting+Drawing, her work explores the intersections of race, religion and pop culture in relation to the identifying of self. Mining the collective history of queer representation, she sees herself as intermediary and visual translator assembling new hybrid archetypes and narratives, ultimately seeking to both humanize and deify trans existence.


Kah Yangni is a screenprinter, illustrator, and muralist living in Philadelphia. They love fluorescent color, hair dye, and the smell of offset ink. They also love using art to create a healthier and more awesome world — and use their skills to support organizations active in that work..
@kahyangni | kahyangni.com

Malachi Lily

Malachi Lily is a Philly-based, shapeshifting, genderfluid, black poet, artist, curator, and moth. They connect to the collective unconscious via energy work, Active Imagination, mysticism, myth, magick, folklore, and fairy tales. This channeling often takes the form of poetry, illustration, curation, and the aesthetic arts. Malachi is a liminal being of race, gender, artistic practice, and existence reclaiming the spiritual body of black and brown people. Their work offers methods to break these individual barriers and reveals the symbols, archetypes, emotions, and lessons that exist in everyone as a collective consciousness to support in transformation and the remembrance of who we are.
@theholyhawkmoth | maggielily.com

Shea Coco

Shea Coco is a non-binary Chicanx artist. They were born and raised in Southern California. Their main focus is in Graphic Design and Illustration. Through the years they have made many different pieces and promotional art for different organizations and events. They also run and own an art magazine that helps to promote POC artists from the barrios around the world. As a hobby, they are also an avid collector of Vinyl records. From time to time, they have DJ’d many events for LGBTQ folks in the L.A. area.


Benji Hart

Benji Hart is an author, artist, and educator from Amherst, MA, living in Chicago. The writer behind the blog Radical Faggot, their commentary has been published at Teen Vogue, Them, The Advocate, and others. Their solo performance piece Dancer As Insurgent, which explores voguing as a practice of Black queer resistance, was featured at CA2M (Madrid), and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago). Their current project, World After This One, examining the myriad ways Black art forms rely on the materials of the present to construct liberated futures, premiered at BRIC (New York), and is still in progress. They have held residencies with the Rauschenberg Foundation, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the Amsterdam University of the Arts, and are the recipient of the 3Arts Award in the Teaching Arts.
@radfagg | benjihart.com

Mia S. Willis

Mia S. Willis is a Black performance poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work has been featured by or is forthcoming in Under the Belly of the Beast (Dissonance Press), FreezeRay, Curating Alexandria, WORDPEACE, Peculiar, Foothill, Button Poetry, and Slamfind. Mia’s poem “hecatomb.” won the 2018 Foothill Editors’ Prize, earning nominations for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets. In 2019, Mia has been named the first two-time Capturing Fire Slam Champion, a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, the Young Artist Fellow at Chashama’s ChaNorth residency, and a performing artist on RADAR Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 Tour. Their debut poetry collection, monster house., was the 2018 winner of the Cave Canem Foundation’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and is available with Jai-Alai Books.

SA Smythe

SA Smythe is a Black trans nonbinary writer currently living on Tongva land, constantly scheming up new ways to get free. They are a professor of Black European studies and Black trans poetics at UCLA. As a translator, editor, and performance collaborator, SA has worked with/in six languages and organized in Black queer feminist & trans abolitionist writing collectives across various geographies. They are currently completing a book about Black belonging, Black diaspora and Italian postcolonial literature called Where Blackness Meets the Sea: On Crisis, Culture, and the Black Mediterranean as well as their first full poetry collection, after hiraeth, titled proclivity, which is about a familial history of Black migration (between Britain, Costa Rica, and Jamaica), trans nonbinary embodiment, and emancipation.
@essaysmythe | essaysmythe.com

Vita E.

Originally from Cleveland, OH, Vita E. has been surrounded by the power of art since childhood. From then on, they made a pledge that they would use the art that inspired them to influence thought, change, and freedom to exist without apology. This pledge would lead to her life as a percussionist, educator, poet, vocalist, and activist.

Vita’s passion as a Black Trans Femme artist has led to many milestones. She’s recently finished a summer-long role as percussionist, mentor, and vocalist for the Creede Repertory Theatre and drummer for the full-stage debut of the hip-hop musical Once Upon a Rhyme. Their response track to Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout” was included in Source Magazine’s “10 Songs Soundtracking the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.”

xoài phạm

xoài phạm is a Vietnamese trans person who has a complicated relationship with womanhood. She comes from a long legacy of warriors, healers, fishers, and swimmers. Her family arrived in California as refugees after the U.S. destroyed Southeast Asian land and communities. She is a writer, thinker, and collaborative educator on issues of gender, imperialism, sex work, and intimacy. Above all, she enjoys eating fruits on the beach with her loved ones.

Poetry Chapbook

We Have Never Asked Permission To Sing: Poetry Celebrating Trans Resilience

We Have Never Asked Permission to Sing

Poetry celebrating trans resilience

Trans people of color deserve a world of safety, support and love. We Have Never Asked Permission to Sing, our TDOR poetry chapbook, features ten poems imagining this world. It features the work of Benji Hart, jayy dodd, kiki nicole, Mia S. Willis, Niko Shahbazian, SA Smythe, Vita E and xoài pham.

Download this free chapbook, share it with your community and dream with us!

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TERMS OF USE: This art is free and available for you to use to spread a message of social justice. We welcome you to reproduce it and share it in your community. Please do not alter the image in any way and or offer these images for sale. Do not use or reprint the image in a publication or for commercial or institutional purposes without the permission of Forward Together. If you share the art on social media please tag Forward Together (@fwdtogether on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


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