Two Prominent Trans Activists Have Advice for Teens in Trump’s America

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Buck Angel, Major Griffin Gracy, and Shane Ortega in The Trans List.Photo: © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Courtesy HBO

Adult film star and activist Buck Angel has a message for transgender youth: Don’t be afraid. “They call me Tranpa now, because I am an older trans guy, and all the kids are like ‘Tranpa, Tranpa, what do we do?’ They are scared, and I tell them, relax, you can’t have fear. Fear is how we ended up here,” Angel told the Cut at a recent screening of The Trans List. The new multi-platform project from artist Timothy Greenfield-Sanders highlights activists in the trans community, like Angel, and includes an HBO film, collection of photographs, and a book.

“We have to stop fighting with each other,” Angel said. “We have to stop worrying about who is more trans than the next person. We need to come together in the community and be much more powerful. That’s what I tell the kids. Come together with all of our community. We should be loving and hugging each other right now. There is power in numbers. The more we love each other, the more we respect each other, the harder it will be for them to pull us apart.”

The film The Trans List premieres December 5 on HBO and offers candid interviews with celebrities like Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, Kylar Broadus, who directs the Transgender Civil Rights Project, and youth activists like Nicole Maines, who helped change state laws in Maine so she could use the bathroom. In the past, Greenfield-Sanders has put out similar projects like The Out List, The Black List, and The Woman List.

Janet Mock.Photo: © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Courtesy HBO

“The trans community has been so attacked and discriminated against, and there are still no laws protecting trans people in most states. So as the LGB movement has become mainstream, the T in the LGBT is finally finding its moment,” Greenfield-Sanders said.

Janet Mock, an activist, author, and TV host, encouraged transgender youth to connect with other marginalized groups and create coalitions.

“I think right now, what we need to do is ensure that anyone who is considered other — trans folk, queer folk, people of color, poor folk, disabled people — that they band together and form coalitions in order to fight back against a lot of the things that go on or could possibly go on in this new administration,” Mock said. “If all the people who were considered marginalized banded together, we would be considered the majority. Hopefully, this specific election season has woken us all up to be able to connect in ways that we can enact change. “

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