At OprahMag.com, we encourage our readers to authentically be themselves. So we’re commemorating Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots withLoud and Proud, a selection of voices and stories that highlight the beauty—and ongoing struggles—of the LGBTQ community. Here, Angelica Ross—who stars as Candy in FX's award-winning dramedy Pose—writes about standing up for the LGBTQ community.
We are halfway through 2019, and no matter how you identify, America certainly doesn’t feel like the land of the free. As a Black trans woman over 35, statistics show that something or someone is trying to end my life every single day. In 2018, at least 26 transgender people were reported dead, and the number of Black trans women who have faced violence in 2019 is soaring, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Though I now experience the privileges that come with being a successful actor on television, I am still Black, I am still a woman, and I am still trans. Any of those identifiers alone puts me in imminent danger—and when added together, they make for a life where challenge knows no end.
I understand my responsibility to not just speak truth to power, but to also live life more abundantly in the face of unyielding oppression and violence. I feel an urgency to organize my thoughts, to pursue my mission, which is to free more people—until we are all free.
And yet, all of the oppression I’ve personally experienced pales in comparison to what some of my trans brothers and sisters endure, many of whom live at the intersection of various identities. They’re trans and hearing or visually impaired; trans and coping with mental health challenges; trans and living with HIV/AIDS; trans with a history of incarceration; trans and in the U.S. as immigrants, seeking asylum from violence and transphobia in other countries—a group of people now subjected to violence from ICE, which keeps many in dangerous, life-threatening custody.