UK Black Pride uncovers the dangers of Black trans misinformation
McCann London is highlighting the ongoing struggles of the Black trans community
31 May 2023
Volunteer-led organisation UK Black Pride and McCann London have unveiled '16th Century Life Expectancy', a campaign that hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of misinformation spreading about the Black trans community.
One of the most harmful pieces of misinformation states Black trans women have a life expectancy of just 35. This life expectancy statistic first arose when a report compiled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the average age of trans homicide victims in South America was between 30 and 35. Although a very real and shocking statistic for that specific group, it has since been extrapolated, misappropriated, and shared across social media fuelling a rippling effect of fear for a vulnerable section of society.
According to UK Black Pride, trans people are two and a half times more likely to be victims of violence than cisgender people. As harmful anti-trans rhetoric like “trans people are a new phase”, “trans people are problematic”, “trans people are infiltrating woman's spaces'' intensify, so too do the threats to trans people and those who support them.
McCann London’s creative idea sees five leaders of the Black trans community reimagined as paintings from the 16th Century, which was a period in history where the life expectancy was just 35, with the aim of sparking conversation and debate around misinformation and the harm it can do.
The five individuals featured in the exhibition are: Talulah Eve (the first transgender woman on Britain’s Next Top Model), Amani Cosmo, Ebun Sodipo, Mzz Kimberley, /and Rico Jacob Chace. Their portraits were revealed at an exhibition hosted by world-renowned auction house Christie’s as a part of their ‘Christie's Lates London: Pride’ showcase.
The project seeks to answer how the UK can safeguard the community, citing countries such as Malta which has implemented models of healthcare grounded in self-determination based on informed consent. UK Black Pride is asking allies, through a letter on the 16th Century website, to open discussions with MPs across the UK asking for the rights and safety of trans people to be a priority; and for an urgent review of waiting times for trans-related care which can be up to five years.
Lady Phyll (she/her), Co-Founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride said: “We’re excited to launch this project to showcase just how damaging misinformation can be to the lives of Black and brown queer individuals, specifically the younger generation. Imagine going on a journey to be your authentic self and seeing false information about the life expectancy of those who have had similar journeys. Seeing that compounded with issues with healthcare, safety, housing, jobs and so many other wrongs, makes the path much more tremulous. We’ve also set out to challenge the systems that create these issues and encourage others to do the same. We must always look at every element of the queer experience through the lens of intersectionality, and we’re proud to work alongside such advocates and defenders of our Black trans community.”
Dr Kamilla Kamaruddin (she/her), GP in Transgender Healthcare & Clinical Lead, East of England Gender Service said: “I would like to highlight the significant challenges faced by trans people of colour in accessing gender affirming care in the United Kingdom. As a Gender Service specialist, I join my community in advocating for change and equal opportunities. Trans people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds encounter barriers that hinder their access to health care. Persistent racial disparities in healthcare perpetuate inequality, preventing trans people of colour from receiving necessary treatments, mental health support, and culturally sensitive care. I would like to call for urgent action to eliminate these disparities.