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Laverne Cox and Molly Crabapple Celebrate the Powerful History of Trans Resistance

The ACLU and TIME have collaborated with actress Laverne Cox, artist Molly Crabapple and musician/artist Kim Boekbinder, and Transparent producer and artist Zackary Drucker to create a moving, galvanizing tribute to the history of transgender resistance.

(The video is available on both the TIME and ACLU YouTube channels, in case one is blocked in your country.)

Cox narrates the history and present reality of trans resistance over a time-lapsed video of Crabapple’s artwork. She covers the seminal 1960s riots and marches at Stonewall, Compton’s Cafeteria, Cooper’s Donuts, The Black Cat, and Deweys Restaurant. She celebrates the activists who’ve paved the way. “Even when they were criminalized by anti-cross dressing and anti-loitering laws,” she narrates, “our transcestors – including Miss Major, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Flawless Sabrina – survived. They all spent time in jail because they dared to be themselves.”

The video then looks at today’s world, where – thanks to the efforts of older LGBTQIA activists – trans people are more visible than ever, but still face enormous obstacles in housing, employment, and surviving.

“Most of us have already spent years in dark places, wrestling with our truth, feeling ashamed of who we are,” Cox narrates. “But when we manage to survive, and even to love ourselves, we are stronger than ever. Try as they might, these lawmakers cannot erase us.”

“Our rights will be hard-won,” she continues, “but we are winning. Our community is resilient, and our history of resistance runs deep. Following in the footsteps of Flawless, Major, Sylvia, Marsha, we fight back the way they did. We take care of each other, we tell our stories, and we demand justice. Join the fight: in courts, in state legislatures, in the streets, in the voting booths. Resistance is our birthright – the gift passed on from our elders. We carry the lessons of Cooper’s, Stonewall, Compton’s, and the many strategies that continue to give us hope, and life.”

“We have always existed, and we will continue to fight, until we are all safe – and free.”

(Via TIME; image via screenshot)

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