Kween Culture Initiative’s mission is to promote the social and cultural empowerment of transgender women of color.
We aim to empower and celebrate the richness of Black and Brown transgender women by fostering community; articulating and building joyful futures for transgender women of color.
To that end, our project aims to create spaces for collective possibility, and create opportunities for transgender women of color to celebrate beauty and joy in everyday moments- while also raising visibility on issues we face to the broader public that maximize our voices and our thought leadership.
About the Founder:
Aria Sa’id is a celebrated transgender advocate and award winning political strategist based in San Francisco. She began the project in the Fall of 2017 to create a framework towards empowering Black transgender women in the Bay Area. Learn more about her work here.
What We’re Up To:
A Celebration of Unsung Sheroes
What would it be like if we had empowerment retreats for and by transgender Black women? What would it be like to also see a place you’ve never been? What does it take for Black Trans Women to Thrive?
These were the guiding thoughts of our first #CultivatingBlackTransJoy Retreat- a healing justice effort that disrupts the popular belief that all Black trans women can be is “marginalized and disenfranchised”.
Kween Culture X Sephora Bold Beauty:
Kween Culture Initiative partners with international luxury cosmetics retailer, Sephora to expand it’s “Classes for Confidence” series created to provide spaces for transgender women of color to learn techniques to boost self-confidence and self-esteem through cosmetics.
Thought Leadership on Social & Cultural Issues:
Kween Culture Initiative prides itself on creating thought provoking conversations on social, political, economic, and cultural issues facing transgender women of color, and in particular Black transgender women. The project prioritizes thought leadership of transgender women who are emerging and connected to grassroots organizing, social justice and more.
State of Emergency: Violence Against Trans Women of Color
November 2018: It was our vision to create a dialogue on the reality and complexity of violence against transgender women of color in the country’s most impacted areas of the USA by featuring Black transgender women thought leaders.
For our session, we featured:
Diamond Stylz is a lifestyle influencer and activist in Houston, Texas. She is one of the premiere voices of the transgender American experience, most notably with her storytelling and inspirational video blog content on the Youtube platform—garnering more than 2.3 million views and a following of more than 10,000 people. In addition, she co-hosts “Marsha’s Plate,” a podcast broadcasting thought leadership on transgender social justice issues. Based in Houston via Indianapolis, she began her activism efforts as a teenager, fighting the Indianapolis Public School District on the First Amendment right to wear her prom dress to her high school prom—and she won. As the first openly trans woman to attend a historically Black college in the deep south, she learned the significance of transgender visibility and how it can transform the mind, tolerance, and acceptance of people. With that in mind, she is dedicated to empowering and educating audiences on the experiences of African American transgender people.
Toni-Michelle Williams is an activist and co-director of Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNAPCO) in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a celebrated community organizer in prison abolition/prison reform issues, and the criminalization of poverty and Black transgender people. In addition, she is regarded for her innovation in framework development for Black transgender feminism and peer-led- community-based leadership development for Black transgender women. In a participatory research process, Williams was instrumental in the release of “The Most Dangerous Thing Out Here Is The Police” report on the experiences of transgender people in regards to Atlanta’s law enforcement, helping shape perspectives for lawmakers and changemakers on this social justice issue. She is best known for her infectious smile, hospitable spirit and dedication to her community.
Honey Mahogany is a San Francisco based gender non conforming activist and activist. She is a co-owner of The Stud, and serves as Legislative Aide to San Francisco District Supervisor Matt Haney.
The session held a live audience of 150 people; and a live online streaming audience of over 700 people. The session was also aired on local television and radio networks across the San Francisco Bay Area including Kron4- CBS, KQED, and public broadcasting channels. The session was also the first Black transgender produced session in the Commonwealth Club of California’s 150 year history.
Transgender Artists & Cultural Workers Discuss: THE PARadox of transgender Visibility
March 2018: Produced by Aria Sa’id and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission as part of Aria’s Kween Culture Initiative, the event featured a panel of three trans women of color: Lexi Adsit, Star Amerasu(who performs as Ah-Mer-Ah-Su), and Nava Mau.
“Getting Off: Post Op Girls Discussion”:
As part of a campaign to address the health inequity of transgender health and medicine, Kween Culture created a peer-led forum for transgender women to discuss their experiences (positive and negative) in navigating gender affirming surgical procedures, navigating medical bureaucracy, and where they felt their morale and lifestyles were post-surgery. The session held 30 transgender women from across the Bay Area, who created a memorable moment where there were tears, laughter, and sisterhood- an opportunity we don’t often get. The series will continue in the Winter 2019 and Spring 2019 in Oakland, California & San Francisco, CA in partnership with Good Vibrations.
#KWEENCULTURE Social Media
The project uses social media to advance the visual experience of local and national thought provoking transgender women of color for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In creating empowering content, it was important to us to expand the voices we tend to see in media (Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Raquel Willis) to feature other voices of incredible transgender women advocates we don’t get to hear from.