Plans for permanent tribute to Black trans heroes at historic Stonewall Inn are being thwarted by officials


Game of Thrones actor Nathalie Emmanuel at a Black Trans Lives Matter march in London, June 2020. (Hollie Adams/Getty)

New York City officials have been accused of ignoring a proposal for a Black Trans Lives Matter mural outside the historic Stonewall Inn.

The mural, which would depict trans and rainbow flags, was proposed by the non-profit Black Trans Nation and backed by out gay state senator Brad Hoylman and state assembly members Dan Quart and Catalina Cruz.

In January, the politicians wrote to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) borough commissioner, Ed Pincar, describing the mural as a tool to recognise the trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary community.

“Though their contributions have often been erased, transgender women of colour played a pivotal role in the Stonewall rebellion and the advancement of LGBTQ rights,” they wrote.

“Despite the strides made, TGNC individuals remain at the margins facing down stigmatisation, discrimination, and violence.”

Months later, DOT officials have yet to respond.

According to Black Trans Nation it’s not the first time the DOT has blocked the mural: last year they also refused to green light the project for reasons that were not made clear.

“They don’t support our humanity,” the group’s founder TS Candii told Gay City News. “They hear us, they see us, but they are doing nothing for us. They are just sitting on their hands.”

The group has already raised $5,000 to fund the mural, and hundreds of community members have pledged their support. TS Candii believes the project’s delay reflects a much broader dismissal of transgender New Yorkers.

“Mentally, it’s draining,” she said. “Black Lives Matter had not only one mural; they had two, three all around the city, and we’re fighting for this one? Black trans lives matter, and to them, our lives don’t matter.”

Kurt Kelly and Stacy Lentz, the owners of Stonewall Inn, have given their blessing to the project.

“We aren’t aware of the exact plans of the mural, but we completely support anything that brings awareness to the struggles of the Black trans community,” they said in a statement to Gay City News.

“They are the most marginalised and forgotten members of the LGBTQ community and deserve to be supported and celebrated.”

PinkNews has reached out to the New York City DOT for comment.

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