Creating a study logo was something we thought long and hard about. How are you supposed to convey something as complex as lived experience with one image? People say a picture is worth a thousand words, but we beg to differ. And so, our team came up with a logo that reflects some major themes and narratives we have encountered in our research so far. Each symbol used represents many unique stories and people, as well as our journey of listening and learning.
The circle is meant to represent something along the lines of wholeness. People talked to us about wholeness in so many different ways. They talked about how transgender women of color are whole people, just like everyone else. They talked about how health providers need to consider trans people as whole and as more than their problems, as more than their trans identity. They talked about the importance of wholeness and collaboration when trying to bring about social change.
The heart is meant to represent love and acceptance. People talked a lot about trans women of color wanting to shed the stigma society imposes on them. They talked about trans women wanting to feel like they can love who they are, openly and in a real way. Loving and respecting yourself enough to accept or seek help when needed. We talked about relationships that define so much of everybody's everyday experience. Like the relationship between a person and their medical provider and the need for empathy in these interactions. We talked about love within and for the trans community and how to help it grow.
The speech bubble is meant to represent voice. People told us about the importance of creating spaces where trans people can speak for themselves and not be spoken for. Spaces where trans people can say what they want and need to say. Speech and occupying or controlling the conversation can go a long way in terms of trans people gaining visibility, especially trans people of color. Enough said.
Our last symbol is an equal sign. Equality came up a lot during our interviews and focus group discussions. People talked about legal equality. But even more so, people talked about how trans women of color have many of the same health and social needs everyone has. We all want a positive relationship with our medical providers. We all want to be treated respectfully. We all need access to housing. Having a job matters to most people. Feeling safe matters to everyone. No, we cannot equate the experiences of black trans women and white cisgender women, or even white trans women for that matter. Everyone is unique but we DO share in many experiences and needs. As emphasized during the qualitative phase of our research, embracing commonalities and allyship is a big part of acceptance and challenging a social system under which trans women of color are marginalized.