Written by Sybastian Smith (he/him), National Organizer for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

When I think of ‘#BlackTransJoy’, I instantly think of the many places I have had the honor to share space with other BIPOC (Black people, Indigenous people and People of Color) transgender and non-binary people. It is so rare to meet people who share some of the same lived experiences as I do and be able to have open, honest and healing dialogue about those experiences.

Prior to the pandemic, every year for the past five years I have attended the Black Trans Advocacy Conference (BTAC). This conference, BTAC, is the largest convening of Black and Brown transgender and non-binary people in the country. Not only does the conference serve the purpose of educating, providing resources and servicing the community, but it also provides a safe place for Black trans/nb (nonbinary) people to receive the love, acceptance and affirmation that we so desperately need. The intentionality the organizers use when planning the conference is undeniable. They have created spaces for all of the diverse parts of the BIPOC trans/nb community by designing programs for not only trans men and trans women, but also for non-binary people; as well as our trans elders.

As a Black trans man, it brings me so much joy and is so important that I share space with other Black trans/nb people; particularly Black trans men who share similar experiences as I do.

Those experiences are not just with medical transition, but also with social transition and navigating the world as a Black person. BTAC provides that space and connection to people who look like me.

I am honored to not only share with them during the hard times, but also the times of pure joy and happiness as we all successfully navigate our transitions. I am affirming that successful transition looks different for us all, but safe spaces Like BTAC help to set the standard of how to meet people where they are. Seeing the happiness and smiling faces of my brothers/siblings at this conference is truly the definition of #BlackTransJoy!

Join us for #BTAC2022 April 26, 2022 — May 1, 2022

We’re the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people. Also at https://transequality.org.