‘We’re still here’: Activist-artist Mila Jam on the importance of Transgender Day of Remembrance

There is a pure connection between artwork and activism. Someone who is aware of that in and out is Mila Jam, a transgender singer, songwriter and efficiency artist who makes use of her work to make noise and ignite change.

“I love pop culture and I love mixed mediums, I love art, I love to combine the two visually and sonically,” she tells Yahoo Life. “If I can mesh the two together, that’s what happens. That’s sort of how my campaign ‘Stop killing us’ came about.”

The 2019 marketing campaign concerned a music video for her music “Masquerade,” the place Jam stripped down and painted the phrases “Stop Killing Us” on her physique. This summer time, when protesters took to the streets to march towards police brutality, Jam introduced these phrases again.

“It has been a trans liberation, it has been a Black Lives Matter movement. We have been out here in the streets, marching for our lives because we only have one life to live and not everyone is experiencing what it’s like to be marginalized, to be Black, to be trans,” says Jam.

Mila Jam poses at the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives & Against Police Brutality on June 28, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by: Getty)

To lift up those voices and acknowledge those who have been lost, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Started in 1999, the day honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

“We need to be remembered for the lives that we strive to achieve and to live, because a lot of the people that are not able to be here to speak for themselves, they just wanted to exist in peace and harmony,” says Jam.

The fight for equality and safety continues. According to GLAAD, 36 trans and gender non-conforming people have been killed, so far, in incidents of anti-transgender violence in 2020. “Most of the victims have been Black trans ladies or ladies of shade who have been beloved members of the family, mates, and valued members of their communities, however their lives weren’t protected by a tradition that continues to focus on and villainize trans individuals,” mentioned GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, in an announcement.

Activists and advocates are working tirelessly to lift consciousness and alter legal guidelines to higher defend the trans neighborhood, however change is gradual. Still, there are some milestones that Mila Jam believes are essential to have fun.

“There are so many visible Black trans women on TV that are in music that are in the world of media and speaking out and being open,” says Jam. “You know, we are very passionate, very loved and very uplifted women.”

That ardour caught the consideration of Out Leadership, a worldwide LGBTQ enterprise community that helps out leaders and organizations. Jam was recruited to be its Senior Advisor of Global Trans Initiatives, with a spotlight on creating content material.

“I always love to say we’re bridging the gap between brands and sponsors and companies and corporations to make space for our voices,” says Jam.

Taking a seat at the desk and lifting up voices in the trans neighborhood is private for Mila Jam, however she she realizes that the combat for equality is a lot greater than her.

“I’ve been talking to trans elders that are 70 and 80 plus, that is something that I never even thought about — to be an elder where you’re still telling your story of times where there was no conversation at all,” says Jam.

“There’s joy in being able to have that conversation with trans elders and to be able to just share these moments.”

Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove

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Singer Mila Jam on embracing her identity through a genderless shopping experience

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