“At House of Pentacles, we have a saying that ‘we help each other survive, stunningly’ because we are invested in not only our individual and collective survival, but also our quality of life, and ability to thrive.”

Joie Lou Shakur | House of Pentacles Founder

Skin in the Game


This video was filmed at the first NC Statewide Black Trans Summit 2019. At the BTS, we gathered Black Trans people throughout the state of NC to share their work and thoughts on the state of Black Trans lives in NC. This video is what our folks had to says.

In that same vein, Kanautica Zayre Brown is a Black transwoman being held in a men’s prison in NC. She’s fighting to be transferred to a women’s facility, but instead of keeping her safe, NC Dept of Prisons has chosen to punish Kanautica with delayed access to medications, 26 days in solitary confinement, and a transfer to another men’s prison even farther from her loved ones. It is a safety and health issue for a woman to be held in a men’s facility. Trans people in NC have been under constant attack from this state. From HB2 in 2016, which criminalized our rights to use the bathroom where we feel safest, to the Trump memo last year, which attempted to erase the existence of the millions of trans and gnc folks living in the US.

There are at least 7 other Black transwomen who are being confined in the Harnett County men’s prison here in NC. This is just one of NC’s prisons. On April 1st at 10:30AM, show up for Kanautica outside of Gov. Cooper’s Mansion. When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? We show up. We fight back! #TransferKanauticaNow


Outsider – myuu, http://goo.gl/fsnGiH
memories with you – LAKEY INSPIRED, soundcloud.com/lakey-inspired

Skin in the Game transcript

Trancestors watching, I know they’re watching
[onscreen text: HOUSE OF PENTACLES presents]
Transcestors watching, I know, I know
[onscreen text: a HOUSE OF PENTACLES production]
Trancestors watching, I know they’re watching
[onscreen text: Skin in the Game – TDOV 2019]
Transcestors watching, I know, I know
So this anti-Trans memo
essentially would make it such that
Trump’s Department of Health and Human services
would define sex as male or female, unchangeable,
and something that is dependent upon someone’s genitals at birth.
And so what this would do is essentially —
people think it would erase or dissolve
any protections that exist for Trans people right now, changing that definition.
I’ve been thinking about what that policy entails for some of our major institutions:
including the Department of Justice, which the Civil Rights Administration is located inside of;
for the Department of Health and Human Services;
for the Department of Education.
Those are three institutions that Trans people interact with very frequently.
This memo will definitely shake things up
with my Trans sisters who are like,
“Yo, like, thank god for this estrogen, because I’m not thinking about killing myself every day.”
Or my transmasc siblings who are like,
“I need T so that I actually feel like a whole person.”
So they tried to make it about “biology,” but…
biologically speaking, there are more than two sexes as well.
There’s a complete erasure of Intersex people,
and a repathologization of Intersex people as well.
So it’s not just about Trans people.
From the beginning of the time in the development of this country,
the elite, the 1% have
continuously been looking for ways to further disenfranchise people
and actually create divisions where there would be unity.
This memo is a direct extension of so many of the decisions
that the U.S. nation-state and government makes.
So it’s entrenched in settler colonialism and histories of enslavement…
We know that this is rooted in white supremacy,
we also know that this is rooted in carceral logics and like, just the discipline of bodies…
Patriarchy, capitalism, racism, hierarchy, and caste systems…
Anti-migrant, and -refugee, and -asylum-seeker, and xenophobia.
It relies on all of those systems of oppression in order to try to write people out of existence.
In response to what folks are saying,
which is like, “Trump, you should want to protect Trans people!”
And his administration’s response is,
“I’m protecting everybody.”
That, for me, is like — that feels familiar, right?
Like, as a Black person, right? And definitely as a Black Trans person.
When the memo first came out, I spent a week in mourning,
I feel a lot of mourning.
Because of how easily it is for an executive order, or decision
to have the power to decide who lives and dies.
I fear that I will lose more siblings.
The younger generation that is coming into like this very like,
gender-bending, genderless, like gender-autonomous world,
that those lights will be effectively extinguished.
It works to instill fear,
to embolden, as so much of the Trump administration has,
people who don’t… who refuse to learn what it means to be Trans,
and refuse to unlearn cissexism and heterosexism in the process,
and therefore react violently, right?
The memo actually made it… I feel like it…
gave people a lot of vigor, and some, a lot of gust
to be able to like, outwardly say,
“Hey, your Transness, your identity actually isn’t real.”
Even if they don’t agree with the president.
And we should take it serious,
but we shouldn’t be confused
by the fact that governmental institutions have always already
been trying to define gender for us
[echoing] trying to define gender for us, trying to define gender for us…
And, I think that we’re in a good place to like, be turning up on that and resisting that,
and I think that Black Trans folx in the South are doing that.
There’s so much incredible, inspiring, radical, revolutionary
Black Trans organizing and activism that’s going on right now,
and it has to be supported.
You can support this by showing up,
you can support this by giving financial donations, giving direct cash.
The point is, we need resources to create our art, to get our messages out there,
so that we can be seen, that our voices can have a platform.
People forget about the daily ways folks need people to show up,
which goes down to basic things, like
housing support, medical support, economic support,
cooking meals for people who are struggling, giving rides…
Regardless of what’s going on on a legislative front.
I think we need Black Trans autonomous spaces.
Spaces to come together and decide, like,
hey, how do we wanna hold one another?
Are we being held? Like…
Where can we discuss that, if not in our autonomous space?
What we would need from the movement
is to also stop deflating Queer and Trans identity into one lump ball —
because they’re not unanimously the same thing.
It looks like advocating for testosterone and estrogen,
in the same ways that we advocate for birth control, and other reproductive health measures.
Black Trans folx need people with skin in the game,
to quote organizer Serena Sebring.
Not folks who talk about being allies,
not folks who wanna talk about having Black Trans friends,
or a pat on the back, or saying that you love us, and support us.
Like, that’s not enough.
Black Trans folx need people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us, to go to bat with us,
to support every area of our lives, all the time.
And nothing less.
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URL: houseofpentacles.com,
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Twitter: @hausofpentacles]

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