Dear community and trans march participants:
We want to address how local media KOIN 6 and KGW.com represented the 2016 Trans Pride March. This year’s organizing efforts focused on building relationships with other grassroots community organizations that are striving to meet the cultural and material needs of marginalized communities. In reporting, both KOIN and KGW chose to erase the voices of queer and trans people of color, focusing almost entirely on white participants in the march. KGW also edited out the words of both Trans Unity organizer Lyles McFarland and Candi Brings Plenty / Wakinyan Tuwanpi Iyoyanpa Win, a two spirit Lakota woman and director of the Portland Two Spirit Society, who discussed the enormous burden racism places upon two-spirit people and trans and non-binary people of color.
In the same clip, KGW shows two people of color at the main Pride grounds, and a voiceover states that homophobia and transphobia alienate queer people of color from their families. This statement portrays people of color as transphobic and homophobic, while ignoring the transphobia and homophobia that are rampant in white America.
As white organizers, we will not be complicit with media reporting that perpetuates the racism and marginalization that our friends of color experience every day. We apologize and acknowledge the shortcomings of our media strategy this year. For the future, we are collaborating with our partners in community to determine how to direct media reporting about the trans march and counteract the racism of mainstream media. We are committed to using our privilege and the visibility of the trans march to help uplift the voices and work of people of color in our communities and decenter whiteness. Trans Unity must be for all of us or none of us.
In love and solidarity,
2016 Greater Portland Trans Unity Organizing Committee–
Alex, Athen, Erica, Lyles, and Madeleine