This month to #ReclaimPride
I am writing love letters to queer and trans artists and activists of color in my life who have made me the person I am. Next up is my dear friend @pivonari
! Nari is a Kazakh trans femme activist based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The minute I met Nari it was like we had known each other for years. We started joking &!gossiping and intermittently talking about politics and anti-trans violence. For Nari gravity & levity are harmonious. I took this photo of her a few days after we met when we are doing a "self care" date together. We went and got our nails done, went out for lunch, got a massage -- and all the while we shared stories about our lives and our dreams and our loves. Nari is a fierce warrior for trans femme people, and especially sex workers. She doesn't call what she does activism, she just does it cause she knows she's right. Her home is always a safe space for trans femmes to share knowledge & safely tips & recover. I learned so much from her commitment to joy (let's party!) and care -- she practiced a type of care that felt stronger than family. She made every effort to make sure that I was safe, to host me, to do my makeup, to dance. There were so many conversations we had that felt soul affirming. Like that time I talked about being non binary and she was like "Yeah I'm not a woman either, I am TRANS!" or that time she said "These cis people, these feminists -- they don't care about us. They don't care when we are raped, beaten, killed, sent to jail. All we have is each other. We have to do this for ourselves." The situation for trans femmes of color in Central Asia is bleak -- many face extreme violence, poverty, police brutality, and criminalization. Many struggle to find employment, community, and safety. My trip there made me recognize the extents that post-soviet and post-colonial Russian empire spaces are disappeared from our global conversations of LGBTQ rights. As always, it is under resourced trans femmes of color like Nari doing the bulk of the work who never get the recognition they deserve. Thank you for all you do Nari! I am so proud of you and I miss you so much! Can't wait to party again soon!