Our limited edition collection This Matters was built to fund on the ground organizations in the pursuit of racial justice. Until the end of 2023, 100% of profits will be donated to Lavender Rights Project. A non-profit elevating the power, autonomy, & leadership of the Black intersex & gender diverse community through intersectional & legal service. Led by Black trans women & femmes in Puget Sound & beyond, we're deeply inspired by their advocacy here in the PNW & are honored to support their work.
We asked Angel Patterson, Lavender Rights Project Development and Communications Assoc. to tell us about LRP mission and more...
Tell us about the mission and vision of the Lavender Rights Projects, when and how was LRP founded?
AP: Lavender Rights Project (LRP) elevates the power, autonomy, and leadership of the Black intersex & gender diverse community through intersectional legal and social services. Led by Black trans women and femmes, LRP provides Black gender diverse people in Washington State with client-centered policy advocacy and action rooted in Black trans feminism. We disrupt trans misogynoir through vulnerable conversations with people in positions of power, community organizing that centers the most marginalized, and direct action in the form of BIPOC-led legal services, emergency financial aid, and target litigation when called for.
LRP shows up for the humans you serve in many different ways, from mutual aid, to housing assistance, to legal services for incarcerated folx and so much more. While honoring the privacy and agency of the people you serve, is there a specific impact story/ies you can share with our readers so they can better understand the direct life-changing work Lavender Rights Project does?
AP: Lavender Rights Project, in alignment with other Black trans-led organizations, has personally shifted the conversation around Black liberation to prioritize the needs of the most impacted in our community: namely, Black trans women and femme. Black trans women and femmes are now being included, named, and sought out in both local and national organizing. We believe that this kind of intersectionality is going to be crucial for social justice movements moving forward, especially as anti-Blackness and trans misogynoir become primary political strategies for right-leaning political candidates across the United States. We are particularly proud of the successful diversion of 16 million dollars from King County Jail to support Black-led housing initiatives in the City of Seattle. Through our education and advocacy in collaboration with other community leaders, our team was able to get Seattle and King County to acknowledge and name the most impacted (Black trans women and femmes) by the housing crisis, commit to an alternative to incarceration, and develop a model that can be expanded and replicated. This work is continually ongoing, but it’s a good example of how our grassroots organizing is making a difference in the community.
How can our community support LRP outside of donating money or investing in the This Matters Collection?
AP: The biggest thing our accomplices can do right now for Black trans liberation is share the work! Follow us on social media. Sign up for our newsletter. Talk up a storm about us to everyone you know. The only way that we’re going to end anti-Blackness and trans misogynoir is by allies and accomplices simply showing up and lifting our voices to the front of the line. It seems overly simple, but it's not. That is how we can bring about liberation for all.
Are there milestones and goals you are aiming to achieve in 2022 that you can share with us? What about 2023?
AP: Our work right now is centered on transforming King County into a sanctuary for Black gender diverse people, a county where Black trans women and femmes in particular have all of their needs met, effortless access to housing, and are universally protected from violence. None of that can be achieved overnight, let alone in under a year. So we’ll keep taking the wins where we can until all of us—not just some of us—are free.
Get to know Angel Patterson!!! (wearing the denim jacket)
Name & pronouns: Angel, They/them pronouns
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Development and Communications Associate
What drew you to working with Lavender Rights Project?:
The opportunity to contribute to positive change work in my own community as well as working alongside other Black and Trans leaders!
What has Lavender Rights Project done for your sense of hope, your sense of the world, for your perspective on activism and its impact on healing this very troubled world?:
LRP has reminded me that although this work can be hard and long, there is so much love and light in collective community action.
We try to remind our community that it is ok, in fact a must, to take breaks, to “rest to resist” and to remember we are stronger and more effective in community “commune to combat” do you have any specific advice or recommendations to share about your practice of self-care or community to be most effective in your activism?:
The best recommendation I can give is to incorporate rest into your practice. Whatever rest looks like for you as an individual, schedule that into the work that you are doing to remind yourself of joy and happiness!
We believe it’s critical to share the work of orgs and people we believe in. Is there another social justice organization or effort you recommend our audience look into and also support?
We absolutely recommend that folks look into and support these orgs as well: Trans Women Of Color Solidarity Network, UTOPIA Washington, Queer The Land, SURGE and our sister org in San Franscisco - The Transgender District.