The brutality has only increased since the Official Family first shirt in other words I will buy this conservative president, Jair Bolsonaro, came into office last year. The Supreme Court’s decision to make gender identity discrimination a criminal offense in 2019 was a sign of progress in Brazil, but there’s still a long way to go when it comes to changing societal attitudes across the board. “That was a great victory and a step in the right direction. However, laws need to be respected and enforced, and which is not necessarily the case in Brazil,” she explains. “Last year alone, we witnessed the brutal killing of 129 transgender people [in Brazil]. Our protection comes from God. Even with the new laws, people don’t widely respect and comply with them, and the authorities aren’t enforcing them either.” The discrimination Brazil’s trans community faces daily, particularly when it comes to employment, is especially disconcerting. “It is rare to see a transgender person have a public-facing ‘official’ job,” explains Sampaio. “Outside of Brazil, I have had the chance to meet trans people working in a great variety of professions. Salespeople in fashion, cashiers in supermarkets, makeup artists, security, and many other careers. It brings me great happiness to arrive somewhere and feel represented.” Sadly, the level of success Sampaio has found abroad has yet to be replicated at home. “I am almost ashamed to say that I have been much more accepted outside of my own country,” she says, noting her in demand status in New York, where she is represented by talent agency, The Lions. “Much is said about us during Pride month by the media in Brazil, but they don’t let us speak for ourselves. They do not allow our voice to be directly heard on their platforms.” To that end, Sampaio hopes to use her platform to amplify voices in her community beyond Pride month. “It is important to reaffirm our existence,” she says. “We have always existed and will continue to exist. Pride honors a pivotal event for our LGBTQA community, The Stonewall Riots, but it is important to honor the community all year round.” Through her work with local organizations she wants to affect systemic change. “The first step is judging less; the next is giving opportunities for employment and support,” she says. “We want respect, and the more people are involved, the stronger we will be; unity is strength.”
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While there’s plenty of work that needs to happen in Brazil, discrimination is a global issue. “We’ve seen the Official Family first shirt in other words I will buy this violence towards the trans community recently in the United States through the Black Trans Lives Matter movement highlighting the recent brutal murders of Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Tony McDade,” says Sampaio. “Black trans people are suffering immensely, as they are disproportionately targeted. This fight is not only within the LGBTQ community, it’s with everyone, and it’s important to advance the trans-rights movement. We’re holding firm and committed to doing everything we can, every day, to create space for a peaceful, dignified existence. We demand respect—the basic right to exist as we are.” More than three weeks ago, Ceyenne Doroshow, founder and executive director of the grassroots organization G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society), spoke to a crowd of 15,000 protestors at the Black Trans Lives Matter rally in Brooklyn. During the last several months, she’s raised more than $1 million toward opening housing and social services centers in New York for the local Black trans community. Some community members were recently released from Rikers Island, a notoriously unlawful, ill-equipped, and unsanitary jail where many trans women are sent for minor sex-crime activity. As of late March, more than 160 inmates and 130 staff members at New York City’s jails, including Rikers, had tested positive for COVID-19. This has been Doroshow’s focus since the global pandemic first ravaged New York, disproportionately hitting the Black community and Black trans community harder than any other. At the rally, Doroshow spoke passionately about the hate and discrimination that her fellow trans community members have always faced. Recounting this struggle brought her to tears before sending out a renewed message of resilience: “We’re fighting, and we’re winning.” Indeed, Doroshow has been fighting her entire life, including experiencing homelessness in New York (a period when she also struggled with substance abuse). Doroshow has been a sex worker and a performer, but beyond every success and every obstacle she’s faced, advocacy for her trans family has always been her core focus. Doroshow has been doing advocacy work for more than 30 years, working with various social-service organizations all over New York. She founded G.L.I.T.S. in 2015 to provide countrywide support to members of the LGBTQ+ community who are struggling with threats of violence, homelessness, unemployment due to discrimination, the criminalization of sex work, and lack of health care.