Trans Lifeline’s holiday commissary and bail fundraiser, now in its fourth year and titled Until We’re All Free, began in 2017. When we provide material support for folks who are incarcerated in prison or juvenile detention, they are able to reclaim their dignity and autonomy through access to food, care items, gender-affirming clothing, and phone calls among other necessary items.
Most of the corporations that operate prisons charge exorbitant fees to deposit money in prisoners’ commissary funds, literally profiting from the confinement of human beings. To distribute these funds, we partner with organizations doing direct support to trans folks on the inside in their communities. Over the last four years, the cohort of organizations we have worked with was heavily shaped by our existing professional relationships, as well as our own desires to respond to the flares of violence enacted upon our communities by a ruthless and immoral administration.
In moving towards the vision of trans liberation and a world free of policing, we uplift and support those who are most impacted by the systems of white supremacy. In the U.S. these systems of power and domination can be seen in the widespread incarceration of Black and brown, trans and gender-nonconforming communities. We are intentionally funding the work of organizations and communities who are led by and have always centered Black and brown trans folks—taking care of their own.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this fundraiser feel especially urgent. With limited access to inadequate health care, nonexistent protocols for slowing the spread of the virus, and increased social isolation, our trans siblings on the inside can’t wait any longer for the carceral system to protect them from harm when it is designed to do exactly the contrary.