Tag Archives: protect trans lives

Center the Most Marginalized: Protect Black Trans Lives Embroidery

Center Black Trans Sex Workers embroidery by Suzanne Forbes June 15 2020I wanted to do an embroidered work that was an homage to the Pride flag redesign by Daniel Quasar.

The redesigned flag, called the inclusive flag, was created in 2018. It has black and brown stripes, like the Philadelphia Pride flag, as well as the colors of the trans flag.

Center Black Trans Sex Workers embroidery by Suzanne Forbes June 15 2020 sideI love the design because it shows the responsibility of the “rainbow” queer community to embrace and protect its most vulnerable members.

Black leadership tells us to center the most marginalized. We must put the most vulnerable members of our community at the center. For my circular version of the inclusive flag I added the red umbrella of support for and solidarity with sex workers, because for many black and brown trans people, sex work is the only employment that doesn’t bar them. I also included the lavender of the Bisexual Pride Flag, because bisexuals suffer a high rate of domestic violence.

I am so happy that community came forth in numbers to support Black trans folx this past weekend. Love and support is essential to protect Black trans men and women and nonbinary people at this time when critical medical anti-discrimination protection has been torn away and violence against Black trans women is devastating.


The Black Lives Matter actions carrd.

Paper article on how to support Black trans people now.

Vice article on orgs you can donate to help Black trans people.

Out Magazine Trans Obituaries Project, honoring Trans Women of Color lost in 2019.


Dandy Wellington Black Apparel Arts Challenge: Black Trans Lives Matter!

Dandy Wellington Black Apparel Arts challenge by Suzanne Forbes June 8 2020I first saw the work of Dandy Wellington, a vintage apparel icon and bandleader, through the Amplify Melanated Voices Challenge.

The challenge was created by Jessica Wilson MS. RD and Alishia McCullough aka BlackandEmbodied to encourage white voices to shut up about themselves and reflect on ideas like The Seven Circles of Whiteness, while working to amplify Black voices.

White costume and reenactment women I follow posted about the Black members of their community, and I saw the Insta feed of Mr. Wellington, among many others! I have been stanning #CosplayingwhileBlack for a long time, but there are lot of Black Cosplayers I didn’t know about. I am now a Patron of Cheyenne Jaz Wise who is so great and a huge Starfire fan! This is actually my favorite casual Starfire cosplay EVER.

And I am a total fan of vintage powerhouse Dandy Wellington!

Mr. Wellington’s challenge to artists is to create art that resembles vintage fashion illustrations and ads, but with #VintageStyleNOTVintageValues!! He wrote,

When I first started getting into vintage and classic menswear, I looked to two major resources for inspiration: photographs and apparel arts illustrations. Both mediums were rewarding but apparel arts was shockingly lacking in diversity. Sure there was a porter or maid but they weren’t the subject of the piece. So I’m challenging all the artist out there to create #BlackApparelArts illustrations. Representation matters and your work could inspire some budding historical fashion lover or cosplayer to see their style potential.

Dandy Wellington InstagramI was instantly so excited and fired up!

He included Leyendecker in the examples, which just made me wild. I commented and asked if I could draw him with a Black trans woman in vintage attire, and he said “Sure!”. So I made this drawing. The gentleman on the right is inspired by the picture above of Mr. Wellington, taken by Anne Hugus Photography.

Dandy Wellington challenge by Suzanne Forbes June 8 2020 detailBefore I posted the drawing I contacted one of my muses who is Black and nonbinary and asked them if they would do a sensitivity check.

To make sure I hadn’t done anything stupid or created harmful iconography despite my good intentions. I offered to pay them for the check, since doing a sensitivity check exposes the viewer to potential harm. We agreed on a trade for a drawing of them I did two years ago. And the picture went up! I am so grateful for this wonderful challenge. I release all copyright to the drawing, and it may be used and shared freely.

You can find all of Mr. Wellington’s links here.

He has a band he is the bandleader of, a Youtube channel, a Patreon, a shop with CHARMING merch, classes, events and more!

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to stay home and work safely.