Miss Major has had a major impact on the trans community. Recently, I watched the 2015 documentary “Major!,” which uncovers the influential life and crucial work that Black trans activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy has been doing practically her whole life.
As a brown gender non-conforming youth who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community — watching this film inspired me as well as reminded me of the fact that a lot of the work in the community that is being done is on the backs of our trans women of color and it's going unnoticed. As is shown in the film, Miss Major’s life is about being a caring community leader, unapologetic in her identity and most importantly fiercely defending trans women of color.
Various speakers presented in the film are testaments to Miss Major's steadfast support and genuine kindness. She's described as a mother, father, friend and lover to many of the people she has encountered in her lifetime.
Like Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major was present in the thick of it during the Stonewall riots. She has also been active in the struggle for the civil rights of trans women for over 40 years. In 2015, she retired from her executive director position for the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), an organization that strives to work in "collaboration with others to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to strengthen us for the fight against human rights abuses, imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty and societal pressures. We seek to create a world rooted in self-determination, freedom of expression and gender justice."
As difficult as it is to be who she is and do what she does, being an activist isn't a job nor a glorified title for Miss Major. Caring about those most marginalized is her purpose, and her life hasn't always been associated with the recent positive attention and recognition it's gotten.
Miss Major lives out and walks through what it means to live as a Black trans woman in society. She's faced abuse from the prison system and a patriarchal society, yet her fire doesn't give in. "When you’re doing this out of care and concern, you really don’t think about it as activism or a movement. You think of it as—for me—protecting my girls," Miss Major said in an interview with Raquel Willis for an online community platform.
In the award-winning documentary, Miss Major and her community reveal that caring for people can be just as revolutionary in the mission for equality.
This is the opinion of Robyn De Leon, a sophomore journalism major from Thousand Oaks, CA. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to email@example.com.