These 9 powerful portraits are more than art. They're acts of resistance.

These colorful, bold portraits aren't just artwork — they're powerful declarations of courage and strength.

The Trans Life & Liberation Art Series is in direct response and opposition to the harassment, violence, and legislative oppression transgender people encounter each day.

Trans visual artists from around the country are paired with trans leaders and organizers active in the equality movement to create colorful, vibrant portraits.


Portrait by Luna Merbruja and Micah Bezant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

The project highlights people within the margins of the already marginalized transgender community, including trans women of color, trans people with disabilities, and incarcerated trans people of color.

Each colorful portrait tells a story and serves as an empowering living tribute.

Sadly, the living piece is all too important.

Transgender people, particularly trans women and femmes of color, are victims of violence and murder at an alarming rate. In 2015, more than 21 trans people were murdered. And there have already been 16 murders in 2016.

A youth activist lights candles at a vigil. Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images.

"It's about documenting our own stories, and creating our own herstories," participant LaSaia Wade said in a promotional video about the project.

Since February 2016, a new portrait has been shared each week on social media.

Here are nine more of these beautiful pieces. See their portraits, read their names and stories, and honor the work of those on the front lines of the movement.

1. Longtime advocate and activist LaSaia Wade hopes to open her own cafe to provide jobs for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Portrait by LaSaia Wade and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

2. Educator and researcher Malcolm Shanks is a lead trainer at Race Forward and studies historical anti-oppression movements to inform their activism.

Portrait by Malcolm Shanks and Edxie Betts, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

3. Native trans and two-spirit elder Rickie Blue-Sky is a tireless advocate and educator despite being incarcerated for the past 33 years in a women's prison.

Portrait by Rickie Blue-Sky and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

4. Micky Bradford is a transfemme organizer and co-founder of Southern Fried Queer Pride.

Her portrait shows her voguing next to the police to protest North Carolina's hateful "bathroom bill."

Portrait by Micky Bradford and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

5. Isa Noyola is a trans Latina activist supporting LGBT immigrants.

"We have for many years waited for people to get it together and develop a language and consciousness around trans communities, and we no longer can wait. We no longer can wait for other people to get it together," Noyola told the Trans Life & Liberation Project.

Portrait by Isa Noyola and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

6. Janetta Johnson is an organizer and facilitator working to decolonize spaces and end violence against the transgender and gender-nonconfirming community.

Portrait by Janetta Johnson and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

7. Kiyan Williams is a performance artist and storyteller. They travel across the country using movement to explore history and identity.

Portrait by Kiyan (Kiki) Williams and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

8. HIV educator and minister Tanesh Watson Nutall splits her time between the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the City of Refuge-United Church of Christ, and her five grandchildren.

Portrait by Tanesh Watson Nutall and Matice Moore used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

9. Ky Peterson defended himself during a vicious attack, and he's been in prison ever since.

When a stranger brutally attacked and sexually assaulted him in 2011, Ky Peterson fired a fatal shot at his attacker.

Though the rape kit showed signs of an attack and Georgia has a "stand your ground" law, Ky was advised to take a plea deal and is serving 20 years in a women's prison. Only in February 2016 did he begin receiving transition-related medical care.

The Trans Life & Liberation Project worked with Ky, his partner, and different social justice organizations to time the release of his portrait with a social media campaign and a petition for his release. Through #Justice4Ky, thousands of new people have heard about his case, and over 4,600 have signed the petition for his release and parole.

Portrait by Ky Peterson and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

As emotional, beautiful, and heart-wrenching as these stories are, they're just the beginning.

"We, especially as young trans people, often feel like we have to go through life alone," artist and participant Noah Jenkins said in the promotional video. "But projects like this, that uplift our voices and center our stories and our narratives, they remind us that we do have that strength, and we deserve to feel it."

That's why the team behind the project is crowdsourcing funds to keep the project going.

The money will be used to expand the project, as artists and participants are paid for their time and talent. Later this year, the group hopes to print a coloring book and a limited-edition full-color art book. They're also planning a gallery exhibition and panel discussion in Oakland, California, this winter.

Participant Juniper Cordova-Goff said it best: "This visual movement is revolutionary, empowering, and, yes, because of our people, beautiful."

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less