Eva Reign: Art And The Trans Community #PRIDE

Eva Reign: Art And The Trans Community #PRIDE
Trina Rager

As an LGBTQ+ creator, Eva Reign uses art and storytelling to show how she can be of help and safety for others who might be going through a similar transitional journey. She is a St. Louis native but a Brooklyn-based actor, writer, digital media manager for The Marsha P. Johnson Institution, and participant of Landyn Pan‘s photo series “trans & GNC naked paint party.”

Eva Reign is here and ready to be celebrated.

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“embrace our differences” 🌈💫 // 📸 @landynpan . . . On behalf my sister @angelicactorres, I was a part of this shoot she organized for @dannyfornyc. Here is their message: There’s an important election coming up on Feb 26th and I want you to know that I’m supporting Danny O’Donnell (@Dannyfornyc) for NYC Public Advocate. Danny wrote and passed Marriage Equality and helped add the first ever protections for transgender people to NY law. Danny knows the LGBTQ community is strongest when every letter has a voice. That’s why he empowered @landynpan and @angelicactorres to reimagine his “#EqualityForAll” platform through pictures featuring us and other trans and gender non-binary people. I hope you’ll consider voting for Danny O’Donnell on Feb 26th.

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Can you speak to your experiences as a trans person?

Living in New York has provided more resources and community to trans people than I could have ever imagined. Back in mid-Missouri where I attended university, there were a lot fewer of us, so community-building became that much more vital. I started my transition a few years ago, and I was met with a lot of vitriol and confusion from so many people around me. Needless to say, I was scared.

I’m fortunate enough to have had friends looking out for me who made sure I was able to get home safely from work, the clinic, classes — everywhere. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Being trans can be hard, but with a strong support system, there can be so many joyful moments. I’ve discovered more of that since moving to Brooklyn.

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be prideful… but make it fashion. check out more 👉🏽 @thephluidproject 🏳️‍🌈💕

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What would you want to know/hear if you were young and trans and unsure where to go?

If I were a young trans kid in middle school or high school, I would want a community, to not feel so alone.

During my adolescence, I lived in the Southern Illinois suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. You can definitely find some cool people there, but at the time, I navigated the world as a queer and very effeminate Black boy. I was desperate for community that looked like me, but I was stuck in an incredibly white, cis-heteronormative environment. I was right across the Mississippi River from my hometown which was full of resources and diversity, but I seldom had any way of getting there to access them. I turned to the internet for refuge. Through the internet, I met so many other teens going through similar struggles and learned about my queer and trans histories.

Do you have any resources or organizations that you love?

I highly recommend organizations like The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, the Transgender Law Center, GLAAD and the Trans Lifeline for low moments in life. Destination Tomorrow is a vital agency located in the Bronx that everyone should check out.

For my St. Louis fam, The Spot is a community center that I was fortunate enough to visit a couple of times, and I highly recommend connecting with the community there. Their staff saved my life more than once. These organizations are doing some amazing work especially the grassroots orgs on the ground level. The Trevor Project was also a huge resource for me back in the day.

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Tell me: what are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about telling stories. Acting is a beautiful catalyst to achieve. I recently worked a couple short films by the amazing director and activist Tourmaline — one is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum and The High Line here in New York. I’m inspired by actresses like Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll, so as time goes on, hopefully I’ll have more opportunities to pursue my dream of acting on screen.
My job as digital media manager is with The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, founded by another personal hero of mine, Elle Hearns. If you don’t know who she is, then it’s time you found out! She’s an incredible speaker, organizer, writer and co-founder of Black Lives Matter. She’s also a Midwest girl like me! This job allows me to utilize both writing and graphic design in some pretty cool ways while learning more under Hearns’ leadership. The institute focuses on providing resources and advocating on behalf of trans people with a strong emphasis on Black trans women. The official relaunch of the organization is slated for June 21, 2019.

For you, what does it mean to be trans in 2019?

Being trans in 2019 can be difficult, but it can also be quite empowering. We have such a rich history to carry and build upon with pride. As a Black trans woman, there’s a lot going on in my life. The average life expectancy for trans women of color is 35. That’s a terrifying statistic. I want to live a full, healthy and happy life. All my trans sisters want to as well.

Our current administration is hellbent on preventing us from living safely and proudly while reversing the progress made by our foremothers such as Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marsha P. Johnson and Cheryl Courtney-Evans. To be trans in 2019 is benefited from the progress made by those before you, but to fight for more along the way.

Help Eva Afford Gender Confirmation Surgery