Celebrating Pride: Black Trans Task Force

Due to the toxic intersection of systemic racism and transphobia, Black transgender people face persistent discrimination, violence, and exclusion from necessary resources and services. In response, the Washington Black Trans Task Force (WA-BTTF) was established to directly center the needs of the Black transgender community in our region. 

WA-BTTF is an organizing collective by and for Black trans and non-binary people. Their projects represent an intersection of community building, research, and political action in an effort to address the crisis of violence against Black transgender people. With the help of community partners and volunteers, they provide financial assistance, advocacy, emergency and permanent housing, and services centered on physical and mental wellness.

We recently checked in with Ebo Barton, Housing Project Manager for WA-BTTF, to learn more about their work and how folks can get involved. See excerpts from our interview below:

close-up on person's face. they have short, wavy spiked hair and a beard
Ebo Barton

What do you want people to know about the Black Trans Task Force? 

The work that each member does as an individual and as a council extends beyond institution limits.  Their commitments to the protection of Black Transgender and Non-Binary People add to the value of our work and how we do it at the Lavender Rights Project

What inspired your collective decision to focus specifically on housing?  

Housing by and for queer and transgender communities is intricately woven into our culture. Our communities have been creating informal and formal housing co-ops and housing support for decades, from independent queer co-op houses to the STAR house Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera opened.   We know that 42 percent of Black transgender people in the U.S. have experienced or are experiencing homelessness.  We know that more than 40 percent of our LGBTQ+ youth population is homeless.  Our communities have been in a homelessness crisis for years, mostly because of who we are.  So, we either created our own possibilities for housing, or our struggles are finally being acknowledged by institutions because of the work done by continuous uprisings demanding a response.  Other queer-centered organizations are also focusing on housing in ways that work for their communities and capacities. Queer the Land just opened an incredible housing co-op for Queer Communities. TWOCSN (Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network) is working diligently on their housing projects that include Queer and Trans families. And, we all follow in the footsteps of GLIT in New York, My Sistah’s House in Tennessee, and many other groups finally being able to house our community members across the country.  Our work at Lavender Rights Project (LRP) within the Washington Black Trans Task Force was from the labor and research of former staff member Makayla Wright, current Program Manager Bryan Dunncan, Executive Director Jaelynn Scott, and the advocacy and direction of the WA-BTTF because of their lived experience and firsthand knowledge of the community’s needs. 

How can people support the work of WA-BTTF? 

Frequently, support means money and/or resources. And of course, these are important ways to support. But sometimes, support looks like a simple, intentional share of important information from WA-BTTF’s social media pages, writing letters to councilmembers, the mayor, or state representatives, showing up to Lavender Rights Project events in whatever capacity you are able, and including LRP in your networks of support. You can directly support the WA-BTTF’s The House by purchasing items from our Target registry for our future residents or organizing your community to collect items from our registry. 

What’s on your mind as Seattle celebrates Pride this year? 

The physical, emotional, and spiritual safety of my BIPOC gender-diverse siblings.  I just hope we can all do our best to protect our bodies and our peace. 


Learn more about the Washington Black Trans Task Force and how you can get involved at www.lavenderrightsproject.org/wa-bttf.