This project tackles misinformation about the Black trans community


For a few years, misinformation about the life expectancy of Black trans women has spread across social media channels, and UK Black Pride have now launched a project to make sure that young trans people know the truth. When you search for statistics on the life expectancy of Black trans women, you will see over and over again that the answer is 35 years old. This first came into the mainstream when a report compiled by the Inter-American Commission On Human Rights revealed that the average age of trans homicide victims in South America was between 30 and 35. This is, of course, a true and horrifying statistic to be aware of when we discuss the dangers that trans women face. However, it does not apply to the life expectancy of Black trans women across the world, and this misinformation being embedded into the minds of young Black trans people leads to a deep fear of living as their true selves.

As a response to this misinformation, UK Black Pride have collaborated with McCann London to launch an art exhibition of five Black trans leaders reimagined as paintings from the 16th century — a period of time when the life expectancy was actually 35 years old. Their project’s purpose is to open a discussion about the damage that misinformation does to one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.

The five people featured are:

The portraits were revealed on 30 May at an exhibition hosted by the world-leading arts and luxury auction house, Christie’s, as a part of their Christie’s Lates London: Pride showcase.

Head to the Instagram page of UK Black Pride to view behind the scenes videos from each of the individuals featured…

Lady Phyll (she/her), Co-Founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride stated, “We’re excited to launch this project to showcase just how damaging misinformation can be to the lives of Black and brown queer individuals, specifically the younger generation. Imagine going on a journey to be your authentic self and seeing false information about the life expectancy of those who have had similar journeys. Seeing that compounded with issues with healthcare, safety, housing, jobs and so many other wrongs, makes the path much more tremulous. We’ve also set out to challenge the systems that create these issues and encourage others to do the same. We must always look at every element of the queer experience through the lens of intersectionality, and we’re proud to work alongside such advocates and defenders of our Black trans community.”

Ben Conway (he/him), Creative at McCann London stated, “The trans and non-binary community is under attack in the UK. They’re looking for allies in all directions, and as creatives in the ad industry, we should harness ideas and creativity to face the vitriolic hate and discrimination they are receiving. We couldn’t be happier to collaborate with UK Black Pride to deliver this landmark campaign, to celebrate and platform the stories, beauty and legitimacy of our wonderful cast of trans and non-binary women of colour. They deserve to be heard, understood, listened to, reflected on and actioned against.”

To view the portraits, and see more behind the scenes content, visit where the trans rights campaign shares information about how you can join the fight in combatting misinformation.

You can also support the campaign by creating your own 16th century portraits via an Instagram filter now available on UK Black Pride’s page, using the hashtag #16thCenturyLifeExpectancy.

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