Lia Clay Miller, Nan Goldin and More Sell Art to Support Black Trans Lives

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Photography by Lia Clay Miller

Towards Utopia is a “pro-sex, anti-fascist” print sale, with contributions from Lia Clay Miller, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Richie Shazam and more

“Everyone has a role to play in the revolution,” say the organisers of Towards Utopia, a “pro-sex, anti-fascist” print sale which will raise money for the Black trans community and sex workers in the United States. “While this year has brought new breadth to the term ‘activism’ and what it means to sustainably fight for Black America, we are finding that the fight for Black trans people and sex workers continues to fall short.” Such urgency is intensified by the continuing hate crimes committed against Black trans men and women – this year alone has seen the lives of Bree Black, Merci Mack, Tiffany Harris, Layleen PolancoTony McDade and many more cut tragically short by acts of violence and systemic disenfranchisement. Others face continuing battles for housing and jobs, or the increasingly transphobic shifts in American policy.

“My curatorial process started with Arca’s song Time, and what it evokes,” K.O. Nnamdie, who curated the sale, says of how Towards Utopia began. The resulting collection of images sees contributions from photographers including Lia Clay Miller, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Richie Shazam, as well as prints from artists Ebecho Muslimova, Ion Birch, Kenya [Robinson], and several others. The proceeds of the sales – each limited-edition print with sell for between 50 and 200 dollars – will be distributed between the charities G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society), For The Gworls, which raises money for Black trans people’s rent and gender-affirming surgery, and SWOP Brooklyn, a volunteer-run organisation which supports New York sex workers.

The latter represents a community hit particularly hard by Covid-19: in the USA, pandemic buisness loans issued by federal government were barred to workplaces which “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature” or make their money “through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature”. Others who work independently and have no economic safety net are forced to risk their lives in order to survive. Towards Utopia aims to help these communities by selecting charities that promise “housing, food, and safety”.

“Solidarity, revolution, and abolition are grounding energies that informed which artists I selected,” says Nnamdie. “This is what community looks like.”

Towards Utopia runs until the end of September – or until it runs out of prints. Click here to purchase a print.