Activist Calls Out CNN Live On-Air During Town Hall: ‘You Have Erased Black Trans Women For The Last Time!’
Activist and actress Blossom C. Brown interrupted a CNN town hall to excoriate the network for “eras(ing) black trans women,” and had it out with moderator Don Lemon in a riveting exchange.
On Thursday night, CNN aired a series of town halls with Democratic presidential candidates on the subject of LGBTQ equality, but black trans activists like Blossom Brown made sure viewers became aware of the epidemic of violence against trans women of color.
Protesters supporting black trans women disrupted Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s town hall and were greeted with solidarity from moderator Anderson Cooper, and during California Senator Kamala Harris’ segment, there was a dramatic exchange in which an activist interrupted an answer on the epidemic of anti-trans violence by shouting, with palpable desperation, “How do we get those men to stop killing trans women of color?”
“We are hunted, systematically hunted,” she continued, and asked, “How can we do that?”
Harris engaged on the issue at length, discussing her record as a prosecutor in defeating the “gay or trans panic defense.”
“So I convened prosecutors from around the country, first-ever time it ever happened, to come to San Francisco, and we created a whole training on how to defeat the gay trans panic defense,” Senator Harris said.
She went on to add that “it ended up being a model for what needs to happen around, also, what we do around public safety to make sure that it does not go without consequence. I hear you.”
Then, during former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s town hall, Ms. Brown came down and took the microphone from Lizette Trujillo to call out CNN.
“I don’t want to take this away from you, but let me tell you something, black trans women are being killed in this country,” Brown said. “And CNN, you have erased black trans women for the last time. Let me tell you something. Black trans women are dying. Our lives matter.”
“I am an extraordinary black trans woman, and I deserve to be here,” she continued as moderator Don Lemon tried to interject, and added “My black trans sisters that are here. I am tired. I am so tired of just sitting there. And it’s not just my black trans women, it’s my black trans brothers, too. And I will say what I’m going to say. I’m going to say what I’m going to say.”
Lemon invited her to the front of the stage, had her introduce herself, and asked for the microphone.
“Blossom, let me tell you something,” Lemon said. “The reason that we’re here is to validate people like you. That is why we’re giving — but that is why we’re here.”
Brown shot back “Your actions do not say that. Not one black trans woman has taken the mic tonight. Not one black trans man has taken the mic tonight.”
Lemon gave Brown the mic back, and she continued, saying “Baby, your actions have to speak louder than words. Because guess what? Not one black trans woman has taken the mic tonight. Not one black trans man has taken the mic tonight. Show me.”
“OK, thank you, I appreciate it,” Lemon said, adding “Blossom, you’re a black trans woman. You have the mic in your hand… I’ve taken it and given it back to you. We want to hear from you. We have had trans people of color.”
“We have all people here. And you’re welcome… but we are proud and happy that you’re here. We’re proud and happy that you’re here,” he continued, above Brown’s protestations. “Yes, but, remember, we’re under a time constraint. All right. Thank you, Blossom, and I appreciate it.”
“Yeah, that’s how anti-blackness works, amongst people of color. That’s what anti-blackness looks like, the erasure of black trans people,” Brown said. “I’m here. We are here in this room. Please give us that opportunity.”
“Blossom, thank you so much. And we appreciate it. Thank you very much. Yes, no, I got it. There we go,” Lemon said.
Before moving on to her question, Trujillo said “I just want to remind everyone that Stonewall was led by transgender women of color, and it’s 15 years later, and we’re still failing you as a community. But there are mothers like me and other community members that are committed to change. And so thank you for allowing that.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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