Life is Work, a non-profit organization that serves the Black transgender and non-binary community in Chicago, goes beyond providing tangible services; it provides hope, liberation, encouragement. Life is Work creates visibility and changes the narrative for trans people.
For Dymond Haynes, program coordinator at Life is Work, having visibility is hope for the future. “Seeing my CEO, Zahara Bassett in the position that she's in, and seeing other women like Janet Mock, Reyna Ortiz, Caprice Carthans, Channyn Parker, those are pillars of our community,” said Dymond. “The Trans movement would not be as strong without them, so seeing women like that gives me hope.”
Two years ago, Dymond participated in Vision, a workforce development program of Life is Work, that led to her current position as program coordinator.
“Building Vision and building Life is Work is for us to change the narrative – you can be an actress, you can be a model, you can literally be a mom, you can be whatever you desire; you can come to us, and we can make it work,” said Dymond.
To commemorate Trans Day of Visibility on March 31st, Life is Work is hosting its second annual Chicago Trans Visibility Pageant, of which AFC is proud to be a sponsor. The pageant celebrates the frontline workers and advocates that make this work possible. It brings awareness to the community beyond the deaths and struggles that dominate the media. Through paying homage to the ones actively changing the narrative and making trans people visible, it makes sure they are not overlooked.
“Liberation comes from us first. I have to live this every day,” said Dymond. Life is Work, a Black transgender led organization, is setting the example of the importance of coming together and uniting as one to do the work for your community, by your community.
“I want people to understand that I would not be in this position if it wasn’t for another trans woman,” said Dymond Haynes. “As a young trans woman, I want to take what she gave me and pass it on to the next woman and the next woman and the next woman until we’re all across the world.”
Support Life is Work – attend the 2nd annual Chicago Trans Visibility Pageant on March 31st at 7pm.