Gen Z black women are also using their words to liberate. Consider Sage, a community-focused trans artist and activist. Her father is first-generation Afro-Cuban and her mother is white. I recently had breakfast with her at a small coffee shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where we talked about liberation and the protective properties of eyelashes.

At 21, the Sage is already an iconic force, aiming to be a liberator through hardship and the divine order. Like many trans women of color, her childhood was filled with trauma, displacement and violence. There’s a minefield almost everywhere: her school and her hood. “When I was ten or eleven, white boys threw glass at me,” she recalls, “calling me a porch monkey, gay, whatever.” She was physically bullied and verbally abused by her peers, And many adults and school administrators are left unprotected and misunderstood. Coming out as transgender at school was not an option for her (one student, Kik, posted a personal photo of her dressed as a girl), but it would be a providence for her to come out.

“The three things that drove me to do this work were fear, the reality of having to change the fear that was instilled in me, and [knowing] As a light-skinned trans girl, I have the privilege of having the tools and resources to advance the struggle for liberation,” she told me. Her activism led her into policy work, starting with the human rights movement. The Center worked together to pave the way and became an ambassador for the White House African American Educational Excellence Initiative during the Obama administration, when many LGBTQ+ organizations had been operating adult, white, gay and lesbian veneers for decades.

Recognizing that community is “our greatest resource,” Sage created Team Mag, a multimedia platform that focuses on young black and brown artists. “I want to center the black queer and trans narrative [people] Building around joy, happiness, and flourishing gives us the opportunity to see us reflected in those narratives that we are often denied. “When Sage told me, ‘My childhood was taken away the moment I said I was trans,’ my heart sank and my eyes dropped, but then I looked up, deeply looked at the face of this amazing young woman full of brilliant possibilities.