Trans United Fund, a transgender national advocacy and grassroots organizing group, has announced that Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd will be its new executive director.
Duncan-Boyd, a longtime LGBTQ activist who has worked in various places in the South, is best known for founding Transgender Advocates Knowledgeably Empowering, an organization that serves transgender women of color throughout Alabama and its surrounding areas, providing crisis intervention, health care, name and gender marker change, and mental health services.
Trans United, which was founded by and led by trans and nonbinary leaders — a majority of whom are people of color — hailed Duncan-Boyd’s past organizing work in communities throughout the Deep South and her success in growing TAKE into a successful national organization.
Daye Pope, the organizing director of Trans United, told The Huntsville Times it was Duncan-Boyd’s work ethic that made her stand out from other applicants for the position.
“Daroneshia really is the legacy of the Stonewall leaders who started the trans movement,” Pope said in a statement. “She is an unapologetic, brilliant black transwoman who really cares deeply about the community and works harder than anyone I know to help black transwomen and all of the community to have all the needs we are dying without.”
In remarks made during her introductory press conference, Duncan-Boyd said that many of the obstacles facing transgender women, particularly those of color, are rooted in miseducation and discrimination.
“You’re basically targeted because people don’t understand who you really are,” she said. “When you are being targeted, you become a victim of a violent crime. You can be discriminated against while dealing with housing, employment, going into public spaces, restrooms and restaurants.”
Duncan-Boyd told The Huntsville Times that she has been looking at purchasing a new building that would be large enough to house an auditorium for fundraising events, a laundry facility, and TAKE’s resource center and emergency crisis center, which would serve as a shelter where transwomen of color from around the country can escape to and stay if they find themselves in extreme danger.
She told the Times that, upon applying for the job, she vowed not to relocate to Washington, D.C., where Trans United’s headquarters are currently located, saying she’s needed on the ground in the South, where trans people are most at risk.
“I don’t mind challenging systems, and I don’t mind breaking barriers because I am very unapologetic. When you say ‘no,’ I say ‘yes,'” she said. “If we keep running away from the South the folks will keep winning, but if we stay in the South, they will eventually lose.”