Chanel International and Ti’Ara Chanel, two Bronx transwomen are part of a mini-documentary by Viceland called Balls Deep: T-Girls in which they are followed around on their daily lives in The Bronx and throughout the city. (You can watch the full video below)
For decades, being a trans individual meant you were pretty obscure and out of the mainstream limelight of the LGBTQ community. During the past few years, that has changed as transwomen like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox of Orange is The New Black have become household names.
But in no way do those two women represent the average trans Jane who are trying to just survive in a world that is often hostile to who they are and are even met with death.
In 2015 there were over 20 transgender people murdered in hate crimes—a majority of whom were people of color—and 2016 is on pace to be no different with already 21 murders of transgender people according to the Human Rights Campaign.
In a world where it is still difficult for many to come out as either gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the trans community has an exponentially more difficult experience in coming out to be true to themselves.
Even losing their homes as family will rather kick their own LGBTQ children onto the streets.
40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT and homelessness for trans individuals is even more dangerous for they may be forced to use a shelter based on the gender on their birth certificate and not the gender which they identify as.
In the video, Chanel International’s grandmother said something very touching about her granddaughter, “You were more my son than my grandson. I couldn’t oppose his wishes.”
Chanel lucked out as so many others aren’t as accepting.
Watch the entire episode below: