In part one of this week’s season finale episodes, the two hosts chat with three Black trans women, Nova, Naki, and Memphis, to discuss their mental health struggles in the face of rampant bigotry and violence within their community. Taraji and Tracie are trying to make sense of startling facts that include that 76% of transgender homicide victims in the U.S. being Black and Trans people of color facing higher rates of death because of factors like racism, poverty, and fear of police.
According to Taraji and the three trans women profiled amid struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, something has to change.
Taraji: “I am concerned about the Black trans community because there seems to be an uptick in the violence against them. Since 2017, 76% of reported trans homicide victims were Black.”
Tracie: “So we want to give these women who are coming to see us today – we want to give them the opportunity to tell us about their world, battling depression or anxiety, that all comes along with just being who you are.”
Nova also shared a shocking stat about the average lifespan of a Black trans woman amid murders and suicides.
Nova: “The average lifespan of a Black trans woman is now 31 years old…I technically should be dead according to you know, statistics.
Taraji: “Why? Why? Why?”
Nova: “Because of the murders and the suicides. 31 years old, can you believe that? People are literally just starting to figure out what they want and who they are in life at 31…it tears me apart.”
The ladies also discussed trauma they’ve faced that includes attacks by men and threats. According to Naki, she was attacked while on public transportation by a man upset that he was attracted to her. In another instance on a dating app, Naki says a man told her he should’ve met her so he “could kill her.”
Taraji: “Have any of you been attacked before?
Naki: “I have. I’ve been attacked on the bus and…it always comes when they want to talk to you. And you could be minding your business – that’s how I was, on the bus minding my own business in my early 20s – and he tried to talk to me. And I ignored him and I turned my back, and I was just not thinking about it, and when he got off the bus he hit me in my side of my face…all because [he] wanted to talk to me and [he] found out who I was. The worst part is when you don’t see it coming.”
Taraji: “Okay so, yes everybody at the bus they go on with their lives, but then you’re left with this trauma. Now what? How does this make you feel?”
Naki: “That marked me.”
Tracie: “That’s, you know, post traumatic stress that you’re dealing with.”
Naki: “And it caused a fear of any public transportation.”
Taraji: “How is dating?”
Nova: “It’s exhausting. I do most of my dating on apps, just because it’s easier for me. And you know, two years ago it wasn’t that easy – when I first started transitioning I was using Tinder and they didn’t even have the option to put trans woman on there. It was either just male or female…so I only use dating platforms that allow me to put my trans identity in the profile, that way you can read it before you get in my DMs…”
Naki: “I had a bad experience. It was a guy and we were talking, we was talking for like two hours…and then he gave me his number and I said ‘this is the wrong number’ three times and I said ‘so what’s going on?’ He said ‘I was lying to you, I was never into you, I should’ve met you so I could kill you.’ And so I hurried up and deleted the app and I was just shook for like five years. And what if I would’ve met him?”
Awful, awful, awful.
There’s lots more to unpack in this open and honest episode including the ladies discussing their trans sisters sometimes delving into sex work as only means of survival and how their families reacted to their trans journies.
Watch Episode 8 of “Peace Of Mind With Taraji” below.
All-new episodes of “Peace of Mind with Taraji” air every Monday and Wednesday at 9amPT /12pmET on Facebook Watch.
In Peace of Mind with Taraji, Golden Globe Award-Winning Actress Taraji P. Henson and her best friend and co-host Tracie Jade shine a spotlight on the challenging mental health issues facing us today – particularly of those in the Black community. Through personal interviews with both celebrities, experts, and everyday people, the series shows how to provide support, bring awareness and help eliminate the stigmas of mental health issues.