Ashlee Marie Preston is celebrating her birthday for Black trans women who didn’t live to see their 35th birthday.
“The average 35-year-old graduates college, gets married, has children, finds a home, goes kayaking, travels over the mountains,” she stated. “But for Black trans women, we don’t do 35.”
Preston, a trans activist, launched #ThriveOver35 to speak out against so many black trans women dying young. For her 34th birthday, Preston made a cake with the photos of 77 Black trans women who were murdered before their 35th birthday.
“To every Black trans women over the age of 35 years old, you are a miracle,” she said. “To every Black trans woman under the age of 35 years old, you are a possibility. You are resilient, you are beautiful, you are courageous, bold, brave, and you never have to do any of this alone.”
People are already responding to Preston’s campaign online:
@techgirlwonder tweeted, “It’s time. Black trans women deserve to thrive all the way to 80! #ThriveOver35.”
@Basicbitching tweeted, “I have to #ThriveOver35. It’s really scary when you think about it that you’re not even expected to make it to 35 anymore. Like Jesus.”
The homicide rate for young Black trans women is one in 2,600. For the average young adult, the rate is one in 12,000.