"The Personal Things" (2016) by Tourmaline



Tourmaline is an activist, writer, and filmmaker. Along with Sasha Wortzel, Tourmaline wrote, directed and produced Happy Birthday, Marsha! a short film about legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson starring Independent Spirit Award winner Mya Taylor. A long-time community organizer, Tourmaline worked as the membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project from 2010 to 2014 to lift the voice and power of trans and gender nonconforming people and helped lead the successful campaign to end healthcare discrimination against low income trans and gender nonconforming New Yorkers. She also worked at Queers for Economic Justice where she directed the Welfare Organizing Projected and produced A Fabulous Attitude, documenting low-income LGBT New Yorkers surviving inequality and thriving despite enormous obstacles. Tourmaline is a 2007 Soros Justice Fellow, a 2009 Stonewall Community Foundation Honoree, and the recipient of the 2016 Ackerman Institute Community Award. Her work has been supported by the Open Society Foundation, Art Matters Foundation, and the Astraea Foundation’s Global Arts Fund. She was a 2012-2013 Queer/Art/Mentorship fellow. Along with Eric Stanley and Johanna Burton, Tourmaline is an editor of the forthcoming New Museum anthology, Trap Door, on trans art and cultural production to be published by MIT Press in 2017.



Released on Trans Day of Remembrance 2016, "The Personal Things" is a short animated film based on an interview—conducted by Tourmaline —with Miss Major, director emeritus of the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project, a program that assists transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under the prison-industrial complex. Miss Major is a "community leader―an organizer, activist, prison abolitionist, former sex worker, formerly incarcerated person, transgender elder and mother to countless transgender and GNC youth" (HuffPo). "The Personal Things" focuses on the "small every day ways Miss Major Griffin-Gracy fights back and challenges the status quo," Tourmaline writes. "At a moment of increased violence I wanted to release it on Trans Day of Resilience/Remembrance because Miss Major is someone whose life and labor has allowed for so many of us to live, including myself." Featuring the voice of Miss Major, directed by Tourmaline, illustrated by Micah Bazant, animated by Pamela Chavez, scored by Geo Wyeth, produced by Hope Dector and BCRW (Barnard Center for Research on Women).