UK Black Pride exposes the dangers of misinformation about Trans people

16th Century Life Expectancy highlights Trans people’s ongoing struggles and asks for improved rights to healthcare.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Research shows that Trans people are two and a half times more likely to be victims of violence than cisgender people. In a media landscape obsessed with waging a culture war on Trans rights, an ongoing battle with misinformation is increasingly pushing harmful anti-trans rhetoric. Phrases such as ‘Trans people are problematic’ and “Trans people are infiltrating women's spaces” have become increasingly common. As the media misinformation intensifies, so too do the real world threats to Trans people and those who support them.

To show how dangerous misinformation can be, UK Black Pride, the world’s largest volunteer-led organisation celebrating African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQIA+ people, has launched 16th Century Life Expectancy starring five leaders from the Black trans community to highlight trans people’s ongoing struggles.

16th Century Life Expectancy has been created following the insight that one of the most harmful pieces of misinformation about Black Trans women is that they have a life expectancy of just 35. 

This bleak life expectancy statistic first arose when a report compiled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the average age of Trans homicide victims in South America was between 30 and 35. Although this was a very real and shocking statistic for that specific group, it has since been extrapolated, misappropriated, and shared across social media fuelling a rippling effect of fear for a vulnerable section of society.

The campaign, which was created with the help of McCann London, sees five leaders of the Black trans community reimagined as paintings from the 16th Century, a period in history where the life expectancy was just 35. The images are intended to help spark conversation and create debate about misinformation and the harm it can do.

The portraits of Talulah Eve (the first Transgender woman on Britain’s Next Top Model), Amani Cosmo, Ebun Sodipo, Mzz Kimberley and Rico Jacob Chace were revealed at an exhibition hosted by world-renowned auction house Christie’s as a part of ‘Christie’s Lates London: Pride’ showcase. 

The campaign is not only designed to create conversation ,but also directly asks for improved rights to healthcare for Trans people. This focus includes reducing NHS waiting times which are currently up to five years long. UK Black Pride is asking allies, via a letter on the 16th Century website, to open discussions with MPs across the UK asking for the rights and safety of Trans people to be a priority. The letter asks for an urgent review of waiting times for trans-related care to reduce the current five years.

“We’ve created this campaign to shed light on the misinformation which continues to spread about our community. An ongoing struggle sparked by the spirit of intolerance that has been brought about by colonialism.” says Rico Jacob Chace (he/him) Treasurer and Trustee at LGBT+ Consortium. “In addition to misinformation, there is the intersectional impact on people of colour (POC) in the UK, leading to over 50% of LGBT+ homeless shelters inhabitants and LGBT+ users of hate crime hotlines being POC - this needs to be addressed head on by the UK government. It takes on average 5 years for a person who wants to transition to get their first appointment on the NHS - can you imagine not being able to live your true self for 5 years. This campaign is fronted by the most vulnerable members of the community – Black Trans people – and once they’re protected, all members of the community are protected.”

In the past three years the UK has been descending down the ILGA’s Rainbow Europe ranking, a ranking which aims to improve and promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ people across Europe. As the country sees trans rights diminishing, violence and a lack of adequate access to healthcare remain. 16th Century aims to improve the rights of Trans people in the UK looking to countries such as Malta which has implemented models of healthcare grounded in self-determination based on informed consent as a guide. 

To further promote the campaign McCann London is working with UK Black Pride’s network of trans activists such as Radam Ridwan and Tate Smith to further amplify the message through an additional series of portraits. These trans activists and members of the LGBTQIA+ community will share their portraits across social media. The wider community is also encouraged to get involved by creating their own 16th Century portraits via an Instagram filter available on UK Black Pride’s page using the hashtag #16thCenturyLifeExpectancy. 

The portraits are now live across UK Black Pride social channels (@ukBlackpride). They are also running across DOOH sites donated by Clear Channel, and OOH sites donated by UNCLE. The exhibition can be accessed via www.16th-Century.com where audiences can also find the trans rights the campaign is lobbying for, ways people can join the fight, historical context and more examples of misinformation around the trans community, can be accessed.


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