Black Transgender Woman in Saskatchewan Makes Waves on Tik Tok

Written on 07/02/2021
Staff Columnist

A Black, transgender woman in Saskatchewan is using the power of TikTok to create more visibility and make trans people and people of colour feel less alone - CBC News reports.

Kissy Duerré is a content creator from Saskatoon who got her start on TikTok when she was just trying to kill time amid the COVID-19 pandemic - but when the Black Lives Matter movement ramped up in 2020, she wanted to do more.

"That's when I realized there was this lacking of representation of Black transgender women," Duerré told CBC News.

She posted a TikTok video discussing what it's like to be transgender, Black and a woman during the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ movements.

Duerré's discussions focus on transmisogynoir: the prejudice against transgender women of colour. Once the videos started to grab attention, she began posting more while keeping it lighthearted.

"I think it's very important for society to get to know [the issues], be exposed to that and get comfortable with it," Duerré said of her videos.

MelVee X, a board member with The Colour Factor in Calgary, an organization that provides healing spaces for the BIPOC community, told CBC that social media allows marginalized people to have a voice.

"The mainstream media still has so many biases and so much work to do. But if you don't see yourself represented in that, if you're not interested in fighting the system, you can create your own channels of sharing and information," X explained.

Biko Beauttah, a Toronto Instagram influencer and Black transgender woman, told CBC that social media has given trans people of colour the opportunity to create a platform for themselves.

Beauttah moved to Canada in 2006 as a Kenyan refugee, a place transgender people are scrutinized and have no protection.

After living in Toronto, she founded Trans Workforce, the first career symposium for transgender people.

"It wasn't safe to be out in the world, but online visibility makes us find each other, and it doesn't make you feel alone if you're a trans teen in a small community or in your parents' basement," Beauttah said.

"Suicide is really high among trans teens, but when you see you're not alone, and there are others like you, this visibility can save lives."

According to Duerré, the community of black trans women on TikTok is small but close-knit and full of allies.

"I did not have that privilege growing up," Duerré said. "And I always thought how nice it would have been to see someone like me, just living their lives, being unapologetically themselves. I think that's the most beautiful thing."

Today, Duerré has over 600,000 followers and around 18 million likes on TikTok.

Beauttah and Duerré aim to use TikTok and Instagram to advocate for Black, transgender women.

Both Duerré and Beauttah plan on using TikTok and Instagram to continue advocating for Black transgender women while educating others.

"I'm doing my job to fight for my community, and it's going to be your turn to take this baton and continue the journey," Beauttah said.

 (Image Credit: Courtesy of Kissy Duerré)