For Those We've Lost in Oakland
Trans Assistance Project’s Oakland fund, thus far, has raised over 50k dollars to pay for funeral services and end of life costs for the three trans women who lost their lives in the Ghost Ship Fire: Feral Pines, Cash Askew, and Em Bohlka- as well as covering medical care and other expenses for our friend who survived, also a trans woman.
In the weeks following the fire, the TAP team worked around the clock, fighting to have these trans women respected in death. What this looked like was dozens of grieving queer and trans folks engaging in literal arguments about our friends' pronouns, names, and lives with the editors of national news outlets and individuals within the Alameda Sheriff's dept. It was exhausting and having our friends beautiful histories reduced to inaccurate and careless blurbs amplified the trauma for so many. Ultimately, this horrific situation highlighted trans folks’ urgent need to update their legal/ID documents so that they may move through the world more freely in life and be celebrated for who they truly were in death.
Feral was like a sister to me, Cash was a longtime friend, and while I had never met Em, her friends and family said that they were sure that our paths would have crossed eventually. TAP’s sole purpose is to do the work that needs to be done for the trans community at large, through direct action and advocacy, so that we may survive and thrive- and the families of these three amazing women have asked that the remainder of the Oakland fund be donated in their names.
It is with this support, and with the legacy of these women in our hearts, that the work of TAP will continue.
Executive Director - Trans Assistance Project
Note: For more information about our project, please check out our primary and ongoing Save Trans Lives fund.