News & Opinion | Feature Spotlight
LGBTQ+ rights activist, author and national social justice organizer Hope Giselle made history Saturday (Aug. 26) as the first Black openly transgender woman to speak at the historic 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
On August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to demand civil rights protections, fair wages, voting rights, and most importantly - to end segregation.
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, which was commemorated on Aug. 26th by Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) partnered with trans activist Hope Giselle to serve as a symbol of change, courage and inclusivity.
"My dream is that, the contributions that I and the rest of my community make toward the betterment of blackness be seen as valuable."-Hope Giselle
Standing stunningly in an all-white suit, Giselle begins her empowering speech: "As I stand here where years ago someone believed in a dream, as a black trans woman, my dream is to be able to walk around amongst my people at the very cookout that so many are invited to who don't belong - and feel safe."
Miami native Hope Giselle embarked on her journey of activism and facilitation during her college years at Alabama State University. It was there that she played a pivotal role in establishing and overseeing the university's first LGBT organization, despite the institution's conservative leanings.
Giselle's determination and resilience paved the way for her historic achievement as the first openly trans woman to earn both a BFA and a Masters in Fine Arts from her Alma Mater, Alabama State University.
In 2018, she added "author" to her list of accomplishments with the release of her debut book, "Becoming Hope: Removing the Disguise." Continuing to make her mark, she followed up with her second book, "Until I Met Black Men," in November 2021.
Hope Giselle later established her own non-profit organization called AllowMe and is actively involved as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, collaborating with prominent organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Freedom for All Americans.
Gaye Magazine exclusively reported in January of this year, that Giselle made history as the first Black, openly transgender woman to give a keynote speech for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Now, her inspiring journey serves as a testament to her unwavering commitment to equality and inclusion as the first Black transgender woman to speak at the March on Washington anniversary.
Giselle followed up her impactful speech on Instagram, stating:
"Inclusion is not a mere gesture; it is a commitment to dismantling the barriers that still persist. It's about ensuring that every person, irrespective of their race, gender identity, or sexual orientation, can stand on equal ground. Our movement's strength lies in our unity – a unity that celebrates the beautiful spectrum of humanity."
She continued on Instagram, "As we march forward, let us embrace the legacy of those who came before us organizations like @nbjconthemove and pioneers like Bayard Rustin whose contributions [were] suppressed due to ignorance and amplify the voices that have been marginalized for too long. Let us be the change that generations to come will celebrate. Together, we can forge a future where black queer and trans individuals walk hand in hand with all of us towards a world defined by justice, equality, and unwavering compassion."
Watch Hope Giselle's March on Washington 60th anniversary speech below: