Midwestern trans women of color share their stories in Vice series 'Transnational'

Journalist and actress Eva Reign discusses her recent Vice News project as part of our Black History Month Creative Excellence series

Published On
Feb 15, 2022
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Editor's Pick

Today for our Black History Month Creative Excellence series, we have Eva Reign, a Brooklyn-based actress, writer and artist from St. Louis, Missouri. Reign has previously worked as assistant editor on Condé Nast's LGBTQ platform "Them." Her words also have been featured in Vogue, The Cut, Byrdie, Paper and Highsnobiety. She also recently completed a film fellowship with Queer|Art and will soon make her film debut as the star of Billy Porter’s forthcoming film "What If?" from MGM’s Orion Pictures.

Our guest editor this week, GLAAD Creative Director Abdool Corlette, first met Reign when she was a GLAAD Youth Ambassador during her senior year of college. "I know the expression 'star' is cliche, but even then I could feel the energy and passion radiating from deep within her," he said. "Eva’s shine is hard to miss. Her meteoric power and point of view exist in all of the projects she’s touched throughout her career. What makes Eva special is that her work is both an act of love and an act of service to the communities she represents. Being witness to her dreams coming to fruition has been an incredible joy for me and any opportunity I have to give her her flowers is one I celebrate."

Here, Reign shares an important project she recently completed with Vice News, "Transnational," a series that explores the lives of Black and Brown trans women in the Midwest while also bringing more nuance and perspectives into media around the trans community. 

Eva Reign

 

At the heart of my multi-disciplinary practice, empowerment is always the first of many intentions. I am a young Black trans woman from St. Louis who grew up with little to no reflections of self. Now I am the person I needed to see on screen during my early adolescence, and I am bringing my community up every step of the way. 

Transnational

 

Through my recent work with Vice News, I helped bring light to the lives of Black and Brown Midwestern trans women. In the premiere episode of the GLAAD Award-nominated series "Transnational," I traveled to Detroit alongside Hendrik Hinzel, Cassandra Giraldo, Cruce Grammatico and Jika González to learn about the life and death of Kelly Stough.

She was a Black trans woman, member of the legendary House of Ebony and beauty enthusiast. She was also murdered by a pastor. Kelly is one of countless women to have their life taken too soon by cisgender men too afraid to express their attraction in a healthy manner. I am beyond honored to have contributed to this series as a host. 

 

 

My career as a journalist and actress has taught me that representation is never perfect, nor is it absolute. The world of media and entertainment has a long way to go. Inclusion, diversity and equity are the buzzwords on everyone’s mouths, but they fail to be incorporated into the collective praxis of those in power. My team with Vice exceeded any expectations I had. They gave me the power to craft our story as I saw fit. As the only Black trans woman on the team, it was empowering.

The same can be said of the forthcoming directorial debut of Billy Porter from MGM’s Orion Pictures, "What If?", a coming-of-age romantic comedy centered on a young Black trans teen.

As soon as I met him, Billy said, “This story is to empower you. I want you to lean into the joy.” Every day on set, I was met with reassurance, love and endless amounts of inspiration. This has not been the norm in my life, which led me to believe that it was impossible to dream of a world in which my voice truly mattered.

The past year has shown me that anything truly is possible. Change is more than a concept. It is an action of love. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits

Date
Feb 15, 2022
Client :
Vice News
Talent :
Eva Reign

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