Transgender singer, dancer, actress, and activist Mila Jam is fighting for trans rights. She was inspired to display her "Stop Killing Us" body paint campaign in her music video, to send a message using her body rather than her voice. "It has been a trans liberation. It has been a black lives matter movement. We have been out here in the streets, marching for our lives because we only have one life to live and not everyone is experiencing what it's like to be marginalized, to be black, to be trans, to be othered," she tellss host Brittany Jones-Cooper.
She sat down with Yahoo Life in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, but says it's also important to celebrate trans joy as well. "2020 has been really bad for trans people in terms of being murdered. There have also been some amazing milestones in our community," she says. "There are so many visible black trans women that are in the world of media and speaking out and being open.
The joy is important for us to be able to celebrate that. We're still here."
Mila jam also discusses her partnership with Out Leadership, and organzation that strives for inclusivity for LGBTQ+ individuals in the world of business. "It's an amazing company giving opportunities to LGBTQ people in business, where I always love to say we're bridging the gap between brands and sponsors and companies and corporations to make space for our voices."
MILA JAM: I've been talking to trans elders that are 70 and 80 plus. That is something that I never even thought about, to be an elder, where you're still telling your story of times where there was no conversation.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Hey, everybody. I'm Brittany Jones-Cooper, and today, I'm chatting with Mila Jam, a transgender singer, actor, and dancer. Welcome, Mila.
MILA JAM: Hi, everyone.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Can you tell us just a little bit about the art that you create and your mission behind it?
MILA JAM: I love pop culture. And I love mixed mediums. I love art. I love to combine the two visually and sonically. That's sort of how my campaign, Stop Killing Us came about. We were making noise. It's been a trans liberation, and it's been a Black Lives Matter movement.
We have been out here in the streets marching for our lives, because we only have one life to live, and not everyone is experiencing what it's like to be marginalized, to be black, to be trans, to be queer, to be othered. And I thought, what better way to make a message out of my body, and painting, and putting it out there so people can actually visually see it.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Why do you think it's important for days like the Transgender Day of Remembrance to exist?
MILA JAM: There are so many holidays and so many things that we were raised to honor and to think about, and why not add to the list the contributions that trans people have given?
Our lives have been on the line since the beginning of time, because people never understood us. We need to be remembered for the lives that we strived to achieve and to live, because a lot of the people that were not able to be here to speak for themselves, they just wanted to exist in peace and harmony. 2020 has been really bad for trans people, in terms of being murdered.
There have also been some amazing milestones in our community. There are so many visible black trans women that are in the world of media and speaking out and being open. The joy is important for us to be able to celebrate that we're still here.
I never thought that there would be a trans liberation. I never thought that there would be a time where we could actually discuss in truth what our lives and our experiences are like and actually affect people in a positive way.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: So tell me about the work that you do with Our Leadership.
MILA JAM: So Out Leadership in an amazing company, business, giving opportunities to LGBTQ people. I get to help create content with them for the trans community, whatever it is to help make people feel included in the narrative of being trans in business, being trans in entertainment, being trans in your community and what that looks like.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: We just had a big election where Biden won. And that was a sign of relief. But that doesn't mean the fight for trans rights is over, right?
MILA JAM: No, it's just beginning. This election is important for us to be able to have a conversation about what needs to happen now that we can get the distractions out of the way.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Mila, I just appreciate you leading the conversation and sharing so much of yourself and working so hard. Thank you for all the work you continue to do and for joining us today.
MILA JAM: I'm so glad I could be here. And I hope that you have some joy, some beautiful black woman joy in your life. Find the joy, girl. I'm here for it.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: You too.