Author and media maker Janet Mock launched her second annual #TransBookDrive this week on Indiegogo and it’s already been a smashing success. The project, which raises money to send books to incarcerated transgender inmates in U.S. jails and prisons, has already raised nearly $8,000 in fewer than two days, already surpassing its goal of $5,000 with 28 days left.
It’s an effort that highlights a significant problem. Nearly one in six transgender people in America has been to prison – and nearly half of all transgender black people, according to Lambda Legal. Once incarcerated, transgender inmates – particularly women locked in men’s facilities – face increased risks of physical and sexual assault behind bars.
Mock timed this year’s drive to coincide with the paperback release of her memoir, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More.” She partnered with biyuti publishing, Black Girl Dangerous and LGBT Books to Prisoners to fulfill book requests from 200 transgender inmates. The books will be delivered in care packages that include a handwritten letter from each author. Those authors and titles include: Mia McKenzie’s “Black Girl Dangerous Anthology” and “The Summer We Got Free,” “Decolonizing trans/gender” 101 by b. binaohan, “Make Love to Rage” by Morgan Robyn Collado, “Trauma Queen” by Lovemme Corazón and Mock’s “Redefining Realness.”
* This post has been updated.