The pansy is a delicate flower — but it’s more than just a flower, it’s also a symbol of trans solidarity. Oakland-based tattoo artist Cedre Csillagi started the A Thousand Pansies project as a way to dedicate their art to something bigger, and also raise money for a Black-led trans organization in Alabama called The Knights and Orchid Society (TKO). Thus far, over 18 people have received matching pansy tattoos, and, as of today, the project has raised nearly $15,000 dollars.
“I think that it’s a beautiful project and an example of how to show up for grassroot organizations,” said TC Caldwell, director of community engagement for the Alabama-based organization. They added that Black trans-led organizations in the South don’t see the same funding opportunities as others. The needs of their clients range from assistance with name/gender marker changes on IDs to food and stable housing.
“We can’t do this work without community. This is critical life-saving work,” Caldwell said. Solidarity is key to their work, which can "look like fighting anti-trans legislation, making sure trans youth have safe places/spaces to exist whole, making sure that there are jobs for trans folks, and allowing trans people to lead the work,” they said.
Piper Kerman echoed the importance of ensuring Black trans people are financially supported, in an interview with KQED while she got her pansy tattoo.