Constructing Injustice Symbols in Contemporary Trans Rights Activisms

  • David Myles
  • Kelly Lewis


In this paper, we investigate the role that mourning and commemoration practices play in contemporary trans rights activism. Drawing from visual politics, digital activist culture, as well as media and communication, we analyse how trans rights movements construct injustice symbols that are used for sociopolitical mobilisation and expression. We contend that these symbols are constructed through shared communicative practices, which produce and circulate visuals that possess important memetic qualities (pictures, slogans, hashtags, graffiti, posters, etc.). To do so, we analyse three case studies where the unjust death of a trans person was collectively mobilised for political purposes: Jennifer Laude (Philippines, 1988-2014), Hande Kader (Turkey, 1993-2016), and Marsha P. Johnson (United States of America, 1945-1992). While each case study points to local or national specificities, our comparative analysis also underlines transnational trends in the production of posthumous visuals within contemporary trans rights activism. We conclude by addressing the contentions over the construction of trans symbols who inherently possess intersectional identities.

Myles, D., & Lewis, K. (2019). Constructing Injustice Symbols in Contemporary Trans Rights Activisms. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 28(3-4), 24-42.