In May, Indya Moore became the first trans and openly nonbinary person to appear on the cover of Elle Magazine in the publication’s 74-year history. Now, she’s being honored for the cover at the 2019 Fashion Media Awards.
In perhaps as big of a statement as the cover, Moore decided to use her anticipated appearance at the awards for even more good. During her red carpet appearance and speech, she showed off her “keepsake” earrings revealing photos of 16 trans women who have been killed in 2019.
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Thank you Aree, for sharing your keepsake earings so I could bring my sister's with me tonight. Just Like me these women dare to exhaust their freedom to exist by being visible, however, instead of being celebrated, they were punished for it. While we make up .6 percent of the American population, The life expectancy of trans women/femmes is 35 years old. Existence that requires bravery is not freedom. A life that requires bravery is not free. I accept this award in honor of the truth that The best award and the award we all deserve is to be able to get home safe. I accept this award in good faith that my recognition doesn't lead to the Erasure of other trans and GNC folks who also deserve health care, housing safety in visibility, magazine covers, runways, leading film and tv roles, doctorates degrees, high school diplomas, college educations and representation everywhere. Jewelry @kbhjewels Make up @aerieldandrea Hair @monaeartistry Style @iancogneato dress @oscardelarenta repost • @beadsbyaree The first “Keepsake” earring was created to honor my Iya (godmother) who passed this April. Not knowing what to do in the darkest times of my life, I held on to love. I was inspired by love and representation of it. In each frame I inserted images of my sisters who my Iya has raised. They carry her in their faces and are a reminder of her presence to me simply by being themselves. We’re all entangled. We may look like one person but we show up as many. @iancogneato contacted me with a mission for the earrings. He was prepping @indyamoore to receive the honor of Cover of the Year for ELLE at @dailyfrontrow. They wanted to pay tribute to and also build awareness for the 16 (now 17) trans women who were murdered this year in the USA. The issue is so pressing that after creating the earring and three days before the event, Bailey Reeves, a 17 year old girl from Baltimore was killed. For her, Indya carried a frame around with her face. @indyamoore’s jewelry served as an altar and their speech was both a prayer for the future and a call to action. In their hour of celebration they put their trans sisters in the forefront.
Along with designer Areeayl Yoseefaw, Indya also carried around a framed photograph of Bailey Reeves, who was murdered just three days before the event.
During her speech, Indya Moore thanked everyone who made the Elle cover possible and drew attention to rampant murders of trans women this year.
“I’m so honored, grateful, and beyond moved to be on the cover of Elle magazine, one of the world’s most powerful magazines. It’s a bittersweet feeling,” she began. “It’s hard to celebrate being celebrated for being myself during a time when people like me are being murdered for being themselves.”
Moore said that while more trans people are expressing who they are and being celebrated in many cases, others are being shunned or encounter violence all across America.
"On this day that I’m celebrated and awarded for being visible, I decided to bring them with me," Indya said during the speech. "Just like me, these women dared to exhaust their freedom to exist by being visible. However, instead of being celebrated, they’re punished for it."
Indya also thanked her parents for being “an incredible example to parents everywhere that it’s possible to learn and adjust your parenting in the best interests of your child’s existence."
Read Indya Moore’s full speech at the 2019 Fashion Media Awards, as transcribed by Fashion Week Daily, below.
Wow. I feel so honored to share this space with you people. It’s a very expensive venue. It’s populated by very expensive people. All of our lives are so expensive, including mine and people like me. Wow. The cover of Elle magazine. I’m so honored, grateful, and beyond moved to be on the cover of Elle magazine, one of the world’s most powerful magazines. It’s a bittersweet feeling. As you all know — or not — I am black and I am trans. Some of you may be uncomfortable with the politics of my speech. And I won’t apologize for that, because my life is politics. Right now in the Supreme Court, they’re voting on whether or not trans people can access employment, shelter, and healthcare in the same ways that you all have access. It’s hard to celebrate being celebrated for being myself during a time when people like me are being murdered for being themselves.
It was here in this space that we filmed the scene in Pose in season 1. Stan took his wife to the Rainbow Room to celebrate their anniversary. That night Stan was distracted by his desires for Angel, a trans woman. Stan always had desires for women, both trans and cis, but lived in shameful fear of what his desires meant to the world around him, and how the world around him would treat him as a result. This year, 16 known women were taken from us because of that same fear. On this day that I’m celebrated and awarded for being visible, I decided to bring them with me. I’m wearing them on my ears as earrings. I’d like to thank Ian Bradley, my stylist, and the designer, Aree for creating a way for me to bring these women here with me tonight. When Ian, my beloved friend and stylist prepared the earrings he was worried that another women would be murdered and that it would be too late to include her. On Labor Day—Monday—a 17-year-old girl named Bailey Reeves was shot to death in D.C. I’m grieving with her family. She would make the 17th, and youngest-known black trans female murdered this year by gun violence. As Ian predicted, it was too late to include her in the jewelry created by Aree. So I brought her in this picture frame for you all to see. 17-years-old, baby girl. Just like me, these women dared to exhaust their freedom to exist by being visible. However, instead of being celebrated they’re punished for it.
While we make up 0.6 percent of the American population, the life expectancy of trans women and femmes is 35 years old. That means simply that I may not live past 35 simply because I’m black and trans. Existence that requires bravery is not freedom. A life that requires bravery is not free. I accept this award in honor of the truth that the best award, and the award we all deserve, is to be able to get home safe. I accept this award in good faith that my recognition doesn’t lead to the erasure of other trans and GNC folks who also deserve healthcare, housing, safety, and visibility. Magazine covers, runways, leading film and TV roles. Doctorate degrees, high school diplomas, college educations. And families, lovers, and representation everywhere and every space. Each and every one of us, and everyone that we know, our families, friends. Trans people deserve safety, acknowledgement, and respect. Not just when we’re on the cover of magazines, but when we are in the streets, when we are poor, when we are sex workers. When our hair ‘aint laid. When we can’t afford Louis Vuitton. Or when we can’t get access to a hormone shot. And especially when we are dying.
I’d like to conclude my speech by affirming that support like this goes a long way in defining a future of people who are queer and trans, and the quality of life for us, especially when we’re children. About six years ago Lady Gaga made a very generous donation to the foster care agency I lived in. I was living in a group home just before Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals changed my life by including me in Pose. A risk, most would consider me as. Thank you so much Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga directly influenced the quality of life for myself and my peers when we were living in group homes. When we had no families. And you know, institutions aren’t perfect. It’s very hard to replace the families that so many of us are privileged to be born with, with group homes and foster care. So I’m so grateful for the impact that Lady Gaga had. She’s an incredible example that you can make an impact on people’s lives, especially when they make up .6 percent of an entire population. Especially when our lives are at the mercy of political opinions.
Thank you to Lisa Calli, my super manager. My second mom. She introduced me to the audition for Pose. And Josh Otten, who believed in me since day one. He introduced me to the fashion word when no one else believed in me. I thought that I was too risky or not ready. And he’s never left my side since. Thank you for being my friend, Josh. And the people who would change my life forever: Alexa Fogle, the legendary casting director. I’m sure you’ve heard of her. Ryan Murphy, Steven Canals, Brad Fulchuk, Janet Mock, Brad Simpson, Nina Jacobson… the entire FX family, and all those who are responsible for changing my life, and through me the lives of my community. Thank you Nina Garcia. Thank you Zoey Grossman. Oh my god, you made me feel so beautiful and comfortable that day of the shoot, and it reflected in the photo. Steven Gan, thank you so much for being an instrumental part of my inclusion in one of the most powerful spaces in the fashion community in the world. Thank you for the speech. Your words were so beautiful. Jada Yuan, thank you for write up, and cultivating such a beautiful piece on my life in the story. I never thought I would see so many people tagging me in pictures and photos on Instagram of the magazine that they bought. Thank you so much for that incredible Elle party. It was really fun, and I got to shake a whole lot of ass. You know I’m from the Bronx! It’s my culture. Excuse my language.
Thank you, Louis Vuitton, for supporting and sponsoring that event. Nicolas, I love you. One more thing, thank you, mami and papi, for dedicating your lives to raising your children the best way that you could. Thank you for being an incredible example to parents everywhere that it’s possible to learn and adjust your parenting in the best interests of your child’s existence. Thank you for being an example that loving your children unconditionally is fundamental in healing, and can greatly determine the life quality of a child and their future. As a child, to experience this is the greatest safety a human can know. I love you forever.
You cannot raise your children to have a sexuality or to be a certain kind of gender identity. But you can raise them to love and respect themselves and others. Though I have little control over the visibility that awards mean, this Elle cover means to me and my community that we deserve to be loved. That we deserve to be seen, beautiful, safe, and protected. That we deserve to be included, and that we deserve to feel and experience belonging, just as you all do so regularly. That we don’t deserve to live in fear. Just to buy groceries at the store in our own communities. For me there is little honor in being the first, but there is only honor in not being the last. Thank you Elle. And I hope that powerful agencies like IMG, William Morris, and CAA, just as a few examples, continue to uplift marginalized people. And that to see that this value is greater than competition. Thank you so much for listening to my speech.
Photo: Paul Bruinooge/PMC via Getty Images
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