In 2018, trans activist and poet María José started House of Grace to create a community where trans and nonbinary people of color in Puerto Rico could safely explore their identities. The need for spaces like these has only become more urgent: the Human Rights Campaign reports that at least 12 LGBTQ people have been killed in Puerto Rico since the start of 2019, and the island’s governor declared a state of emergency over gender violence on Jan. 24. “This is such a cruel world to us,” says Coqueta, a 25-year-old trans dancer, one of 12 members in the House of Grace collective, who meet and live in locations including Guaynabo, Río Piedras and Toa Baja. “All the members of the house have chosen this as their family because they know they don’t have the same support elsewhere,” she says. Beibijavi, 23, had left their biological family’s house—“It wasn’t a safe space for me,” they say—and lived intermittently with different members of House of Grace during the pandemic. Among the collective, self-care, collaboration and mutual support are key. “That’s our foundation: we got each other,” Coqueta says.
Read the TIME article here "How Communities of Color Have Found Strength, Joy and Comfort in a Year Like No Other"
Reporting by Alejandra Rosa
Photo by Gabriella N. Báez and María José
This project was supported by Magnum Foundation