How journalist Imara Jones is fighting anti-trans narratives with her own media company

How journalist Imara Jones is fighting anti-trans narratives with her own media company

PinkNews has spoken to award-winning journalist Imara Jones about how documenting her own story led to the launch of a media company, and about the roots of anti-trans legislation sweeping the US.

Reflecting on the origins of TransLash Media, Jones recalls her initial sceptical response to a colleague suggesting she create a documentary about her experience as a trans woman. “Why would I do that? Nobody’s going to care,” Jones remembers thinking.

But after hearing those words out loud, she realised she didn’t believe them.

“My entire career and my entire life has been about the exact opposite. I fundamentally know that I don’t believe what I said, because [my] commitment is the opposite,” she says.

She realised that if she believed trans stories wouldn’t resonate, then others were likely to hold that belief too. “That means that I [had] to do it,” she explains.

Through TransLash, the resulting documentary series, Jones set out to tell her story, as well as those of the trans community and the country as a whole during the Trump years.

“I believe that what is happening to trans people is an indicator and a way to understand what’s happening in this country overall,” she says.

Six years later and TransLash is a not-for-profit media platform that continues to tell the stories of the trans community through videos, podcasts, news articles and even a zine.

Looking back, Jones says that TransLash’s tagline – we tell trans stories to save trans lives – is a “bedrock part of the DNA, but it had to start with me first valuing my own life”.

Uncovering who’s behind anti-trans rhetoric

In 2023, there were 600 anti-trans bills written at national and state levels in the US – far surpassing the previous year’s record of 174 – with 87 passing.

This year is set break that record again, with 597 new anti-trans bills already in existence.

While many seem to think this increase in anti-trans rhetoric and laws came out of nowhere, Jones noticed the coincidence immediately.

“I don’t think we were caught off guard as an organisation,” she recalls. “Because almost from the very beginning we saw these bills, we were on the story.

“I know enough about the way things work that if you see the same thing that appears isolated and not reacting to something that is actually going on in society, and if you see that thing in more than one place, that very well may not be a coincidence.”

As Jones and her team dug deeper they uncovered “the people, the money, the organisations, the politicians, the groups, the religious ideology and the billionaires behind the legislation.”

The resulting award-winning podcast series, The Anti-Trans Hate Machine, uncovered who’s behind it all and how the Christian Nationalist movement has created a “parallel media ecosystem where they are hacking journalism in mainstream media organisations”.

Imara Jones’ TransLash Media produces news and information highlighting the trans experience. (Imara Jones)

The challenges that come with intersectional identities

Jones’s openness to document her own life offers up a powerful perspective on navigating careers through the lens of intersectionality.

She emphasises that while various identities can bring unique experiences to the workplace, for marginalised groups, identities such as race, gender and sexuality, when combined, often create compounded challenges.

Her experiences as a Black trans woman have led “to things I can see as a result that I try to use in my life and in my job”.

She does note the flip side though. “I’ve experienced some not-so-great experiences as a result of having those compounding identities, and that’s been a reality. At the same time, I have gotten some really powerful insights from those experiences.”

As Jones reflects on launching TransLash Media, she is certain her task will never be finished.

“I understand and know with all of my being that with each passing year, the work is more important. It will be more important in 2025 than it was in 2024, and I think it’s going to be more important in 2026, than in 2025.

“That’s been my experience from day one, and I don’t see any of the forces that have driven us to this point, [or] attacks on trans people, slowing down anytime soon.”

The post How journalist Imara Jones is fighting anti-trans narratives with her own media company appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.

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