UK Black Pride, the world’s largest volunteer-led organisation celebrating African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQIA+ people, has launched 16th Century Life Expectancy. This campaign, created by award-winning agency McCann London, raises awareness of the dangers of misinformation spreading about the black trans community and asks for improved access to healthcare for trans people.
One of the most harmful pieces of misinformation states black trans women have a life expectancy of just 35. This bleak life expectancy statistic first arose when a report compiled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the average age of trans homicide victims in South America was between 30 and 35. Although a very real and shocking statistic for that specific group, it has since been extrapolated, misappropriated, and shared across social media fuelling a rippling effect of fear for a vulnerable section of society.
McCann London’s creative idea sees five leaders of the Black trans community reimagined as paintings from the 16th Century, which was a period in history where the life expectancy was just 35, with the aim of sparking conversation and debate around misinformation and the harm it can do.
The five individuals featured in the exhibition are: Talulah Eve (the first transgender woman on Britain’s Next Top Model), Amani Cosmo, Ebun Sodipo, Mzz Kimberley, and Rico Jacob Chace. Their portraits were revealed at an exhibition hosted by world-renowned auction house Christie’s as a part of their Christie’s Lates London: Pride showcase. The exhibition will continue to exist via an online gallery on 16th-Century.com where the trans rights the campaign is lobbying for, ways people can join the fight, historical context and more examples of misinformation around the trans community, can be accessed.
As the UK continues to descend the ILGA’s Rainbow Europe ranking for the third year running and as trans rights diminish, violence and a lack of adequate access to healthcare remain, the project seeks to answer how the UK can safeguard the community, citing countries such as Malta which has implemented models of healthcare grounded in self-determination based on informed consent. UK Black Pride is asking allies, via a letter on the 16th Century website, to open discussions with MPs across the UK asking for the rights and safety of trans people to be a priority; and for an urgent review of waiting times for trans-related care which can be up to five years.
McCann London is working with UK Black Pride’s network of trans activists such as Radam Ridwan and Tate Smith to further amplify the campaign’s message through an additional series of portraits. These trans activists and additional members of the LGBTQIA+ community will share their portraits across social media. The wider community is also encouraged to get behind the campaign by creating their own 16th Century portraits via an Instagram filter available on UK Black Pride’s page using the hashtag #16thCenturyLifeExpectancy.
The portraits are now live across UK Black Pride social channels and are also running across DOOH sites kindly donated by Clear Channel, and OOH sites donated by wildposting media company, UNCLE. The portraits are supported by a BTS film, starring the five cast members.
Featured image: 16th Century Life Expectancy campaign