Bensimon Brings Black Transmen, Inc. to Kansas

There is a new trans support, resource, and advocacy group in Kansas. Black Trans Men, Inc.® (BTMI) was founded in 2011 with a mission to ensure that all transgender men and SLGBTQI individuals are acknowledged, provided equal access and protection under the law to contribute to a productive society. We accomplish our mission of equality, advocacy and empowerment for our greater social community, through education.
    Luc Malik Bensimon, one of the founding members of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (K-STEP), has been on K-STEP’s board of directors since the organization was formed in 2010, and he has provided dozens of educational presentations throughout Kansas. He is in his third year as chair of the Topeka Chapter of Equality Kansas. He has been working more than two years to bring the advocacy and much-needed efforts of BTMI to Kansas.
    Luc is also well known in Kansas as a performer known as Tee Raynbow. He has captured many titles and he has greatly influenced gender non-conforming entertainment in the Sunflower State. He has been my friend for several years, and I will emphatically tell you that it has been a honor to be able to say that.
    Something a lot of people don’t know about Luc, is that he is the patriarch of a very large family. Many TGNC (trans and gender non-conforming) people in Kansas affectionately refer to him as Daddy. Luc’s family is a collection of human beings who, like him, have struggled with understanding how they fit into a society that tells TGNC people we don’t belong here. The members of Luc’s family always know they have someone to turn to, and a place to belong.
    In 2014, Luc began sharing with K-STEP and the Topeka Chapter of Equality Kansas about this conference in Dallas called the Black Trans Advocacy Conference (BTAC). Although we were not able to help Luc make it to the 2014 conference, there was a concerted effort to help him make it to the 2015 conference. Contributions for financial support came from across the state and the funding goal was met.
    Last April, Luc was able to attend his first BTAC conference in Dallas. He came back to Kansas with great energy and great hopes, and feeling like he had learned so much to enable his hope, to continuously become a better advocate and educator, here in Kansas.
    During the summer, Luc facilitated efforts to connect K-STEP and BTMI. Those efforts resulted in reward when Carter Brown came to Manhattan, KS for the 3rd annual TransKansas conference last September. Mia Brown, representing Black Transwomen, Inc. came as well. Their presentations brought invaluable diversity to the conference, and indispensable value to LGBT people of color advocacy and education in the State of Kansas.
    Recently, Luc was named as Kansas representative for BTMI. He is already busy at work, spreading information and providing resources. One of those resources is an in-person support group in Topeka that meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5-7pm. The Topeka group is followed by a national online group from 7-8:30pm.
    Services of BTMI are not limited to transgender men of color. If you need help, know someone who needs help, are interested in helping support BTMI, or if you are just looking for information, please contact Luc at [email protected] or (785) 408-6435, or visit the BTMI website at www.blacktransmen.org.
    The 5th Annual National Black Trans Advocacy Conference & Awards Gala will be held in Dallas, TX, April 25-May 1. For more information visit www.blacktrans.org/conference/btac-welcome.html. l

StephanieMott-7Stephanie Mott is a transgender woman from Topeka. She is the executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. Reach her at [email protected]

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