Last year, GiGi Marie Thomas, a leading sex worker and trans activist in Washington D.C., was arrested and charged with murder on an evening where she was attacked by an individual who was later found dead. SWOP is deeply concerned for GiGi, who was not allowed to post bail and has been in jail awaiting trial for over four months.
Gigi has been a powerhouse of sex worker and trans activism for over a decade. From Penelope Saunders, the current ED of Best Practices Policy Project and then director of HIPS:
I’ve known Gigi for more than 15 years and she has helped everyone she met. She helped me find a place for Different Avenues to have its first office, she helped so many sex workers and transgender people, she constantly went to court standing side by side with people facing charges. She worked at HIPS for many years as a steady presence for all who sought services there. Along the way, she earned her Masters in Social Work. Gigi has been truly fearless in the face of oppression. For example, while collecting surveys about policing via “prostitution free zones”, she herself had to face police violence because she was targeted for gathering key information that was ultimately used to hold the police accountable. In 2014 the District of Columbia repealed the “prostitution free zone” legislation and the data that Gigi collected was integral to that work.
Transgender women of color face a violent society every day of their lives and face injustice at the hands of the criminal justice system on a regular basis. Late last year, Gigi, after saving the lives of so many trans women and women of color in street-based economies, saved her own life–and is incarcerated and awaiting trial.
To learn more about GiGi as well as community mobilization to support GiGi, click here.