The Greensboro Mural Project is making a mural at the People’s Perk coffee shop to honor “Wonderful Women and Fabulous Femmes.” Among these women is Miss Major Giffin-Gracy, a star of the trans-activist community.
“Miss Major Griffin-Gracy was nominated in our first round, made it to the second round, and was selected during a community voting period,” said Greensboro Mural Project co-founder, Alyzza May.
For those working on the mural and any who were interested, the Greensboro Mural Project hosted a documentary movie night all about Miss Major, her legacy and her accomplishments.
The movie documented her work with the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, where she helped support transgender women who have been imprisoned.
A crisis the movie shed light on was the large number of trans women of color incarcerated. The women are placed with male prisoners where they face violent cruelties such as rape. Miss Major is known as “Mama Major” to the many girls she has helped over her life.
The film, “Major!” was done by filmmaker Annalise Ophelian.
“While Miss Major’s story is a new one for many cis LGB audiences, in trans communities around the world she’s a legendary leader and inspiration model,” said Ophelian.
“It’s wonderful to see her getting this sort of recognition, and she and I have talked about how wonderful it also is that she’s no longer one of the only women organizing and fighting for trans rights, there’s such strong leadership by and for trans women and especially trans women of color.”
Ophelian was one of the people to give Miss Major the news about the upcoming mural.
“This tickled my heart,” said Major. “This was so cute. You see them on the sides of buildings and stuff and you always go “Ooooh.’ It’s funny to be one of the ‘Ooooh’ people. I’m trying to be casual about it and not as giddy. When I first heard about it, it was…’Oh happy time.’”
The movie also highlighted that Miss Major was a veteran of the Stonewall riots in 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
Beyond riots and police, Miss Major had powered through other societal challenges. She had been expelled from two colleges for wearing dresses. When she went to a father’s class with her baby son, the organization shut the door on her.
“I’m excited about bringing people together to learn more about the incredible work fostering community and advocating for trans women, trans women of color especially, in the prison system,” said May.
“The first time I saw this I was bowled over by all the work Miss Major has done, and continues to do. She inspires me to be a better version of myself for the betterment of our community.”
The screening of Miss Major’s film happened a couple days after the one year mark of when HB2 was passed in North Carolina.
“It’s such a shame to our state,” said May. “After the election, Miss Major made the decision to leave the San Francisco Bay area and move to Little Rock, Arkansas, which caught many off guard.
“But at this very moment Miss Major, and countless others, are fighting against a similar bathroom bill facing Arkansas. I bring this up to showcase the importance of overturning HB2…but also so that other states don’t get the impression that hate is okay to legislate. I also bring it up to showcase the continued work of Miss Major to advocate for the safety and well-being of trans and gender non-conforming people.”
Though Miss Major is now retired and over 70 years old, she strives to be always be a service to her community.
“I moved to Arkansas because the community here is really struggling and all the girls that I’ve trained in New York are busy and their active and we’re fighting the good fight and trying to get our rights given to us, not even restored, but get them.
“There wasn’t as much as a need for me and since I retired, you feel so useless if you’re not doing something. I moved here and it’s been a really wonderful and interesting step for me to take later in life as it is.”
Holden Cession, co-host of the documentary viewing and member of the Greensboro Mural project, thinks the mural of Miss Major is important for North Carolina’s trans community.
We need to see more images of trans people period,” they said. “I think it’s really important because we live in a state where HB2 was created and other states are trying to do something similar in their legislation.
“I think it’s really important that we challenge our city to really dig deeper and think more about the trans community. Trans people play an important role in history and play an important role now as a social movement. To have Miss Major on the mural is really important.”
Learn more about Miss Major and the documentary go to www.missmajorfilm.com
To learn more about the Greensboro Mural Project go to www.greensboromuralproject.com