Recipients of the 2022 TransLife Awards / Screenshot via Facebook

Celebrating TransLife the Atlanta Way

The 3rd Annual TransLife Awards is one of the first events to kick off this year’s Atlanta Black Pride Month. The TransLife Awards is the first event of its kind in the country, founded by community leader Dewayne Queen in 2021 with the help of Atlanta Black Pride and In The Life Atlanta. The TransLife Awards “honor the unselfish contributions and never-ending work of the members of the Transgender and non-binary communities,” the organization states on its website.

Since Labor Day weekend in 1996, Atlanta Black Pride Weekend has attracted Black LGBTQ locals and neighbors for safe, open, cultural events for Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. Each year, local vendors, artists, and performers offer a variety of events, from the Unity Ball to the Pure Heat Community Festival in Piedmont Park. The weekend promises “male” and “female” events leading up to Pure Heat and the Annual White Party.

Queen, dismayed by the increased antitrans rhetoric in the media, noticed a lack of trans programming leading up to the 2021 Atlanta Black Pride Weekend.

“The transgender community is not a monolith,” he said in an interview with Georgia Voice. “So, why not highlight people in the areas that they’re comfortable in and they’re working and that they’re making change in and they’re being change agents within their scope of their community?”

Last year, the TransLife Awards honored community pillars like Dr. Annise Mabry, whose nonprofit organization offers the only diploma program in Georgia for sex trafficking survivors, homeless LGBTQ youth, youth aging out of foster care, and those who had dropped out of high school called the Tiers Free Academy Alternative Diploma Program. Despite Dr. Mabry’s cisgender identity, her efforts in LGBTQ youth education and health care warrant her Pioneer of Community award.

Queen wanted the TransLife Awards to highlight grassroots activists like Zahara Green, founder and executive director of the trans-led community organization group, TRANScending Barriers, and last year’s Pioneer of Well-Being; and Hope Giselle, founder of #AllowMe and the first openly trans woman to graduate with a Master of Fine Arts at Alabama State University, as well as the first Black openly trans woman to give a keynote speech at NASA. Giselle was the 2022 Pioneer of Advocacy.

Queen emphasized the importance of supporting trans people within the LGBTQ community.

“When the trans community goes to legislation about an issue, they don’t just go on behalf of the trans community,” he said. “They go on behalf of all LGBTQ, and I think that they have an understanding that we have yet to grasp in society: we are better together than we are separate.”

Pioneer of the Year 2022 was awarded to reality star and LGBTQ activist Ts “Maddie” Madison. Queen said he admires how Madison uses her platform to educate people on trans and LGBTQ issues.

“[She] does not shy away from the things that are frontline issues within the transgender community,” he said. “She will speak directly to the inequities in health care. She will speak directly to the importance of making sure that trans lives are seen, heard and appreciated … No matter how big her starlight gets.”

This year, awardees include Atlanta’s favorite drag queen, Taylor ALXNDR, named Pioneer of Inspiration, alongside Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, Tori Cooper, who will be named Pioneer of Culture. This year’s Pioneer of the Year will go to trans activist Alex Santiago, who is on the advisory board for the Mayor’s Division of LGBTQ Affairs, ATLGBTQ+, and founder of The I Am Human Foundation.

The TransLife Class of 2023 Pioneers are:

Inspiration: Taylor ALXNDR

Resilience: Malik Brown

Advocacy: Dominique Morgan

Community: Chloe Jordan

Culture: Tori Cooper

Well-Being: Toi Washington-Reynolds

Pioneer of the Year: Alex Santiago

Lifetime Achievement: Dee Dee Chamblee

Vision: Raquel Thomas

Education: Amari McGee

The TransLife Awards start at 6pm on September 2 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Tickets can be purchased for $25 at until September 1. The ticket includes admission and a plated dinner. Visit for the full calendar of Atlanta Black Pride Weekend events.