The Internet can be a place that offers community and connection to anyone. It’s especially helpful to people who live at the intersections of marginalized identity markers. For Ivana (Iv) Fischer, a Black Latina trans woman, being online has provided her a sense of community, love, and support. Fischer has been vlogging on YouTube since 2017, covering topics from make up to dating to the hardships trans woman face because of misinformation and discrimination. Today, she has a combined following of over twelve thousand people across multiple platforms and shows no signs of stopping.
During her video titled, Q&A #1 she answered a number of questions from viewers about her life and experiences. “I first realized I was trans in elementary school when everyone was coming for me and asking me, ‘why do you walk like a girl? Why do you talk like a girl?’; because… I am one’ She replied. “And from that moment on I knew I was different from everyone.” Fischer went on to say that she always felt isolated and alone because she was different and would get picked on.
For trans people feelings of isolation, sadness, and depression are very common; nearly half of all people that identify as transgender experience depression and or anxiety. An estimated startling and somber 41% of trans people have attempted suicide. Trans men have a 46% suicide attempt rate and trans women have a 42% attempt rate. The most common reasons for suicide attempts amongst transgender people are the ways in which the world treats them and perpetuates violence against them. A 2014 UCLA school of law report cited homelessness – often times because of family abandonment or landlord discrimination; family disownment because of their trans identity; and violence at the hand of medical practitioners and law enforcement are the leading stressors that lead trans people to attempting suicide.
“After 17 years of hating yourself, hiding in the closet, and just beating yourself up everyday for reasons unknown. Then finally having the courage and knowledge to realize you’re that bitch led me to be [confident]. I draw confidence from being trans,” Fischer explains. She says that she learned about transgender identity in 2015 and it helped her in many ways. Not only did she find language that has helped her be who she is right now, but she has also taken her experiences to help other people understand themselves and see themselves in her work.
Free, accurate, and diverse educational information about identity and gender literally has the ability to save lives. This is why advocates are pushing the federal policy that allows young people to get accurate and holistic sexual and interpersonal health education that includes conversations about gender identity. In California, advocates are fighting for the rights of incarcerated trans people with The Transgender Respect and Dignity Act (S.B 312). If passed, this bill would make it possible for trans people to have safer interactions in California jails through allowing them to be housed in accordance to how they identify.
Fischer’s infectious and humorous personality makes her a lot of fun to watch, follow, and learn from. In an interview with VoyageATL.com, she describes herself as, “a YouTuber, Writer, Performer, and Event Hostess. I specialize in making people laugh and am known for turning a look from time to time. My charisma and unique style has developed over the years.” Ever-growing and expanding her creativity, she performed in her first drag show in December of 2018. This performance was followed by a half time a performance in her hometown of Atlanta. Since these two performances, she’s had the opportunity to perform more often and thankfully she uploaded an electrifyingly good lip sync video of one of her performances her YouTube channel.
However, Fischer isn’t just about performing, amazing makeup tutorials, and serving in photos. She includes educational information in her videos as well. During one of her videos she talks about how she started hormone treatment through her university’s health center; an option that some people may not have realized was available to them. In another, she walks people through her research and process of deciding about getting breast implants and makes sure to answer common questions that other trans women may have about the procedure. Additionally, she is the Culture Editor of Wussy Magazine, an Atlanta based publication with an eye on pop culture and queer art, and will start a new video segment for the publication.
Most recently, she was the cover girl of Project Q Atlanta’s, Q Magazine, where she channeled the one of the foremothers of the Stonewall Riot, Marsha ‘Pay It No Mind’ Johnson, aka Marsha P Johnson. Marsha and Sylvia Rivera – a trans Puerto Rican women – led a riot of righteous anger at the Stone Wall Inn in lower Manhattan one night to rally against discrimination from the LGBTQ community and police surveillance. This riot kicked off the start of what we now know as Pride Month. Always remember that a trans woman of color is why we now have Pride month and any and all LGBTQ inclusive laws.
Trans women of color have been fighting for their rights since the beginning of time and unfortunately face higher rates of murder and violence for simply being themselves. This year alone 10 documented cases of Black trans women being murdered have been reported and the trans community in New York City is still demanding answers for Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza’s death at Rikers Island.
Iv Fischer is one of many trans women of color living in her truth and making the world a better place for trans women through her mere existence, let alone her informational social media posts and impactful content on Wussy Magazine. Fischer says it best herself: “I am proud to call myself a hard-working, enlightened and positive example of the millions of trans people around the world. We, as a community, are providing ourselves with the agency to thrive. We are working toward an existence free of the constraints of a system that was built on our backs. Success is on the horizon, and I aim to be there to witness it.” You can follow Fischer’s work online at @IvFischer on all social media platforms.