Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
After a decade of trying to create a safe space for the transgender community, Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd’s dreams have finally come true.
The founder and executive director of Transgender Advocate Knowledgeable and Empowering (TAKE) on Friday held a ribbon cutting on the east side of Birmingham.
“This is a moment in time, this is a moment in history,” Boyd said. “I’ll never forget dreaming of TAKE in 2013 at my dining room table and having my first peer support meeting.”
The organization has come a long way over the past 10 years, said the founder.
“Our mission statement is working together as a community to improve the quality of life of trans people of color by meeting needs and increasing accessibility,” said Boyd.
TAKE, a nonprofit that provides holistic services to transgender individuals, has hosted soft grand openings before and allowed individuals to tour the facilities “but never actually blessed the space never actually cut the ribbon,” Boyd said. “And the reason is because I thought the spaces that we had back then was alright but they were only good enough for a community but not for people to tour like here.”
The grand opening of the TAKE Resource Center comes on the same day that Central Alabama Pride, a leading non-profit organization advocating for LGBTQ rights, condemned HB401 introduced in the Alabama Legislature which seeks to ban drag performances throughout the state.
Josh Coleman, President of Central Alabama Pride, said the legislation “is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and the vibrant culture of the LGBTQ community in Alabama. Drag performances have long been a source of empowerment, resilience, and unity for our community, and banning them is an affront to our fundamental rights … The passage of HB401 would send a dangerous message to our community that our rights and dignity are disposable.”
Boyd agreed and said, “Whatever profession people choose to go into to make money, drag is a profession, it pays people bills, it’s expensive to do so you can’t do it for free and it’s an art. It’s on television, people watch it, kids will see it even if it’s not on television they can Google it. It’s bothers me to think people will try to control and police other one’s identities, expressions, arts, and crafts.
TAKE’s newly-opened building on the east side of Birmingham has four bathrooms with showers, a laundry room, a clothing boutique and more. “It looks more formal and people can receive all of their services here. It’s like a one stop shop,” said Boyd who is also excited about not having to rent facilities anymore for outside activities.
“We have a large back yard and it’ll be more like [an] oasis for our outdoor activities. We are also building an outdoor gym fitness area and a staff sanctuary where staff take relax and take breaks,” Boyd said.
“We have a clothing closet, people will be able to come in and take showers, the trans community will be able to use the laundry facility and wash their clothes.”
In addition, TAKE will provide hot meals that will sometimes be ordered from surrounding restaurants; chicken from a deep fryer, grilled chicken and ribs to make sure community members are fed, Boyd said. “We also have a food pantry here now where people will be able to get food twice a month, and also get gift cards or voucher where they can get frozen meat.”
Asked what Boyd’s level of excitement for the grand opening and what can attendees expect Boyd said, the opening “is a true celebration of joy, liberation of where we have come from … “
Boyd’s hope for the grand opening is “is to raise awareness and bring attention to the longevity work that TAKE have been doing, get other people involved, get more sponsors and collaborations and partnerships with intentional relationships with the organization and the work we’re doing.”
Boyd pointed to a mural on the building and said, “As you look around the building, the pictures here tell a story … these are people that have never left my side and have never forsaken me. Many of these people are still alive, we have to give people their roses while they are still here because when I’m dead and gone my work that I have done in Birmingham, AL, everybody will be talking about it. This building here is a landmark; this is Black trans history here.”
TAKE will operate Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays and 11 a.m. until 8:30p.m. For more on TAKE visit here