31 Days 31 Trans Voices | Day 16: Charlie T. Craggs, Gives Transphobia the Finger

Charlie T. Craggs, the T is for Try me bitch, is the award-winning trans activist, speaker, and author who is ensuring that trans allies have strikingly manicured nails before they flip their fingers up to transphobia.

Craggs knew she was transgender as far back as she can remember. She fought her feelings for years, scared of how hard it might be to be herself. When Charlie was 21, she started presenting as her authentic female self and quickly realized there wasn’t enough support for young trans women or organizations to challenge misconceptions and help people understand the experiences of trans people at all stages of their transitions.

Charlie Craggs | Photo Matt Spike

Since 2013 – just before what she calls “the trans tipping point – Craggs has been out in force with Nail Transphobia, an online-campaign-turned-traveling-pop-up-salon which educates and exposes people to trans issues while they have their nails painted, free of charge. It gives members of the public who may never have met a trans person an opportunity to have an honest, open conversation in a friendly environment. Charlie has taken her pop-up nail bar around the country to museums, galleries and festivals.

In 2017 she wrote her first book, To My Trans Sisters, an anthology of essays by trans women sharing the lessons they learnt on their journeys to womanhood. 

Craggs believes that by spending one-on-one time with people, she can better help to humanize trans issues. “I saw that there was so much power in the physical and in conversation,” she says. In the years that have passed, Craggs says there has been a lot of progress in terms of media representation which has led to more acceptance and understanding of trans people, but that trans murder rates continue to rise every year. The venomous increase in TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) is also worrying. “We need allies more than ever,” Craggs implores, “which is why I’m launching this new online element of my campaign, we need more people standing up and saying, ‘this is not okay’.”

Craggs launched her nail art brand, Nail It, in 2018. All profits from the brand are donated to Nail Transphobia. Nail It campaigns for awareness on trans issues, including pushing for the creation of trans-inclusive emojis, reclaiming the lobster emoji as a symbol for the trans community.

She has painted thousands of people’s nails but believes there is much more to do. Which is why she’s gone back to Nail Transphobia’s beginnings, by turning it into a hashtag, #NailTransphobia. “I can obviously only do people’s nails who come to my events, but I want people to be able to get involved from all over the world because transphobia is a global problem and not just one here in the UK. So, to celebrate the campaign’s fifth birthday, I decided to go back to its roots and launch a social media campaign, encouraging people to be visible and vocal trans allies.” Her solution? Asking people to paint their middle finger and take a ‘nailfie’, a nail selfie, and post on social media with the hashtag #NailTransphobia.

To celebrate the campaign launch, Craggs teamed up with filmmaker Nova Dando to create a fun step-by-step guide to how we can all give transphobia the finger.

Find the latest Tweets from Charlie T Craggs here @Charlie_Craggs

Follow her on Instagram at @charlie_craggs

Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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