Transgender Day Of Remembrance, celebrated annually on November 20th, honors transgender individuals who have lost their lives to bigoted violence. Trans people face some of the highest levels of harassment, assault, and violence of any minority group. This year alone, the Human Rights Campaign reports 42 murdered trans people. As political rhetoric criminalizes trans people, legal discrimination traps them, and violence endangers them, too many face roadblocks to their best lives. Even walking down the street trans can be a risk.
In honor of the commemorative day, trans icons Trace Lysette and Chanel Jolé speak to all this and more in a new track with Boston rapper Cazwell, “Taser in my Telfar Bag.” The single places the focus on trans people not as victims, but as empowered individuals society must do better to protect. The trio shared a new video for the track today.
Cazwell, who is queer, materialized the song after learning of a brutal attack on Trans women Eden the Doll, Jaslene White Rose, and Joclyn Flawless in 2020. Amidst a social media outcry of trans women sharing stories of harassment, Cazwell remembered one tweet about keeping a taser in a Telfar bag for protection.
“It just kind of clicked,” Cazwell shared. “That along with the need to protect Trans women while shouting out an ally like Telfar made the song feel current and relevant.”
Cazwell brought on Lysette and Jolé to drop bars over the addictive beat, built off the zap of a taser. Trace and Chanel shared with Cazwell they feel most unsafe during the day, inspiring a daytime video shoot. The glitzy music video paints them having fun before placing tasers, “one for my purse and one for the Mercedes,” at an aggressor’s neck.
Dolled up in nails, lashes, and the eponymous Telfar bags, Lysette and Jole aren’t to be messed with. The video brings to life a comical skit where Cazwell sells the ladies their electric shocker of choice. Lysette and Jolé are clear about their intentions with the tasers.
“Just give me a taser and I’ll zap his dick quick/ Then use a flashlight to apply my lipstick,” they spit. Cazwell sells them pink tasers pointedly labeled “Police.” Trans women not only face violence on the street, but from law enforcement as well.
“I’ve been the victim of many hate crimes so this is more than just a song for me,” Lysette shared. “This is a statement to all those weirdos who not only hurt Trans women but all women.”
Cazwell hopes the single released ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance will inspire listeners to donate to Trans Defense Fund LA. The mutual aid group is dedicated to creating remedies (like protective safety kits) to the disproportionate violence Trans women face. Listeners who share proof of donation will receive an exclusive remix of “Taser in my Telfar Bag.” To donate, visit here.