One Year Later: Houston advocates reflect on intersection of BLM and LGBTQ+
Verniss McFarland III

The Mahogany Project (TMP) announces the grand opening of its first center in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 10 p.m.

TMP was founded in 2017 by activist Verniss McFarland III after the tragic death of Chyna Gibson, a Black transgender woman and well-known performer who was shot and killed in New Orleans that same year.

Since its launch, the local non-profit has created a virtual space to reduce the stigma, social isolation, and acts of injustice among TQLGB+ communities of color.

“Our whole intention at TMP Center is to build family bonds. This space was created where you can drop in, hang out, read books, play games, and just be yourself,” McFarland said. “People can come in and request services that we provide also.”

Some of those services and resources the center provides include supplying self-defense and safe sex kits, food assistance, mutual aid access, identification replacement (birth certificates and passports), notary, and transportation. They will provide free community-based training via social media.

Ashley Rosebrough, the program manager at TMP Center

Ashley Rosebrough, the program manager at TMP Center, said she identifies as a cis-gender ally and it wasn’t until the George Floyd protests in 2020 that she was compelled to find a place to serve people who looked like her. McFarland connected with her to assist and eventually introduced her to TMP. She was hooked.    

“I officially became involved in February 2021. Growing up I wasn’t introduced to these spaces. I’m here to amplify the voices of Black transgender people, she said. “I want Black Houston to be open to learning what you don’t know. We can’t fight for equity and inclusion if we aren’t doing the same for ourselves.”


To attend, get your ticket here

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...