Gigi has been a powerhouse of  sex worker and trans activism for over a decade.

 

In October 2015, Gigi Thomas survived a violent attack on her life. Transgender women of color face a violent society every day of their lives and face injustice at the hands of the criminal justice system on a regular basis. After saving the lives of so many trans women and women of color in street-based economies, saved her own life–and is incarcerated.

Advocates in the D.C. area, where Gigi is a well-known representative of the LGBTQ community and social worker, have maintained that the charges she is facing are an injustice. One person quoted in The Washington Blade last year said that the case must be understood against the “backdrop of black transgender women being killed in large numbers across the country because of their gender identity. Gigi knew about that as an activist and she fought back.”

Concern about Gigi’s case is pouring in from around the nation. Ceyenne Doroshow, a transgender leader who is also the founder of GLITS and advisor to SWOP Behind Bars, has supported scores of community members who have ended up behind bars and has had the experience herself. “As a society we have become used to hearing the news of another transgender woman being killed,” she notes. “In this case Gigi did not die. She lived. She is one of our leaders surviving. I will be traveling to be in court so she knows that she is not alone and that we continue to recognize her as the leader she is.”

Other advocates have expressed similar sentiments linking what has happened to Gigi to high profile cases where transgender women survived brutal attacks only to be punished by the courts. “It is important that every black trans woman fights for her life and that together we are not erased,” notes Monica Jones, who like Gigi is a social worker and a black trans woman. “Here is how the system works. We are supposed to be erased, by the police, by the courts, and by cisgender men who commit violence against us. Gigi refused to be erased and she is still here. Now she is suffering the consequences of fighting for her life. Gigi’s case highlights, just like CeCe Mcdonald’s case, the value the courts place on cisgender lives and the costs imposed on transgender women.” Monica Jones is founder of The Outlaw Project at BPPP.

In our communication with GiGi, one of her main requests was that her work continues to live on and make an impact
— SWOP-USA

Gigi’s ability to assist people is legendary in the D.C. area. One woman who was the beneficiary of Gigi’s professionalism and commitment to helping people in need recalls,

I was at a fork in the road of my life. 9 month old on hip, no money, no people… Gigi showed up looking so beautiful, strong and loving. She was so safe and strong. Six weeks later due to her support and guidance I had my own two bedroom apartment. Gigi Thomas leaves love in her footprint and I am privileged to have met her. I would never have been able to become an advocate for human rights without meeting her.

During the long wait for her trial date Gigi has continued her advocacy for the communities she cares about, joining the advisory of SWOP Behind Bars, a group dedicated to supporting incarcerated sex workers, and the advisory of the Best Practices Policy Project. “I’m advocating behind bars for transgender rights,” Gigi wrote to us, “keeping myself grounded in spirituality, and lifting up the spirits of others behind bars by giving them peer counseling, or even just a word of advice. I’m getting involved in programs to keep myself motivated.

Representatives of SWOP USA have compiled information about Gigi’s achievements. In addition to working at many organizations in the D.C. area such as HIPS and being a founding member of several organizations including Different Avenues, Gigi was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia. She then worked at Family Medical Counseling Services until 2012, when she left to pursue a Masters in Social Work at Howard University as a full-time student. She graduated as an MSW in Spring, 2014. She worked as a job specialist and case manager at Jobs Have Priority, an agency in Greenbelt, MD, from the time she graduated until her arrest in October 2015.

 

*please consider donating to the fundraiser for her ongoing legal support*


Things aren’t like they used to be, five and ten years ago, they are getting better. Some people might look at it as a slow change, but any change is a positive change, and I’m just so glad that I’m a part of the change.
— GiGi Thomas, 2010

"....one of those people who just gives and gives with all they have...."

GiGi's List of Acheivements

  • In addition to working at many organizations in the D.C. area such as HIPS and being a founding member of several organizations including Different Avenues, Gigi was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia.
  • She then worked at Family Medical Counseling Services until 2012, when she left to pursue a Masters in Social Work at Howard University as a full-time student. She graduated as an MSW in Spring, 2014.
 
  • She worked as a job specialist and case manager at Jobs Have Priority, an agency in Greenbelt, MD, from the time she graduated until her arrest in October 2015.
  • Over the years, GiGi helped thousands of community members find shelter and sustenance, reunited families, cared for the injured, and spoke out about injustice especially regarding the treatment of the trans community.

What Do People Say About GiGi?

 

"She deserves support because she has touched more lives than mine and she does more good on the outside of a cage than inside. She needs support because we kill people of color like we are throwing away an old newspaper; we kill transgender people like we are changing clothes. At some point we have to stop this. I stop and start with someone who introduced me to love and a life worth surviving for. I am blessed to be touched by GiGi and people are blessed by the work I do and I hope my daughter and people I have touched continue to spread the love GiGi introduced to me." - Bonnie D
“She’s done so much for the community. She cared so greatly for so many people when she was a client advocate here at HIPS and she continued to be a respected colleague.” - Cyndee Clay, HIPS

“As a society we have become used to hearing the news of another transgender woman being killed. In this case Gigi did not die. She lived. She is one of our leaders surviving." - Ceyenne Doroshow, SWOP

“It is important that every black trans woman fights for her life and that together we are not erased...Here is how the system works. We are supposed to be erased, by the police, by the courts, and by cisgender men who commit violence against us. Gigi refused to be erased and she is still here. Now she is suffering the consequences of fighting for her life." - Monica Jones, founder of The Outlaw Project 
“I was at a fork in the road of my life. 9 month old on hip, no money, no people… Gigi showed up looking so beautiful, strong and loving. She was so safe and strong. Six weeks later due to her support and guidance I had my own two bedroom apartment. Gigi Thomas leaves love in her footprint and I am privileged to have met her. I would never have been able to become an advocate for human rights without meeting her.” [Anon]
“...one of those people who just gives and gives with all they have.....an amazing woman with a heart of gold.” - Friends of GiGis
"I’ve known Gigi for more than 15 years and she has helped everyone she met. She helped me find a place for Different Avenues to have its first office, she helped so many sex workers and transgender people, she constantly went to court standing side by side with people facing charges. She worked at HIPS for many years as a steady presence for all who sought services there." - Penelope Saunders, the current ED of Best Practices Policy Project and then director of HIPS: