Raquel Willis is an award winning author, activist, and media strategist who is leading the charge towards Black transgender liberation.
Willis has dedicated her career to activism with roles including serving as the Communications Director for Ms. Foundation for Women, the Executive Editor of Out magazine, and the National Organizer for the Transgender Law Center. Willis earned countless accolades for her work as a journalist, including three GLAAD Media Awards.
Now, this multi-talented and passionate advocate has released her highly anticipated first book titled “The Risk it Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation.”
In the memoir, “Willis recounts with passion and candor her experiences straddling the Obama and Trump eras, the possibility of transformation after tragedy, and how complex moments can push us all to take necessary risks and bloom toward collective liberation.”
Less than a week since the memoir’s debut, it is already being met with critical acclaim, with Time Magazine saying, “Raquel Willis’s powerful new memoir shows how she became the trailblazing Black transgender activist she is today. But The Risk it Takes to Bloom isn’t just about her own transformation, it’s also a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community that inspired her fight for collective liberation” and Publishers Weekly stating, “This pleasantly conversational memoir mixes somber activism and youthful levity, combining glittering details of a buoyant social life with sorrowful reflections on violence against trans people. It’s an inspiring account.”
On Tuesday, November 14th, Willis and fellow trans activist Laverne Cox appeared at New York’s Strand Bookstore for a conversation about the book and trans liberation.
This was the first stop on Willis’s “The Risk it Takes to Bloom” book tour. She is touring the country to meet fans and share conversation with several incredible activists including Elliot Page, TS Madison, and more. See below for more details.
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“The Risk it Takes to Bloom” is available for purchase now.
On top of all this, Willis is also hosting a new 7-part podcast series titled Afterlives.
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The first episode of Afterlives, premiered November 15th during Transgender Awareness Week. It honors the life and legacy of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, an Afro-Latina trans woman who died after being sentenced to jail on Riker’s Island in New York City.
Inspired by Willis’s award-winning Trans Obituaries Project in Out Magazine, this podcast will “unpack the systems that failed Layleen leading up to her death at Rikers through in-depth interviews with activists fighting against the criminalization of sex work, solitary confinement, and the epidemic of anti-trans violence.”
Check out the first episode of Afterlives below:
Watch Willis’s interview about the program on CBS News: