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There Ain't Nothing Sweet About Sweet Auburn

Artist Feature of Ingeborg Everaerd

CC’s story is a reflection of the struggles experienced by many black Trans women in the US. May CC's memory serve as a reminder of the challenges yet to be overcome and the importance of fostering a world where everyone can live.

Once upon a time, in the shabby streets of Sweet Auburn, Atlanta, I met a soul who would forever leave an indelible mark on my heart. It was the year 2017 when I first met her, a black Trans woman named CC, facing the challenges of homelessness and addiction.

CC asked me to photograph her. Touched by her vulnerability, I agreed, promising to send her the pictures via messenger. But I didn’t hear from her. Until February 2020.

"Hi, hi, how are you? I remember this" her message read. CC told me that she was incarcerated in a male prison. Despite the difficult circumstances, she found comfort in our connection through messenger.

January 2023, I received wonderful news - CC would be released in February. Even though her mother struggled to fully accept her as a Trans woman, CC was grateful for a place to stay, sleeping on her couch. Before my arrival, she had even managed to find a job, a source of immense pride for her.

During my visit, we shared unforgettable moments. However, beneath the surface of her infectious positivity, I glimpsed moments of sadness in CC’s eyes. It weighed heavy on my heart, knowing that building a fulfilling life in a country where acceptance would never be complete, would be a challenge for CC.

CC invited me to witness her First Fruit offering, where she donated her first paycheck to God in a mega church. Holding her Bible tightly, tears streaming down her face, she danced, sang, and proclaimed her devotion.

CC firmly believed that this offering would bring immeasurable blessings. Heartbreakingly, just a week after I departed, the darkness she had fought so bravely against, returned to her life. CC gave in to the temptation of drugs, and two weeks later, tragedy struck. She fell victim to an overdose. I made the journey back to attend her funeral, where she was laid to rest as a man. However, her beautiful memorial celebrated CC for who she truly was - a courageous Trans woman. Her mother shared with me that she had received CC as a son, and now, she wished to return her son to God, just as she had received him.

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