UK Black Pride portraits counter misinformation about the trans community

The campaign is based on the false statistic that Black trans women have a life expectancy of 35 – one of many pieces of misinformation shared online.

31 May 2023

UK Black Pride and McCann have unveiled a campaign that focuses on the impact misinformation has on the Black trans community, even when used for advocacy. 16th Century Life Expectancy brings together five leaders from the Black trans community, including artist Ebun Sodipo and activist and entrepreneur Rico Jacob Chace to share the realities of growing anti-trans rhetoric in the media, its impact, and the urgent issues facing the trans community today in the UK.

16th Century Life Expectancy features oil paintings of its five collaborators: Amani Cosmo, Ebun Sodipo, Mzz Kimberley, Rico Jacob Chace and Talulah Eve. Through these portraits, McCann hopes to highlight a false statistic which would place the life expectancy of Black trans women “on a par with people living in the 16th Century”, says a release.

The statistic is thought by many to have emerged in 2015, when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the average age of trans homicide victims in South America was between 30 and 35. “Although a very real and shocking statistic for that specific group, it has since been extrapolated, misappropriated, and shared across social media fuelling a rippling effect of fear for a vulnerable section of society,” the release continues.

A 16th Century site has been created to house the portraits and share more examples of misinformation commonly spread about the trans community today. Users visiting the site can read the voices of the five collaborators on the project, find out what activists are lobbying for in the fight for trans rights in the UK, and how to help. For example, UK Black Pride is asking users to write to their MPs to secure the rights of trans people and demand an urgent review of waiting times for trans-related care – according to a 2022 Trans Actual survey, the average waiting times for some routes of gender-affirming care in the UK is at over three years after the first GIC appointment.


McCann / UK Black Pride: 16th Century Life Expectancy (Copyright © UK Black Pride, 2023)

“We’ve created this campaign to shed light on the misinformation which continues to spread about our community,” says Rico Jacob Chace, treasurer and trustee at LGBT+ Consortium. “An ongoing struggle sparked by the spirit of intolerance that has been brought about by colonialism. [...] This campaign is fronted by the most vulnerable members of the community – Black trans people – and once they’re protected, all members of the community are protected.”

Ben Conway, creative at McCann London, says: “The trans and non-binary community is under attack in the UK. They’re looking for allies in all directions, and as creatives in the ad industry, we should harness ideas and creativity to face the vitriolic hate and discrimination they are receiving.”

GalleryMcCann / UK Black Pride: 16th Century Life Expectancy (Copyright © UK Black Pride, 2023)

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McCann / UK Black Pride: 16th Century Life Expectancy (Copyright © UK Black Pride, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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