Spring 2022 Speaker

Monica Jones

The Spring 2022 speaker for the Trans Studies in Education (TSE) Speaker Series was Monica Jones. Monica Jones is the founder and CEO of The Outlaw Project, an organization based on the principles of intersectionality to prioritize the leadership of people of color, transgender women, gender non-binary people and migrants for sex worker rights. Monica is the recipient of the SPARK! Authentic Life Award in 2015, was honored as one of the Trans 100 in 2015 and received the Diversity Advisory Committee of Phoenix College Award in 2012. She also brought the issue of profiling of black transwomen to national attention after she was arrested under Arizona’s discriminatory “manifesting prostitution” law, which she fought and won. Monica has presented at universities across the United States introducing students of all levels to key issues relating to transgender experience, rights, sex worker rights, workers rights, gender justice, the law and social work.

Monica delivered a campus-wide talk on Wednesday, February 23 at 4pm to an in-person and digital audience of 75 participants. In her campus talk, Trans as/in Community: Imagining Trans Women’s Futures Together, Monica shared her story and her path towards activism as a student in higher education. Through developing kinship and connections with fellow students and educators at Arizona State University (ASU), Monica found a sense of self and purpose in movement building. Her experience advocating for sex workers rights at ASU was a pivotal moment for shifting her activism and organizing towards mutual aid and basic needs support. Monica shared stories of how educators supported her alongside this path. She also spoke about her work with The Outlaw Project and why addressing housing insecurity for trans women of color is a necessity and key consideration for educational praxis.  

During her lunch session with students, Monica shared more about The Outlaw Project and its creation. She also spoke directly with students about how she balanced being a student activist and shared insights into strategies for enacting change on college campuses. Monica also addressed questions around the role of allies in movement building, how educators can support queer and trans youth, and methods for engaging in policy work. 

Monica’s visit was co-sponsored by the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice, the Center for the Study of Higher Education, African American Student Affairs, the Women's and Gender Resource Center and LGBTQ Affairs. You can learn more about Monica’s visit. Monica’s campus talk was recorded, as well as an interview with Roman Christiaens, a doctoral student in the Higher Education Department and member of the TSE planning team. These recordings can be accessed on the Recorded Talks subpage.