Codi Keith Charles and Haus of McCoy, A Black Trans Trailblazer to Follow

By Kayla Thompson, Communities of Color Junior Associate  | March 11, 2022

Codi Keith Charles (all pronouns) is the Founder and Executive Director of Haus of McCoy, a queer and trans community center in Lawrence, Kansas. Haus of McCoy is an indispensable source of support in Lawrence, as it offers community-based resources and services that aim to help Black queer and trans youth thrive.

Haus of McCoy’s numerous programs include community meal pick-ups, community events such as “Queer Craft Night,” and a communal lending library. The team at Haus of McCoy invests in Black LGBTQ people in the Lawrence area, doing the work that will assist and directly benefit those in the community who need them most. 

Perhaps most importantly though, the center, with Charles’ vision in mind, employs a dreamer’s approach to re-imagine the ways that Black queer and trans people can be held up, heard, and appreciated in a political climate that too often devalues them. 

In addition to the community and kinship that Codi has fostered with their work at Haus of McCoy, she is also a writer for the Lawrence Times, a facilitator and trainer, and a cultural critic and dreamer who critiques pop culture to strive towards the liberation and acceptance of Black queer and trans folks across the country.

Charles’ writing combines focused advocacy and an impassioned personality and writing style to accelerate the inclusion of Black trans and queer voices, topics, and themes in spaces where they have been historically underrepresented. Check out some of his work listed below:

Are you a boy or a girl?

Queering Intimacy

College Advice for Students of Marginalized Identities

Black Joy, We Deserve It

6 Scenes from ‘Moonlight’ That I Still Dream About

As we, on individual as well as on organizational levels, work to advance LGBTQ representation and acceptance, it’s imperative to consider the immense contributions and sacrifices Black trans people have made to campaigns for LGBTQ rights as well as their disproportionate risk of being targeted and attacked based on their identities. Black trans people not only face and resist the forces of multiple systems of oppression, they are also more likely to encounter discrimination, extreme violence, prejudice, and bigotry, and have higher mortality rates.

It’s important then to ask ourselves how we are listening to, learning from, and showing our support/offering resources for our Black trans siblings, who put so much on the line for our community while living as their authentic selves. 

Protecting and showing up for our Black trans and queer community members, the same way they have continuously shown up for us throughout history, is essential to achieving our goals of better, more inclusive societal spaces for all members of the LGBTQ community.

To keep up with Codi Keith Charles and Haus of McCoy you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @_codykeith_ and @hausofmccoy.