Photo By: Lia Clay Miller
E.C. Pizarro III is a man with high ambitions. E.C. worked as a brand designer and tech entrepreneur for over 12 years. After obtaining his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Virginia Beach in 2012, his career in the design industry increased as he learned to navigate a high-demand and creatively rich workflow.
E.C. has won awards like the Marcom Award 2016 and 2017, gold and platinum, respectively. In 2017, he was a presenter at the first TransTech Summit, where he taught comprehensive creative thinking and logo design. In 2019 he received the Emerging Leader Award at the Inaugural National Trans Visibility March.
In March of 2022, he was named the executive director of TransTech Social Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower, educate and employ LGBTQ people through technology. Below he shared his goals for Trans Tech Social, what’s life is like for a Black Trans man in America, and advice he offers to the parents of a non-gender conforming child.
PrideIndex (PI): Introduce yourself to our readers. And tell us a little bit about your journey thus far.
E.C. Pizarro III (ECP): Yeah, no problem. My name is E.C. Pizarro, III; I’m an award-winning brand designer and digital artist. I’m a creative director of my firm, 1Z2R, and the executive director of TransTech Social Enterprises, founded by Angelica Ross. I’m also the founder of Marsha’s Web; this resource directory centers on trans, queer, non-binary communities, and intersex organizations. I live in Florida, originally from Somerset, New Jersey, and I love the warm weather.
PI: Talk about TransTech Social and then your creative design business.
ECP: Sure, no problem. TransTech Social, I am the Executive Director of TransTech Social. I was offered this role in 2021, in October in the interim, and in March 2022, I accepted the position of executive director. I started volunteering in 2017, working on different summits and doing graphics here and there. I’ve unlocked many other things I didn’t know I was passionate about or good at.
In my other business, I offer brand design, web design, and social media consultation. A lot of what I do is keeping brands consistent and ensuring that brand messaging is communicated through the design. Most of the clients that I have produce summits. I used to work in corporate America and when I did, that was the department that I worked in. I create signage and digital presentations for summits and different in-person events.
PI: What are your goals for TransTech Social?
ECP: The ultimate goal for TransTech Social is to expand the workforce so that it’s gender expansive and to provide opportunities to transgender and non-binary individuals in tech. Tech is a very lucrative field. Many jobs currently posted with our members start at $65,000 – $70,000 a year, and the average salary for Trans folks is below the poverty line. The last time I checked, it was about $27,000 a year. That provides an opportunity for transgender and non-binary individuals to go from survival to thriving. That’s the ultimate goal. Angelica always said that you’ve got to be your own superhero. It’s about more than getting a job. Suppose you want to be a freelancer in tech, similar to how I am. In that case, we can provide guidance and educational resources to the community because we have almost 3,000 members globally committed to transgender and non-binary people in tech. So, from that, you have a network, the community, and the resources to excel and thrive in life in tech.
PI: Tell me, what is it like to be a Trans man of color and the United States?
ECP: I’m read as a Black man first. I am often cisgender assumed, and heterosexual assumed. My experience in the United States is very similar to other Black men. I would say that, I get the same, you know, pit in my stomach when the sirens go off, and it may be just a cop in the area or ambulance in the area. But I can say, knowing that my experience as a Black man of transgender experience, I find a lot of value in recreating what masculinity looks like, what Black masculinity looks like, from a healthy place.
PI: What advice would you give to trans youth coming up today?
ECP: The advice I would give to trans youth today is one congratulations for stepping into yourself and honoring who you know yourself to be at a young age. Second, continue to be fearless. Third, have a community around you, whether it’s your family or people you have met at local support groups or community centers. Having those around you who affirm you for who you are, is always the best bet. And realize that life has its ebbs and flows, and it will constantly get better because you will learn and grow to love yourself in a new way that most people will be jealous of.
PI: What do you believe is the biggest misconception (A) Other gay people have about our trans community? (B) Society at large has about our trans brothers and sisters?
ECP: I honestly, I think there’s, they have the same misconception they can see a trans person that they can spot out a trans person that they always “know”, this individual is trans. Many people say they’ve never met a trans person. They don’t know a trans person, “in real life.” I always like to counter with “that you know of” because trans people are not required to tell you about their trans identity, knowing that somebody is trans is a privilege. And if they didn’t tell you, they may not have felt safe enough to tell you that. And I say that from my own experience. One time, I told a coworker that I was transgender. And her response was “you make such a handsome man; I don’t understand why you would want to be a woman.” And it pulled me aback because. Wait, what? But I just said to her, “you know what, never mind. I’m exactly what you see; I don’t want to be a woman. I am a man.” So, I think that the common misconception is that you can tell, you know, and you can’t. And I think that’s the beauty of it. The same way you don’t know when you’re around a person who is gay or bisexual or lesbian. You don’t know. We should acknowledge that everyone’s human experience is different. You don’t know that someone is trans unless they tell you.
PI: Do you think we will ever live in a society where it doesn’t matter that a person is trans or gay, bisexual or any of the letters in the LGBTQ+ spectrum?
ECP: I’m hopeful. Our community has been growing, and we’re raising our families in the open. We will have to wait and see if it happens in my lifetime.
PI: What advice would you give to the parents of a trans child?
ECP: The parents of a trans child should:
- Listen to their child and honor what they may not understand.
- Not be their child’s first bully. A trans individual going out into the world will face what other people have to say, whether good or bad. Be the place where your child can be safe and free.
- Cultivate a safe space for your child and protect your family. Ensure that you’re affirming your child and that your friends and extended family do the same.
PI: What do you like to do to get away from work?
ECP: I enjoy going to different cities and seeing what they have to offer with food. I also enjoy painting. I’m creative, so I figured out a way to get my creative skill set into tech, where I can sustain my livelihood.
PI: If someone were interested in learning a little bit more about Trans Tech or your design business, what should they do?
ECP: Go to Transtechsocial.org. We have all of the programs we offer and some exciting announcements. You can become a member of Trans Tech. Membership is free. We provide all of our resources to our members for free. Fill out a few questions: email and some demographic information that helps us with reporting, as well as securing additional grants to provide our resources to our members. That is how you would learn more about TransTech. To learn more about me, my design services, speaking engagements, or anything else I’ve done, you can go to ecpizarro.com. Contact me, and we can get something on the books, and you can see some of the projects I’ve done over the past couple of years.
PI: What does the future hold for you?
ECP: One step closer to Black trans liberation. What that means is the projects that I work on or are a part of will consistently and unapologetically center trans people, specifically black trans people, and is one small piece to providing economic freedom to my community. It’s audacious, but every person’s lane is part of the bigger picture, so if I can be a small piece of that by connecting my community to opportunities in tech or offering branding services that increase their profits and visibility. They’re able to secure more funding, resources, and customers. I’ve done my part to help my community get one step closer from a survival to a thriving mindset.