Tessa Jade Price: Life Transformed

By Emily Mills | Photography by Hillary Schave

For a self-described “quiet nerd” who prefers spending time with friends and her cat, playing video games or listening to music, Price has nonetheless been making a lot of waves in recent years. The main organizer behind Trans Advocacy Madison (TAM), an informal, grassroots advocacy group, Price is doing what she feels she has to for the wellbeing of herself and her community.

“I’m transgender [and] I’m a woman — how does that apply to the world and what can I do to help?” she asks.

It was the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest movement that tipped the scale for Price toward concerted activism. Politics was always something she’d been interested in, but coming out as trans that same year further motivated her to get more involved. She started TAM in early 2021 as a way to build awareness of and organize protests against rising anti-transgender hate messaging she saw in and around Madison. Nationally, anti-LGBTQ/anti-trans legislation has also significantly ramped up.

Price uses TAM as a way to bring together other trans folks and allies to organize counter-protests at anti-trans and anti-drag rallies. It’s also been a way to share resources and build community, connecting people with each other and providing a conduit for mutual aid.

“I am not the advocate, I just want to provide a platform and a place for building community,” she says. The goal is also to build bridges between existing groups and social bubbles. Even when these group’s strategies don’t align 100%, Price says, the point is to build a bigger and bigger collective of people “who agree that hate is bad. If we have that in common, great, let’s build from there!”

In the coming weeks and months, Price hopes to continue to expand TAM’s organizing abilities and to build a more collective decision-making process, creating a more intersectional and sustainable coalition that can continue to play a vital role in the community for years to come.

Read more of the Life Transformed stories here.

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