This Trans Woman Founded a New Nation Free of Hate
As a Black trans woman, I know and embody the adversities transgender individuals face. Marginalization, discrimination, inequity, loss of human rights and dignity, and increasingly faced with our lives being cut too short and too soon. And yet, in these times of trans sorrows, we find ways to find trans joy. For some, it’s a night out with friends. For others, exercise and meditation. I chose to start my own country.
Micronations are dotted across the globe, though you may be unable to spot them on any map. Sometimes confused with microstates like Luxembourg, Monaco, and Vatican City, micronations claim to have all the functions of a sovereign nation. Still, they often lack recognition from the world’s governments or organizations. Molossia, Westarctica, Sealand, Ladonia, and others are just a few micronations in the world.
At the micro level, micronations are social groups. Think about your local elk lodge, country club, or community nonprofit. It’s a group of people with similar interests and values coming together for a cause. Like a micronation, its members abide by a set of rules (a constitution), learn from each other, adopt social customs and norms, partake in unique events, and occasionally take up a charitable cause. Many micronations strive to make positive impacts on the world around them. The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis champions environmental causes, whose leader has been invited to conferences to speak on their issues. Others, like the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, have called for changes to laws that negatively impact the marginalized. (Formally "at war" with Australia, they dissolved following the passage of same-sex marriage in that country.) It’s the latter that I find myself jumping on board this concept.
In 2017, anti-trans rhetoric was slowly on the rise. The Trump administration banned transgender individuals from serving in the military; state and local legislatures planned or passed laws that limited transgender people from using the bathroom they identified with; and transphobic crimes and deaths were the highest recorded then. Founded on September 13, 2017, and with a small group of friends, the Kingdom of the Navasse came to fruition. Wholly inspired by the former Kingdom of Haiti — my family’s native country — the micronation was founded on escapism, in part, from the world around us. We enshrined in our constitution equal rights to all, “regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or creeds.” We also guaranteed The Crown would not engage with businesses or groups that have expressed or supported racist, homophobic, or transphobic rhetoric or entities. But we also wanted to do something more.
Over the years, we’ve maintained a mission to create, advocate and support initiatives that foster inclusivity, acceptance, and support for LGBTQ+ and other historically marginalized communities. And what started as a royal hobby has evolved into a part-time job. A year after our founding, I helped launch Flower City Queens, a drag calendar raising funds for local LGBTQ+ initiatives. Pooling talent from our region, we’ve featured the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Mrs. Kasha Davis and Darienne Lake, along with our other fantastic regional drag artists. Our latest edition, The New Look, featured BIPOC artists from Western New York. In 2022, we launched Crown Sirène Coffee. Sourced sustainably from Haitian coffee farmers in the northern, mountainous region, we produce three roasts plus an espresso blend. The best part? Half of the proceeds from our sales have benefited the work of our royal foundation, allowing us to further our royal mission.
Is it tiresome? Yes. Frustrating at times? Certainly. But does it bring this trans woman joy? Absolutely. This nation of mine has taught me many things, most notably about combating adversities set before me.
Fear has become an increasing part of my life. The fear of being ridiculed. The fear of losing everything I had worked so hard for. The fear of being harassed in public places. The fear of being assaulted in private spaces. Fear limits us. It discourages us. It blinds us from walking down our path of life and deafens us from understanding the lives of others. As a Queen, I’ve learned that fear is the greatest enemy of living authentically. And I refuse to let fear take hold of my destiny.
On this Transgender Day of Visibility, now more than ever, we need to share and amplify trans joy as much as we share trans sorrows. In a time of increasing hatred, marginalization, and violence, we must use our collective voice to fight against the volumes of hate. It shouldn’t take me or others to create a micronation to find such acceptance. In a country that praises itself as the land where anyone with a dream and determination can make it, transgender individuals should be able to maintain and enjoy peace, prosperity, and the pursuit of our happiness.
Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Public Relations Specialist for equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, Pride.com, and owner of The Advocate Channel.