Philly’s newest mural celebrates the trans community

Latest in city’s collection gives a voice to people who feel silenced

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — October is Mural Arts Month in Philadelphia, and the festivities kicked off a little early with a new mural celebrating the city’s transgender community.

The project, titled “We Are Universal,” was unveiled Tuesday on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. The bright hues are matched with the words:

we’re trans
we’re survivors
we are joyful
we feel rage

The giant mural is painted on the side of Cake Life Bake Shop, near Thompson Street, which is run by female and transgender owners.

Two people are depicted on it. One is Tazmere Stephens, a resident of Morris Home, the country’s only trans-focused recovery house.

“For so many of us, our voices are silenced even before we get a chance just to live, just to be,” said Stephens. “It’s a big responsibility to show up and show out for my community.”

“We Are Universal” mural in Fishtown
Tazmere Stephens stands in front of the “We Are Universal” mural in Fishtown, which was dedicated on Sept. 28, 2021. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

Cake Life co-owner Nima Etemadi said it was important that whatever would grace the side of the building would be something they feel connect