Oct 4, 2021

"We Are Universal" mural in Fishtown celebrates transgender community

"We Are Universal" is the first mural celebrating trans people in Philadelphia

Photo Courtesy of Mural Arts Philadelphia

Muralist Kah Yangni and residents of Morris Home —the only residential recovery program in the country specifically catering to transgender communities — created the city's first mural showcasing trans and gender-nonconforming people.

  • "I think people ignore trans people a lot, and we're shoved to the side," Yangni tells Axios. "I hope when the rest of my community sees this, they feel important, seen and welcome."

What they're saying: Yangni said last year's summer of protests against police brutality makes the mural even more special.

Yangni has been incorporating transgender people in their work for years, but the "We Are Universal" mural — which covers 2,200 square feet — is the largest project they've done to date.

  • Yangni began the project by going to Morris Home and asking residents what they wanted the public to know about their experiences.
  • The quotes on the mural — "We're trans, we're survivors," "We are joyful," "We feel rage" and "We are Universal" — are from those conversations.

Yangni designed the mural based on a photo shoot by photographer angel shanel edwards at Bartram's Gardens in May of Morris Home residents surrounded by trees and flowers.

Residents of Morris Home pose for photo shoot at Bartram's Garden May 21, 2021
Residents of Morris Home, the only trans-focused recovery house in the country, pose at Bartram's Garden May 21, 2021. Photo courtesy of angel shanel edwards

The mural is a joint project between Mural Arts Philadelphia and the city's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.

Go visit: The mural is on a 100-foot-wall on the side of Cake Life at 1306 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Philadelphia.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Philadelphia stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Philadelphia.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more