Secure The Bag Safety is a grassroots BIPOC trans led organization with a focus on community empowerment, through the self care practice of Self-Defense work. STB Safety prioritizes working with the most marginalized communities and people at-risk for harm/violence, these populations being BIPOC TGNC/NB folks. STB Safety aims to inspire our siblings to recognize their value, tap into their bodies and discover their power.


In January of 2021 Red Joo and Marquise Vilsón founded the organization Secure The Bag Safety as a direct response to the increase of violence plaguing BIPOC TGNC/NB communities, coming out of the year 2020 (a recored 350 TGNC/NB people were killed, globally, in the year 2020 (source: Forbes)). During 2021, STB Safety began working on a local level in New York City, offering in-person Self-Defense sessions as well as Safety Kit outreach. By June of 2021 the organization launched its website, stbsafety.org, additionally providing Self-Defense sessions to a new online community, globally.

In a year’s time STB Safety has expanded its reach. Having a virtual platform has allowed us to build a community through STB Safety‘s website, our Facebook page, Instagram account and our FREE online sessions. All of which have not only helped BIPOC TGNC/NB communities connect to STB Safety‘s work but also to other TGNC/NB folks. Allowing members to access their siblings in neighboring cities/states but also, internationally.


Marquise Vilsón Balenciaga
Marquise Vilsón Balenciaga

Marquise Vilsón is an Afro-Latinx, trans masc activist, artist and native New Yorker. Growing up The Bronx, violence would prove itself to be ever present for the public figure, who’s father was killed while he was just seven (7) year old. A moment in time that communicated the possibilities for navigating Black life, while trans. Making personal safety a priority, something Marquise was forced to learn early on in life.

A board member for AVP (Anti-Violence Project), Marquise is active in the fight combating violence against BIPOC TGNC/NB & Queer communities, seeking liberation.

Rej Joo is a 1.5-generation Korean American man of trans experience. Since 2004, he has been working with and serving communities that have experienced violence at a disproportionate rate. These communities include LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner violence, trans/NB, and those affected by mental illness.

A former instructor for CAE (Center for Anti-violence Education), Rej has taught Self-Defense, up-stander, de-escalation, and non-violent communication classes through a trauma-informed lens. Red has been a Hapkido (HKD) instructor, student, and an avid lover of martial arts (HKD, Taekwondo, BJJ, Muay Thai) for over 16 years, holding black belts in HKD and TKD.

Rej Joo
Rej Joo