A Note from TLC’s Leadership
Over the past couple of years, we have seen anti-trans sentiment building in the U.S. with hundreds of legislative attacks, continuous police violence, and homicides. Among all of this, and tremendous community grief, Transgender Law Center (TLC) turns to our Trans Agenda for Liberation as guiding principles for everything we do. In 2021 TLC has shown loving care and fierce advocacy for our people during these difficult times. We doubled down on our vision to transform legal, political, and social institutions so trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people, especially Black trans women and femmes, can be free to live our lives.
In 2021, we approached two decades since TLC’s founding. We have stayed true to centering trans joy, abundance, power, and community-led solutions. We listened to our people, bringing together local and national trans leaders to plan and build strategy together. We filed lawsuits, guided individuals who need critical assistance through our helpdesk, published innovative reports to reframe anti-trans violence, and lifted up leadership of Black and Brown trans people living with HIV. We demanded accountability and action of the Biden-Harris administration, fought back against the record breaking number of anti-trans laws and policies which have long been a strategy of the conservative right, amplified the voices of trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary youth as they organized and took action, and built power so all queer and trans disabled BIPOC people can get their needs met, experience safety, and thrive in community.
Thank you for the care and support you bring to TLC. Your meaningful contributions, financial and otherwise, fuel TLC’s loving abundance and unstoppable work. Together, we will achieve liberation for all.
Watch our video: We Are Transforming the World. Join Us.
TLC in 2021 – Resistance, Resilience, Joy
Responded to more than 1,200+ HELPDESK requests from individuals seeking assistance with changes to identification documents, employment, family law, law enforcement issues, and more
Responded to 500+ LETTERS through our prison mail program to support trans community members who are incarcerated
Litigated 9 IMPACT CASES
Filed 19 AMICUS BRIEFS
64 VOLUNTEERS mobilized by our Legal Services Project, including attorneys and other legal professionals
Provided 98K+ WEBSITE VISITORS with critical legal resources including navigating employment issues, identity documents, healthcare, housing, immigration, criminal law systems, and more
495 TRANSGENDER ACTIVISTS and allies in LGBTQIA+ movements engaged, trained and/or resourced through TLC programs
65 PARTNERSHIPS active with fellow movement and cross-movement groups
40 U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES represented by TLC leadership trainees and movement partners
$225K+ RAISED at our annual SPARK event. Thank you!
Taking the Trans Agenda
All The Way To The White House
Kah Yangni x Transgender Law Center
The inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration in January 2021 was the perfect opportunity to amplify the Trans Agenda for Liberation – our community-led guide towards the world we deserve. We called for the elected officials in our country’s highest office to make significant progress for migrant, disability, racial, environmental, reproductive, economic, and gender justice.
We demand that the Biden and Harris administration address the urgent political, legal, and social violence enacted against our trans communities, while channeling trans imagination to bring our boldest visions to life, by:
- Prioritizing the leadership, self-determination, lived experience and analysis of disabled, Deaf, sick, chronically ill, neurodivergent and Mad, transgender and gender nonconforming people
- Including “Transgender status” in all nondiscrimination laws
- Reimagining public safety, decarceration, and sex worker rights
- Providing healthcare for all, including care for people living with HIV
- Implementing economic and housing justice reforms
- Carrying out policy changes to access to identification documents and privacy
- Ending the criminalization of young people (including in schools) and provide care for young people, older adults, and families
- Ending immigration and transgender detention
Lifting Up Leadership of
Black Trans Women and Femmes
What impact do you see your co-deputy director roles having on yourselves and on fellow trans leaders?
Mickaela: As the first full-time staff member who is a nonbinary Black trans woman/ femme—my gender is complex!—I am deeply honored. The impact of my community’s trust reverberates and replenishes generations of organizers and artists behind and beside me. I am not—we are not—here by accident, mistake, or chance. Many, many Black women, trans femmes, and nonbinary angels have made this moment possible for me, for us. Our liberation is dependent on each other’s willingness to live and lead fiercely.
Thinking back on 2021, what’s a moment that stands out or that you’re particularly proud of?
Mariah: I was and continue to be extremely proud of our collaborative work with BLMP (the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project). In 2021, we virtually convened the second annual Fierce Freedom School, which is a multi-week skill- and leadership-building program connecting and amplifying the voices of Black trans women and Black trans femmes, both US-born and immigrant.
Mickaela: We had kicked off the Trans Agenda for Liberation launch at the January 2020 Creating Change conference. Then, of course, the pandemic interrupted our rollout, but when we finally fully launched digitally in early 2021, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Like the storm quieted, the sky parted, and the sun shone down on our path forward. Our communities need an agenda and a framework that reflects the care we’ve been doing for each other for decades, and that points toward the future we’re fighting for.
Last summer we also worked with TransLash (led by TLC Board Chair Imara Jones) to publish a powerful zine based on the pillars of the Trans Agenda. Savoring the reflections and artwork from trans activists across the country, I knew we had done something powerful.
TLC’s Senior National Organizers Mariah Moore and Mickaela Bradford stepped into newly created deputy director roles to co-lead our programs team.
Here, we present an interview by Senior Development Manager Jessica Glennon Zukoff with Mickaela and Mariah about their leadership journeys, activist legacies, and forms of community care.
Litigating for Trans-Inclusive
Civil and Human Rights
TLC attorneys, Helpdesk volunteers, interns, and our network of countless allied lawyers, firms, and organizations across the U.S. are fueled both by a deep love for gender nonconforming and/or nonbinary and trans people and their families, and a focus on transforming larger legal, political, and social systems.
In 2021, we litigated against the Trump administration’s rollback of trans-inclusive nondiscrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act. Partnering with the National Women’s Law Center, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, and the law firm Hogan Lovells, TLC’s case went further than other challenges by including claims related to pregnancyand abortion-related discrimination, reflective of our longtime commitment to transinclusive reproductive justice and advocacy.
Along with Lambda Legal, the ACLU of California, and O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, TLC brought litigation to defend SB 132, a groundbreaking California law protecting transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people who are incarcerated. We call this the “TERFs (transexclusionary radical feminists) case,” because a women’s organization filed suit to overturn trans protections. TLC represented the interveners TGI Justice Project, as well as four trans women who are incarcerated, to ensure that along with all people who are incarcerated, they receive the care, dignity, and respect they deserve.
We continued to fight for migrants, including litigating one of the first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents about treatment of transgender people in immigration detention, in both the District of Columbia and the Southern District. We took this important step to uncover these documents that had never been seen because this evidence could have broad implications on immigration cases nationwide.
Along with a coalition of groups including Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the Women’s Refugee Commission, TLC filed a request for precautionary measures to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights against the U.S. for its continued use of Title 42 to block and expel asylum seekers. We demanded the Commission order the U.S. to take urgent steps to protect both the individual asylum seekers, and all other asylum seekers who are or would be subject to dangerous expulsions.
Other exciting innovations in 2021 included launching TLC’s full-capacity Spanish Helpdesk; publishing and updating trans-specific resources for easier name and gender marker changes, know-your-rights guides addressing police violence, and guides for employers, HR teams, and service providers; holding or supporting almost 14 legal clinics, including teaching other attorneys, legal workers, and community leaders to train and support folks in their communities which grows TLC’s impact exponentially; welcoming even more people into our internship program including law students, undergraduates, non-students, and community leaders, who are all eligible for stipends from TLC; and joining an amicus brief in the Dobbs v. Jackson case to save abortion care.
In 2021, we continued our yearslong fight seeking justice for the family of Roxsana Hernández, a 33-year-old Honduran woman of transgender experience living with HIV who died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Cibola, New Mexico in May 2018. In July 2021, TLC filed a complaint against the U.S. in the District Court of New Mexico. TLC and the Law of Office of R. Andrew Free brought a wrongful death suit against ICE and institutions that were responsible for her care. In November 2021, we moved closer to our goals, with oral arguments in front of a promising panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to resolve a 2019 FOIA request. TLC’s unwavering commitment to Roxsana’s family will not stop until we explore every avenue to hold ICE accountable. This case may also strengthen precedent in the Ninth Circuit for better government transparency overall.
We also took on the case of “Nya,” a Black trans woman living in the South who is being charged with second degree murder solely for defending herself from violent attack. Along with her criminal defense attorneys, we are building a strong case because the alleged murder was caught on tape, showing that it was clear self-defense. Nya’s case represents what so many Black trans women and femmes experience – the criminalization of self defense, high levels of physical violence, domestic violence, and unprovoked assaults. Unfortunately, when trans people of color fight back to defend their lives, law enforcement often arrests and incarcerates. As we work to free Nya, we are also developing a resource on defending transgender women who are arrested for fighting back. We hope that by educating defense attorneys they will be empowered to have their clients plead not guilty.
Late in 2021, we met and started working with Estrella, a Latinx trans woman from Mexico, who in 2017 became the first person to be arrested by ICE after a judge granted her a restraining order against the person who was harming her. Further, she was the first person to get arrested inside a courthouse which was previously deemed to be a safe place off limits to ICE enforcement actions. Estrella’s case got a lot of media attention in 2017, and after reading several articles describing it, TLC discovered Estrella possibly needed to be screened as a survivor of human trafficking. We began strategizing how to get her case vacated federally because she was a trafficking victim forced to engage in crimes. If we are successful, this could change federal law to protect survivors of human trafficking from being convicted of illegal activity they are forced or coerced to engage in.
Reframing Trans Advocacy
TLC is a leader in advocating for communications that present gender nonconforming, and nonbinary and trans people in positive, accurate, and dignified ways. Our communications also focus on connecting trans lived experience with the institutions that can be reshaped to liberate us all.
In 2021, in conjunction with the Trans Agenda for Liberation launch, we released 4 in-depth reports that together comprise The Roots of Anti-Trans Violence Report to transform narratives that can and will have a critical impact.
We released The Roots of Anti-Trans Violence, our resource presenting a detailed reframe of violence against trans people. Rather than an “individual” issue, anti-trans violence is an epidemic ultimately fueled by social, legal, and political institutions. We zoomed in on four areas that have concentrated instances of violence – Texas, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, and New York – to explore both the underlying systemic causes of brutality, and communityled solutions to combat and end these attacks. The report spread widely on social media and was also featured by Autostraddle and Inside Philanthropy.
In the wake of unprecedented legislative attacks on gender affirming healthcare for trans children, we released a comprehensive best-practice guide for journalists for reporting on anti-trans medical ban policies. The resource urges reporters to center those most impacted by the bans – transgender youth – by talking to trans young people, specifically BIPOC and disabled youth who are most affected. The guide also offers resources for illustrating why these bans are harmful, connecting these bans with the anti-LGBTQ groups behind this legislation, how to stay up to date on proposed policies, and more.
We also created a similar guide to help journalists use best practices when they’re reporting on anti-trans athletic ban legislation, which also disproportionately affects trans young people.
TLC, led by the Gender Justice Leadership Project (GJLP) worked also with ASO Communications and Lake Research on new messaging research centering the leadership and voices of trans leaders and trans BIPOC youth resulting in the Race, Class, Gender Narrative (RCGN). RCGN is a tool to use against the far right attacks on our communities. Collaboratively, we created the guide, Transgender Youth And The Freedom To Be Ourselves, and held a messaging training for LGBTQ organizations around the country.
Responding to HIV through
Our Positively Trans National Steering Committee is the heart of TLC’s core work to addresses inequities, stigma, and discrimination nationally and in our local communities through community-driven research, leadership development, and storytelling. Led by trans women of color living with HIV throughout the U.S. (over 50% live in the South), we make the case that trans voices, needs, and leadership must be centered in HIV/AIDS response, and that HIV response is a key strategy for trans health and liberation.
Our members did extraordinary things in their home states of Arkansas, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and nationally. Together, we celebrated Positively Trans member Tori Cooper, who made history as the first Black transgender woman living with HIV to be appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
In 2021, we continued to respond to the COVID pandemic and its devastating effects on our steering committee members’ livelihoods and health. We recognized and addressed the economic hardship – masks cost money, inflation is raising the costs of everything, and many of our members lost employment. We sent monthly stipends to ensure they were able to continue to thrive, supporting and nurturing their own leadership, and the leadership of others.
Positively Trans created new partnerships with the Professional Association of Social Workers in HIV/AIDS for their annual national conference. TLC led as a part of the faculty and program committee to ensure inclusion in the educational tracks, and Positively Trans delivered an informative plenary on HIV and aging. We worked with a network of people living with HIV to develop the national policy agenda Demand Better, which complements the Trans Agenda. We took it to the Office of National AIDS Policy, the domestic policy arm for the White House, to demand a response that uplifts dignity, human rights, and wellness. We were also a part of the executive committee for HIV is Not a Crime Academy, leading a plenary on the intersections of criminalization and HIV.
In 2021, we also continued our critical work with global communities living with HIV to encourage gender-neutral inclusive language in the reproductive health and rights recommendations, such as “chest feeding” and “pregnant persons.” Positively Trans continued its role on the advisory council of women living with HIV of the World Health Organization, leading the effort to fundamentally include trans and nonbinary communities in the reproductive justice movement.
Trans Youth Thriving in Joy
TLC and the GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliances) Network partner to support our trans youth-led Gender Justice Leadership Programs (GJLP), which encompass the National Trans Youth (TRUTH) Council, and Roses Initiative for trans girls and fems of color. In 2021, members of TRUTH and Roses focused our efforts on lifting up the creativity, power, and joy of trans youth, especially trans, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and two spirit youth of color.
In 2021, we continued our ongoing work with the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) to bring healing justice curriculum to our youth leaders, and to ensure folks have the tools to take care of themselves during the pandemic and ongoing anti-trans legislation.
As a part of our media advocacy for youth to speak out about the spring 2021 legislative session, we interviewed youth from GSAs across the nation. They shared what it was like to live in anti-trans bill states, and we invited them to join our youth leadership. We are strong, being in coalition together, and it is healing for them to be in spaces with other trans youth. Our leaders were also featured in Teen Vogue.
In 2021, we once again celebrated GSA Day 4 Gender Justice with a virtual campaign for young people ages 14-18. We sent out over 1,000 postcards and stickers to GSAs across the country featuring an art piece created on our 9-point platform. This year’s artist, DXTROSE, also held an inspiring 4-week art workshop where we created beautiful pieces for transformative gender justice. In 2021, we created a lot of trans youth content! We lifted up storytelling and poetry through Metamorphosis Antholozine, and offered journal prompts, affirmations, and emergency planning tips in the Trans Wellness Zine.
In 2021, we also launched a monthly virtual hang out space, “Water the Roses,” an intergenerational space for trans girls and nonbinary fems, and we planted the seeds for a partnership with Brown Boi Project to offer a 6-month financial literacy series for trans youth.
The Disability Project Leads a Critical Cross-Movement Strategy
TLC’s Disability Project is rooted in amplifying and collectively building leadership and power within disabled trans and queer BIPOC community in order to create a world where every queer and trans disabled BIPOC person can get their needs met, experience safety, and thrive in community.
To this end, last calendar the Disability Project expanded our team by bringing on Ericka Ayodele Dixon as the National Organizer. With the expansion of the team, the Disability Project was able to take on multiple initiatives, bolstered by our multi-racial, cross class, cross disability Community Advisory Board.
Ericka (they/them) believes that we can’t end violence and reach trans liberation if we aren’t working to dismantle ableism, anti-Black racism and misogyny, as interdependent systems that bolster the violent impacts on the lived experiences particularly of poor, Black, disabled trans and nonbinary femmes.
We partnered with the Anti-Eugenics Project, as part of the grassroots organizing team, led by community leader Cara Page, to gather organizers doing BIPOC-centered work on how anti-eugenics approaches are central to all movements for liberation. The Disability Project provided a critical anti-ableism lens to the facilitation and strategy setting of the meeting, and coordinated to ensure that the majority of the meeting attendees were Black, trans/queer, and disabled folks. As Ericka said about the meeting, “It clarified that disability justice work is inherently anti-eugenic and abolitionist at its core. If the work that we are doing isn’t rooted in an understanding of how eugenics is embedded in all forms of oppression, then it isn’t disability justice, and won’t get us free.”
The Disability Project is continuing to work on the Disabled Deaf Trans People Survey, the first national survey of its kind to capture data from disabled and deaf trans people in a process that is designed by disabled and deaf trans people. The Disability Project drafted the contents of the survey, working with members of the Community Advisory Board and research consultants. The survey is set to launch in the first quarter of 2023.
|Contributed legal services||1,079,864||2,112,915|
|Forgiveness of debt||453,465||-|
|Dividends and interest||16,704||47,718|
|Investment realized and unrealized gains||-28,846||29,295|
|Total Support and Revenue||15,630,691||21,044,073|
|Management and General||1,201,242||689,685|
|Change in Net Assets||7,198,376||13,340,154|
|Total net assets||25,014,113||17,815,737|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||25,939,960||18,939,780|
|Category||Percentage of Revenue|
|Contributed legal services||6.91%|
|Events, government, dividends, investments and misc.||4.58%|
|Category||Percentage of Expenses|
|Management and general||14.25%|
Juanita MORE! is a legendary San Francisco entertainer, activist, philanthropist, drag royalty, and mother to many. Juanita has leveraged her many talents to raise more than 1 million dollars for LGBTQ+ organizations, including TLC. Keep up with her at JuanitaMORE.com Below is an interview by Senior Development Manager Jessica Glennon Zukoff with Juanita about her longtime involvement with TLC:
What has your support of Transgender Law Center looked like over the years?
It started in 2009 when I named TLC as the beneficiary for my annual Pride party. I remember I was so heartened when I heard about TLC’s work, especially the direct legal help and information. Since then, I’ve also started fundraising specifically for your Gender Justice Leadership Programs (GJLP), including TRUTH and Roses. These young trans leaders’ voices are the voices of our future. They have the power to change minds and change policies through their stories.
You are famously everywhere, with multiple events and fundraisers year-round—how do you disconnect when you need to?
I spend a lot of time taking care of the beautiful garden in the back of my building. The tiny TenderNob apartment that I’ve lived in for 30 years is my sanctuary. My two little French bulldogs, Jackson and Macho, expect my attention 24/7 and are the loves of my life!
Appreciating TLC’s 2021 Board
Chinyere Ezie, Chair
Evelyn Rios Stafford, Vice-Chair
cori schmanke parrish, Treasurer
Brielle Darynn, Vice-Treasurer
Ana Conner, Interim Secretary
Mat dos Santos
Louis Porter II, Ed.D.