Over the past year, Transgender Law Center’s Board and Staff developed a new strategic plan informed by trans and gender nonconforming leadership across the country. This plan calls for a fresh perspective on our movement building work. For almost a decade we have proudly hosted in California the Transgender Leadership Summit, a 2-3 day open conference providing countless community members with critical leadership skills, information, resources, and opportunities to build community. In 2015 we will take a break from hosting the Summit and sincerely apologize for the lateness of this announcement.
Instead of holding the Leadership Summit this year, we are committed to a meaningful response to the epidemic of violence our community has endured for so long. In 2014 we lost 12 transgender women of color to violence and in the first two months of 2015 alone we have lost 10 transgender women – and these are only the known deaths. This year we are investing in creating a space for national dialogues, strategy, and intensive leadership development focused on ending violence.
The National Trans Anti-Violence Convening will bring together transgender and gender nonconforming organizers and leaders that have been mobilizing and addressing the issue of anti-trans violence in their communities. Our hope is to uplift the voices of those most impacted in our communities and who disproportionally face this violence – in particular, transgender women of color. Through this gathering we will share, connect, and affirm the work that TGNC leaders on the ground have been doing for years. Now, more than ever, we must ground ourselves and build meaningful strategies that our communities can use when faced with anti-trans violence and hate. Our long-term vision is for regional efforts to be uplifted and supported – working in isolation is not an option anymore. Building on the legacies of our trans and gender nonconforming ancestors, we must build our movement and campaign work intersectionally and holistically.
The strategic plan also calls for TLC to continue advancing laws and policies related to healthcare access, employment nondiscrimination, and schools to achieve legal equality and realize lived equality for our communities in California and now more deeply in other regions. We are embarking on new work to address critical issues faced by the most vulnerable members of our community while centering their voices and leadership. This includes:
Transgender Law Center’s Detention Project – This project will focus and expand our work to end the abuses trans and gender nonconforming people experience in prisons, jails, immigration detention, state hospitals, and other forms of detention, as well as at the hands of law enforcement. Our communities are disproportionately targeted by police – often simply for “walking while trans” – and face horrific rates of violence and discriminatory treatment while incarcerated. The Detention Project will focus on impact litigation, policy advocacy, and providing information and resources to support folks inside, to truly change the conditions of incarceration and policing our communities live under. We are currently hiring a staff attorney for the project, please check out the job description.
Positively Trans – This project will put transgender living at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS movement. We believe HIV is an epidemic that thrives on structural inequalities and transgender women of color bear the highest burden. Recent meta-analysis shows that the risk of contraction for transgender women of color is 49 times higher than for the general population. With a new partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we are forming an advisory board of eight to ten members from different states to help assess the legal and policy landscape, as well as develop an advocacy plan to address the structural issues driving the HIV epidemic among transgender communities. Currently, we have members representing San Francisco, Little Rock, Washington DC, New Orleans, and Atlanta. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for the advisory board, please contact our Senior Strategist, Cecilia Chung at firstname.lastname@example.org
TLC@SONG – At the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference earlier this month we unveiled our national expansion to the South with partner organization Southerners on New Ground. Click here to read more about that work.
In the months ahead you’ll see more communications about these topics and other work. Thank you for remaining steadfast during our transitions and know that we are committed to improving our communications about these changes and our new work moving forward.