Just weeks after California became the state with the most protective anti-discrimination laws for transgender people in the country, over 100 transgender activists, allies, and advocates gathered in Los Angeles at the first annual Transgender Leadership Summit. Sponsored by Equality California and 9 California based organizations and projects (including TLC), the Summit brought together participants from around California for the first time in recent memory to network, build skills, and strategize about the direction of the transgender equality movement in California.

The focus of the free weekend event was to help identify and build the statewide community’s ability to keep moving transgender equality forward. Attendees chose from nine different workshops focusing on: preparing to be an activist, public policy advocacy, effective communication, advancing as an advocate, organizing, economic development, media advocacy, fundraising, and local capacity building. Community forums bookended the workshops and prodded attendees to think about “why am I an activist” and “where do we go from here.”

Reaction from the Summit has been overwhelming. Many of the long-time activists who attended considered the Summit to be a marker of how successful their years of advocacy have been and an incentive to stay engaged. People who had largely been active in their local community networked with people doing similar work in other parts of the state and strategized about sharing resources. Most promising has been the nearly universal momentum for planning a 2007 Summit.

Photos from our very first Statewide Transgender Leadership Summit in California.

How many people came?

People who pre-registered: 150
People who pre-registered and attended: 79
People who attended without pre-registering: 45

Where’d they come from?

Los Angeles County: 67*
San Francisco: 16
San Diego: 15
Oakland: 4
San Jose: 3
Davis: 3

Other places in California: 14

People from outside of CA: 2

*Breakdown of top 3 LA County cities:
Los Angeles: 32
Long Beach: 03 
Sherman Oaks: 03