Trans Justice: Learning and Listening

BsgtQy0IcAARFzcThis morning I attended a workshop at the Friends Meeting of Washington D.C. on Transgender organizing “Against Police Profiling, Better Jail Conditions, and Against Over-Incarceration” hosted by TransEquality as part of their 2014 Lobby Days. I went at the invitation of some of the young organizers there and was glad to be included.

The two primary speakers were Trans Equality policy expert Harper Jean Tobin (see her HuffPo piece here) and Houston-based Lou Weaver, who is working to launch a model program with sheriff’s department in Texas.

I went to listen and learn and to see where Trans issues cross into other justice avenues, such as protecting civil rights for Transfolks, addressing Trans issues in homelessness work, and especially in suicide prevention, as well as making sure we are including and advocating for and with Transfolks in Mass Incarceration work – especially since the majority of Trans people in the prison system are people of color, primarily African Americans.

One important part of the conversation focused on the history that much of the current Trans organizing and policy work came out of Gay and Lesbian organizing that has been primarily from white leadership groups and white leadership is who gets the primary funding. But, like in many situations, the vast majority of Transfolks who end up in the prison system are people of color. So once again, policy is being created by white leaders without the leadership and expertise of people of color who are disproportionately impacted.

There were some specific resources mentioned that I want to share with others:

A good Bible study here:

Community Organizations:
Black Transmen/BTMI
Trans People of Color Coalition

Best practices for supporting LGBT prisoners:
STANDING WITH LGBT PRISONERS: An Advocate’s Guide to Ending Abuse and Combating Imprisonment  (For community-based advocacy)
Policy Review and Development Guide: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Persons in Custodial Settings  (for those working within the corrections system)

Also, in case you missed it, Patti Shaw just won an important case in D.C. that will change (hopefully) police policies.

And Calvary Baptist in D.C. has called its first Trans pastor, Rev. Allyson Robinson. She’s serving as interim in the wake of Rev. Amy Butler moving up to the big pulpit at Riverside Church in NY. See their lovely liturgy here.

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