Guiding Principles

  • AccessibilityWe believe in acknowledging existing barriers to participation in our organization, and are committed to challenging those barriers. We recognize that the volunteer nature of our work means that people who can afford to donate their time, energy and money will be better able to contribute to the group. We strive to keep this privilege in check by making our meetings and events as accessible as possible, especially to the people who will be most impacted by our campaigns. Some of the ways we do this are: ensuring our events and resources are multilingual, conducting street outreach,  making print and off-line resources available, holding events in physically accessible locations, transcribing video or sound media, etc.
  • Anti-Oppression. We believe all manifestations of prejudice and inequality are related, and that we must actively challenge all of them so that our political victories truly benefit all of us. Due to racism, sexism, poverty and many other hierarchies, certain trans communities suffer disproportionately higher rates of violence, discrimination, and un(der)employment; face greater barriers to health care and education; and have much less access to information. We prioritize the needs and voices of trans communities who face multiple kinds of oppression, such as those who are Native or First Nations, women, low- or no-income, non-binary or genderqueer, non-passing, youth, elders, people of color, people with mental or physical disabilities, immigrants, sex workers, undocumented people, people who are homeless, and people who are incarcerated, among others. We also strive to acknowledge, explore, and challenge the ways in which institutional privileges play out within our own organizations and spaces, and to facilitate intercultural dialog about racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, etc within our own communities.
  • Consensus & Accountability. We believe that as many people as possible should be involved in making decisions that will affect them. We reject hierarchical structures in favor of a horizontal leadership and decision-making by consensus. We also hold broad community forums so that as many people as possible have an equal say in our organization’s goals, priorities and strategies.
  • Empowerment. We believe that people are capable of liberating themselves and should not be dependent on others to speak for them. Rather than approaching our work as “charity,we strive to use policy changes and legal advocacy to give individuals the political tools and cultural space they need to advocate on their own behalf.
  • Harm Reduction. We believe in helping people reduce the risks in their life by empowering them to make their own decisions and allowing them to be in control of their lives without judgement. We believe in meeting people where they are at without making moral or ethical judgments about their choices, or expecting them to change their behavior in ways they can’t or don’t want to. This applies to sex work, drug use, and many other things. While we acknowledge the importance and validity of having multiple strategies, we believe that we need options that acknowledge our unique situations and allow us to figure out our own strategies for survival on our own terms without fearing moralizing scrutiny.
  • Social and Economic Justice. We believe that everyone deserves the material and emotional resources needed to determine their own gender, whether that be transition-related health care, loving support from our communities, or access to strong, trans-sensitive social service agencies and public organizations that understand and respect trans people. So long as some trans people are rich and others are poor, many trans people will be denied the full potential to express their gender. We work toward a fairer distribution of wealth and resources, so that we all have truly equal access to the things we need to control our own bodies and to live healthy lives.
  • Solidarity and Mutual Aid. We do not fight only for “trans issues” because no one is “only trans.” We recognize that issues that impact working-class people, sex workers, communities of color, migrants and refugees, youth, the homeless, and undocumented people, among many others, also affect many people within trans communities. Thus, we work in partnership with organizations that support these and other communities. All marginalized and oppressed people share a common interest in changing society by re-distributing power downward and should work together for a fairer society.
  • Voluntary Action. We believe that political organizations should be accountable to their communities and to the individuals who are most directly impacted by their work, and not to corporations, governments, nonprofit industries, or wealthy individuals. As such, we do not accept corporate/foundation funding or private sponsorship. We depend entirely on grassroots fundraising from our members. We hope to build a broadly inclusive trans justice movement where everyday trans folks have a role in shaping their futures, and are not solely represented by professional activists. We don’t think a college degree or salaried position should be required in order to participate in a social justice organization or movement. While we respect the important contributions of non-profits, and we recognize that much important work could not happen without foundational grants and paid staff, we believe that the corporate nonprofit model should never entirely replace democratic, grassroots organizations.

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