Category Archives: Uncategorized

TODAY! Trans Day of Remebrance; FRIDAY! Trans Day of Action

Trans Day of Remembrance

Today is the annual Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), observed each year on November 20 to honor the memories of those we have lost to violence and oppression. DC’s TDOR service is tonight at 6:00p.m. at the Metropolitan Community Church, located at 474 Ridge Street NW (Metro: Mt. Vernon Square). Doors open at 5:30.

DC Mayor Vince Gray and other city officials, along with members of local victims’ families, will be in attendance. There will be a special recognition of the advocates behind the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Amendment Act. For more information, contact Earline Budd at 202.388.8251.

RSVP for TDOR on Facebook.

Trans Day of Action

Casa Ruby is hosting this year’s Trans Day of Action (TDOA) is this Friday from 6:00-9:00p.m., at Next Step Public Charter School, located at 3047 15th Street NW (Metro: Columbia Heights).

The event features a community conversation on trans unemployment and homelessness, and the launch of Casa Ruby’s new “Work It” employment program. There will also be a special showcase of the new documentary TRANS. For more information, contact Ruby Corado at corado (at) casaruby.org.

RSVP for TDOA on Facebook.

We hope to see you at both events! 

 

Victory! It’s now MUCH easier to change your name and birth certificate in DC!

We’re tremendously excited to announce that today, the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Amendment Act went into effect in DC. What does that mean for you? There is now a faster, cheaper, and more confidential process in place for you to change your name and for those born in DC to get a new birth certificate with the correct name and gender marker.

Our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality summed up the changes nicely:

As of today individuals can request updated birth certificates directly from the DC Department of Health Vital Records Division. To request a new birth certificate, an applicant must submit a signed gender designation request form along with a form signed by their healthcare provider stating that the applicant has had treatment appropriate for that individual for gender transition. The Department of Health will issue a new birth certificate with the designated gender and updated name if applicable.

Along with birth certificate changes, the new law made much-needed updates to the legal name change process in DC. Applicants no longer have to publish their name change in the newspaper, an outdated and expensive process that was particularly burdensome for the transgender community. In order to get a legal name change, applicants go to the DC Superior Court and submit a petition for name change, notify creditors and other interested parties directly of the upcoming legal name change, and then return to the court for the judge to grant their name change. The name change order can then be used to update the name on a birth certificate, passport, social security card, driver’s license or state ID, or other document.

You can find helpful folks able to help you through the process for name change, gender marker change, or both, at TransLAW, Whitman Walker Health Legal Services, or Casa Ruby.

A big thanks to all the activists, lawmakers, and DC officials who helped make this a reality!

Open Letter to Mayor Gray on the Large Retailer Accountability Act

August 6, 2013

Dear Mayor Gray,

You have been tremendous on transgender issues. Since entering office, you have supported vital programs for our community, such as Project Empowerment; you have made strong showings of support for priorities, such as the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act; and you understand the importance of following the community’s lead.

On that last point, please remember: labor standards are a transgender issue. As a trans activist who sees every advancement for workers’ rights as an advance for my community, I implore you to sign the Large Retailer Accountability Act.

The transgender community needs money. According to the DC Trans Coalition’s recent Needs Assessment of the DC trans community, only 50% are currently employed, and 34% currently work in the underground economy. Money is vital, and for the trans community, in short supply.

But merely injecting small amounts of money into DC is not adequate. The Needs Assessment shows that of those identifying housing as a top priority, 30% cited access to affordable housing as a major issue. And of those that have worked, 45% noted having faced some form of discrimination at work.

If the trans community is to thrive, it needs employers that pay well, and can provide a guarantee that they will treat trans workers with respect.

Walmart, without the strong urging of the DC government via the Large Retailer Accountability Act, is not that employer. Walmart’s wages of $8.25 an hour do not match our living wage; my concerns about affordable housing will not be assuaged unless we can be sure that all companies pay a living wage. Furthermore, speaking to the discrimination point, Walmart–according to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index–does not provide a program for cultural competency across the entire company. Non-discrimination policies mean nothing without a solid regime of enforcement.

The DC government has long been a champion of trans and workers’ rights, with a statutory living wage, and, again, the trans-friendly policies your Administration has supported so thoroughly. At the same time, you’ve stood tough against Chick-Fil-A for its anti-LGBT stance. Follow the example you’ve set so far; follow the tradition of DC government since Home Rule; follow the advice of so many of us in the trans community: if Walmart is going to put stores in DC, we need to make them accountable. You need to make sure they treat my community with respect, and an integral part of that is making sure Walmart pays a living wage. The DC government still has plenty of work to do ensure the safe livelihoods of transgender people, but there’s a decision you can make immediately that will help our community.

Sign the Large Retailer Accountability Act for workers, for transgender people, and for DC.

In solidarity,

Andy Bowen
Social Policy Organizer
DC Trans Coalition

Community Forum and Lunch This Saturday!

Join the DC Trans Coalition on Saturday, July 20 for a community forum and lunch at Casa Ruby. We will unveil detailed results from our community needs assessment and discuss where to go from here with organizing and advocacy. Come hear the findings from the DC Trans Needs Assessment and help come up with community based policy priorities and solutions to address issues that are most negatively impacting the lives of trans people in DC.

Needs Assessment Preliminary Findings-

  • Only 59% are employed;
  • 54% earn less than $15,000/year;
  • 80% had experienced verbal, physical, or sexual assault as a consequence of being perceived as trans;
  • 59% reported housing discrimination;
  • 89% of those currently experiencing homelessness are people of color;
  • 81% reported being refused medical care as a result of being identified as trans;
  • 60% had seriously considered suicide over their lifetime; and
  • 53% had been discriminated against when interacting with police.

We look forward to seeing you at Casa Ruby (2822 Georgia Ave. Washington DC) at 12pm on Saturday, July 20!

Action Alert: Support Trans Health and Services in DC’s Budget

Our friends Andy Bowen and Nico Quintana with the DC Trans Economic Justice Campaign are asking for your support advancing two key DC budget proposals that will benefit trans people.

DC Council Members are voting on the annual Budget Request Act on Wednesday, May 22. There are two items in the budget that need your support TODAY to help fight for trans justice.   

DC’s Health Care Exchange 
Tell your council member to support the DC Health Care Exchange funding in the Budget Request Act.  Why- the DC Health Exchange has trans inclusive care language in it. Powerful forces have gathered to defeat DC’s health care exchange. If those folks are successful, we’ll lose local control over our health exchange, which means we could lose our battle to make sure Health Exchange-provided plans do not have trans exclusions. 

One City Fund
Tell your council member to support the proposed One City Fund. Why?  The fund will provide grant opportunities for direct service and anti-poverty organizations, some of which have trans clients.  The fund would start with an initial $15 million.

Today! Call or email Council members and say: “I am a DC resident, and I want you to continue funding the DC Health Care Exchange and the One City Fund in the Budget Request Act as is. Local control over the Health Care Exchange is vital to making sure the Exchange meets community needs, such as those of the transgender community, who need to ensure that the Exchange plans do not exclude transgender people from treatment. The One City Fund will support and expand vital services for transgender DC residents. Thank you for your time.”

DC Council members’ contact info:

The Honorable Phil Mendelson, pmendelson@dccouncil.us  (202) 724-8032
The Honorable David Catania, dcatania@dccouncil.us (202) 724-7772
The Honorable Vincent Orange, vorange@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8174
The Honorable David Grosso, dgrosso@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8105
The Honorable Anita Bonds, abonds@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8064
The Honorable Jim Graham, jgraham@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8181
The Honorable Jack Evans, jevans@dccouncil.us  (202) 724-8058
The Honorable Mary Cheh, mcheh@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8062
The Honorable Muriel Bowser, mbowser@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8052
The Honorable Kenyan McDuffie, kmcduffie@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8028
The Honorable Tommy Wells, twells@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8072
The Honorable Yvette Alexander, yalexander@dccouncil.us  (202) 724-8068
The Honorable Marion Barry, mbarry@dccouncil.us  (202) 724-8045

Statement in Solidarity with Clients of Transgender Health Empowerment, Inc.

Transgender Health Empowerment (THE) has had to dramatically curtail their services due to financial difficulties, as reported today in the Washington Blade. This reduction happened very suddenly, and services trans community members depend on have been abruptly cut off.  Immediate action must be taken to ensure THE clients get services they need to ensure continuity of care.  THE has provided essential services to DC trans communities since 1996, and without these services many trans people and LGBTQ youth will be left without access to vital housing and health care services.  DCTC stands with THE’s clients and calls on DC Government,as THE’s primary funder, to act quickly to make sure that necessary services continue. DC’s trans communities face significant health disparities, and we must take collective responsibility to ensure that those needs are addressed.

DC Trans Groups Victorious In Shelter Struggle

Lakiesha with the suit
Lakiesha Washington poses with the judge’s order that the John L Young shelter be open to transgender women.

Shelter that discriminated against transgender woman agrees to stop discriminating, train its staff on trans sensitivity, and make its facilities safer for trans people

A DC transgender resident named Lakiesha Washington, Transgender Health Empowerment (a drop-in center for LGBT people), and DC Trans Coalition have won a major victory for transgender homeless people.

As the Washington Blade reported earlier this week, Lakiesha Washington sued New Hope Ministries–operator of the John L Young Women’s Shelter–for discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. On April 3, 2013, Washington attempted to get a bed in the John L Young Shelter, and was turned away, being told (as is noted in Ms. Washington’s complaint), “We don’t do transgenders here. You have to leave.”

Washington, and the lawyer representing her–DC Trans Coalition member Jeffrey Light–negotiated with New Hope Ministries through this last week that New Hope would agree to a Temporary Restraining Order allowing Washington (and all transgender women) into the shelter. Furthermore, New Hope Ministries has arranged to give its staff transgender sensitivity training (as put on by Transgender Health Empowerment’s Earline Budd, and the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs), and improve the privacy of its bathroom and shower facilities so that no one will be outed on the basis of their genitalia.

DC Trans Coalition member Andy Bowen, who filed an Office of Human Rights complaint about John L Young in February 2013, will withdraw her complaint, which had just entered the mediation and investigation stage.

“This is a great day for all transgender people,” said Washington. “Nobody should have to face discrimination and humiliation, and thanks to this case, homeless transgender people will be now be safer.”

“DC has great nondiscrimination laws, but good laws do not equal adequate enforcement,” said Bowen. “This case showed the need for more vigilant enforcement, and if DC Trans Coalition has anything to do with it, enforcement’s gonna happen.”

For more information, contact Andy Bowen at andymbowen [at] gmail [dot] com.

John L Young TRO Signed