Tag Archives: federal

You’re invited to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2011 Policy Conference!

Hello DC-area folks! I wanted to take a moment to invite you all to this year’s annual Policy Conference and Lobby Days hosted by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

If you live in the District and you’re like me, you probably ignore most federal lobbying efforts. We don’t have a voting representative, and why continuously bother Eleanor Holmes Norton, right?

But, this year’s Policy Conference and Lobby Days will have plenty of events that are relevant to local organizers. We will be networking with other activists from across the country, learning skills for lobbying and policy-making right here in the District, and listening to how federal policy changes affect all of us. Plus, members of the DC Trans Coalition will be available to discuss local issues. We hope you’ll join us!

Here’s the schedule of this year’s events:

Sunday, March 13

  • 1:00 – 5:00 pm Policy Conference, Holiday Inn Washington, 1501 Rhode Island Avenue NW, D
  • 7:00 p.m. Meet & Greet: Hosted by National Stonewall Democrats at Holiday Inn Hotel Bar

Monday, March 14

  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Policy Conference and Training, Holiday Inn Washington, 1501 Rhode Island Avenue NW, DC
  • 7:00 p.m. Moving Forward Together reception (separate ticket required – purchase here)

Tuesday, March 15

  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Meetings with Representatives and Senators
  • 12:00 p.m. Photo op, meet by Capitol Visitors Center
  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Wrap up reception at Tortilla Coast, 400 1st Street SE (right near the Capitol)–included for registrants

Click here to register online! **** Please forward this to your networks, friends, list servs, and anyone you think might be interested! ****

Solidarity,

Sadie-Ryanne Vashti
Policy Conference Project Manager
svashti@transequality.org | (202) 903.0112
National Center for Transgender Equality
1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW Suite 700 WDC 20005
www.nctequality.org

Better Data Collection for Trans Youth

We scored another victory in the struggle to acknowledge, understand and validate the experiences of trans youth!

The DC Trans Coalition, and dozens of other community organizations, signed on in support of a letter requesting the addition of a question looking at gender identity and trans youth on the next round of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) chiefly administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We recently received the following e-mail:

On behalf of the organizations that coordinated this effort (Advocates for Youth, GLSEN, GSA Network, The National Coalition for LGBT Health, The Network for LGBT Health Equity and The Trevor Project), I am pleased to let you know that the letter sparked a promising dialogue with the CDC.  Following a recent conversation with the CDC, they have agreed to add an optional question on gender identity to the pool of questions in the next round of the YRBS in 2013.

I and my colleagues hope you share our excitement in this commitment from the CDC that benefits transgender youth.  Moving forward, the next step will be for all of us to advocate within our districts, states, and at the national level to ensure this question is used as widely as possible when the YRBS is administered next in 2013.

It’s nice to have something positive to report every once in awhile.

One Nation Working Together

On October 2, 2010, thousands of progressive people will converge on our hometown of Washington, DC for the “One Nation Working Together” march. This march strives to counter the reactionary tone of other recent marches on Washington with a call for “a future of justice at home and peace abroad, where we create good jobs for all of us and take on the great challenges we face as a nation: rebuilding our economy; respecting all families; educating all our children in safe environments; transforming how we use energy; ensuring safe, vibrant, diverse communities; and providing for an economic future built on the principles that America has always aspired to achieve.”

The organizers of this march have reached out to LGBTQ organizations in an effort to show solidarity and build a movement that includes everyone. In return, dozens of LGBTQ groups — including Whitman Walker Clinic, Queers for Economic Justice,  the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, the DC Trans Coalition (that’s us!) and more — have endorsed the march. We’re excited to be part of this effort to look beyond identity and bring people together around our shared values and collective needs.

We hope that you’ll join us on October 2nd as we stand with our social justice allies. After Whitman Walker’s AIDS Walk, the LGBTQ and Youth contingents for One Nation Working Together are meeting up at Freedom Plaza at 10:00AM (on Pennsylvania Ave between 13th & 14th, NW). We hope you will join us there to support the AIDS Walk Washington closing ceremonies. Then, we’ll march as one delegation to the rally.

If you need more convincing, check out this great letter put together by the LGBTQ Table for One Nation Working Together.

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Trans-Latin@ Coalition Urges DOJ to Address Anti-Trans Violence in Puerto Rico

The DC Trans Coalition is a signatory to the Trans-Latin@ Coalition’s letter to the US Department of Justice, below. The letter is a response to the ongoing deaths and human rights violations of trans women in Puerto Rico. The US government has contributed to the culture of anti-trans violence by failing to protect the civil rights of trans people. If any other organizations would like to support this action, please e-mail Bamby Salcedo at bsalcedo@chla.usc.edu.

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LGBT and Allied Groups Call on Congress to Pass ENDA Now

More than 200 Organizations Demand Immediate Action

(Washington, DC, April 21) — Today, the nation’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations, along with allies in the faith, labor and civil rights communities, issued the following statement to members of the United States Congress:

“Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW.”

[Below the cut,  all 236 Organizations -- including the DC Trans Coalition.]

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DCTC’s Comments on Proposed Prisoner Rape Standards

DCTC has submitted public comments to the US Department of Justice regarding the Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Detention currently under review by the US Attorney General. (Click to read all of our testimony.) As grassroots organizers, we wanted to share the experiences and perspectives of our local communities, and to ensure that the unique needs of trans prisoners are not left out. As we state in our testimony, the present system for preventing sexual abuse in detention is broken, and trans individuals often feel the brunt of this. For the trans community and for many others, it is urgent that we adopt these standards without delay as an important step toward addressing the massive human rights violations that go on every day across this country. Here is an excerpt from our comments:

In the 1994 Farmer v. Brennan US Supreme Court case, a trans woman incarcerated in a male prison complained that the prison administration had shown “deliberate indifference” to the repeated sexual abuse she faced.  The Supreme Court declared that the prison has a duty under the Eighth Amendment to provide humane conditions of confinement, including the obligation to ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and are protected from violence at the hands of other prisoners. Placing an individual who presents herself and lives her life as female in a male unit is practically ensuring that she will be raped. To fully eliminate sexual abuse in detention, correctional systems must also acknowledge that trans individuals are at a heightened risk and that protecting them from abuse will require flexible housing policies that prioritize their safety. The obligation to prevent sexual abuse requires correctional systems to end the practice of making housing placement decisions based solely on genitalia, or excessively relying on protective custody and administrative segregation.

The standards under review are an extremely important step toward fixing this problem. No matter how big or how small, all corrections facilities must institute basic policies and practices to keep inmates safe. The final standards should include a broad definition of prisoner rape, acknowledging vulnerable prison populations including trans individuals.  Whatever form sexual abuse takes, it is always wrong; unchecked harassment frequently leads to more serious abuse. Morally, we must end rape without delay.

Below the cut, read more about the Standards, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and how to submit your own comments to DOJ, in a press release from Just Detention, International.

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DC Trans Coalition Endorses 2010 March for America

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2010
Contact:
Rhodes Perry
(202) 403-7000 / Rhodes.perry@gmail.com

DC Trans Coalition Endorses 2010 March for America
“March Provides Opportunity To Raise Visibility for Trans Immigrants, Refugees and asylum seekers,” Group Says

Washington, DC – The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) will participate in Sunday’s 2010 March for America, which provides an opportunity for the group to raise visibility around two interconnected and complex issues – transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming human rights and immigrant rights.  The intersection of these issues continues to be largely ignored and neglected, despite the profound degree of discrimination, humiliation and outright violence trans immigrants endure, all of which jeopardize the most essential rights to life, dignity, and health.

“Tragically, too many transgender immigrants lack culturally competent and understanding legal counsel, or receive inaccurate legal information from attorneys who are not well-versed in this area of the law,” said Alison Gill, a DCTC attorney.  “As a result, trans immigrants fail to obtain immigration documents that correctly reflect their gender identity, file timely or comprehensive applications for asylum, or secure legal immigrant status through marriage to a US Citizen or resident.”

Trans immigrants face additional barriers to the already difficult and demanding legal immigration process. For example, the lack of explicit inclusion of “gender identity” as a protected class for asylum-seekers complicates asylum applications for those attempting to flee persecution. Additionally, many countries continue to require nullification of marriages before recognizing a trans person’s identity, making it more difficult for transgender immigrants to reunite with their families.

Failing to access sound legal advice – and knowing one’s rights in general – leads to increased marginalization of trans immigrants within the U.S., exposing far too many people to exploitation by employers, increased risk of discrimination, humiliation and abuse, negative health consequences of living in the U.S. without legal status, and detention in federal facilities pending removal hearings. Further, many transgender immigrants have experienced rape, sexual assault, harassment and other forms of violence – including the denial of life-saving HIV medications – while incarcerated in immigrant detention center.

“Clearly, more immigration attorneys need to understand the very unique and complex issues trans immigrants experience in particular, and sensitive attorneys unfamiliar with immigration law should recognize that there are good laws on the books addressing treatment of trans immigrants that are unfortunately not enforced and often misapplied,” said Gill.

According to guidelines from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), trans immigrants should be able to access accurate identity documents – i.e. work authorization, naturalization certificates, green cards, etc – in the “outward, claimed and otherwise documented [gender identity] of the applicant.”  Clarification as to what “otherwise documented” is necessary as officials from USCIS enforce this rule inconsistently, typically requiring trans-related surgical procedures prior to obtaining accurate identity documents.  In some extreme circumstances, officials will refuse to correct gender markers on identity documents for individuals who have undergone such procedures for no justifiable reason.

“We believe that no human being is illegal, and that no one should be denied accurate documentation, whether because they are transgender or due to their citizenship status,” said Sadie Ryanne Baker, a DCTC advocate.  “Without such documentation, trans immigrants will continue to be treated inhumanly, and made vulnerable to extreme discrimination, humiliation, underemployment and violence.  We plan to march on Sunday to help raise visibility around these complex issues, in hopes of building stronger coalitions with immigration advocates and ensuring that the good laws on the books are enforced appropriately,” said Baker.

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The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) is a volunteer, grassroots community-based organization dedicated to fighting for human rights, dignity, and equal access for transsexual, transgender and gender-diverse people in the District of Columbia.