Tag Archives: schools

DCTC Recommends Priorities for District Government

Last week, newly-elected Mayor Gray’s Director of the Office of GLBT Affairs, Jeffrey Richardson, attended a DC Trans Coalition meeting. Members of DCTC educated the Director about the needs of trans communities in the District, and we were assured that trans people (along with youth and aging LGBT people) would be among the administration’s top concerns.

For the occasion, DCTC prepared a list of priorities for the Gray Administration, and shared this with the Director. We broke it down by agency and listed the most pressing and achievable goals for each. Among our list were:

  • End the Prostitution Free Zones and move toward decriminalizing sex work;
  • Nominate one or more trans people to serve on the Commission on Human Rights;
  • Enforce the gender-neutral bathroom provisions of the DC Human Rights Act;
  • Restore funding to vital trans-sensitive social services like HIPS and T.H.E.;
  • Develop plans to address unemployment in the trans community;
  • Expand the Dept. of Corrections and MPD trans policies to include other criminal justice agencies in the District;
  • Fund the DC Trans Needs Assessment

..and much more. You can read the comprehensive list here.

Bully Free DC Day, Thursday, April 21 — Rally at Noon!

Tomorrow is the first ever Bully Free DC Day, designed to raise awareness about bullying in schools, and to promote new anti-bullying legislation currently pending before the DC Council.

A rally is being held tomorrow at noon on the front steps of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW).  The mayor, several council members, and community activists — including DCTC’s Sadie-Ryanne Vashti — are scheduled to speak.  Please join us tomorrow!

A brief snapshot of the DC anti-bullying bill, from our partners at GLSEN:

This anti-bullying measure will emphasize preventative education and will require DC Public Schools and other District agencies that work with youth to pass comprehensive anti-bullying policies. The bill will help provide teachers with the tools they need to prevent bullying, harass­ment and cyberbullying and encourage these agencies to establish bullying prevention programs.

  • DC Public Schools, DC Public Charter Schools, the Department of Parks and Recreation, DC Public Libraries, and the University of District of Columbia are the entities required under this bill to adopt anti-bullying policies and encouraged to establish prevention programs.
  • This bill provides protection for ALL students while specifically identifying those characteristics that are frequent targets of bullying and harassment. Listing these enumerated categories is critical to ensure protection for all students. Research has shown that students who attend schools with policies that enumerate categories report less bullying and harassment than students who do not.

Click here to RSVP for the rally on facebook.  See you tomorrow!

News and events from DCTC

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, April 14, 6:30pm:  Hate Crimes Town Hall with MPD, the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, and the DC Attorney General — Community Room @ Reeves Center, 14th & U Streets NW
  • Tuesday, April 19, 7:30pm:  Bi-monthly DCTC Meeting — Austin Center @ Whitman Walker Clinic, 14th & R Streets NW
  • Thursday, April 21, 12:00noon:  Rally for a Bully Free DC — Front Steps @ The Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Tuesday, April 26, 7:30pm:  Needs Assessment Working Group — Soho Coffee, 22nd & P Streets NW
  • Tuesday, May 3, 7:30pm:  Bi-monthly DCTC Meeting — Austin Center @ Whitman Walker Clinic, 14th & R Streets NW

What we’ve been up to

As always, we value your input and your help!  If you want to get involved in a project, write to dctc@dctranscoalition.org or call us at 202.681.DCTC (202.681.3282), or better yet, come to a meeting!

Jail Campaign.  The DC Department of Corrections is currently taking applications for trans community representatives on the DOC’s transgender housing committee.  It’s super important that lots of folks apply!  The transgender housing committee determines where trans inmates are safely housed.  To apply, please send a resume and cover letter explaining why you’re a good fit for this role to Carolyn Cross, Deputy Director of the Department of Corrections, at 1923 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 112 North, Washington, DC 20001 or by email at sylvia.lane2@dc.gov.

Police Liaison.  Last month we submitted testimony to the DC Council about the work of the MPD over the past year.  Check out one of the things we talked about! We also continue to train officers in the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.  Be sure to come to the Hate Crimes Town Hall this Thursday (details above) to make your voice heard!  If there’s something you want to say to the police department, this is a good time to say it!

Anti-Bullying Law.  We’re now a part of the DC Safe Schools Coalition and are working hard to get a strong anti-bullying law passed by the DC  Council.  Show your support at the rally on April 21 (details above there too), and make sure the Council and the Mayor know how important it is to keep youth safe in school.

Needs Assessment.  We’ve nearly completed our community roundtable meetings!  Our goal is to explore and document many issues facing members of the trans community, and we’re currently holding roundtable discussions with trans communities throughout DC as the first phase of the project.  If you would like to participate in a roundtable or volunteer to help plan phase two (launching a survey), please write to dctransneeds@gmail.com.

Trans Pride.  Our friends at Capital Trans Pride are gearing up a day of exciting events on Saturday, June 4.  Check out their page on Facebook!

Howdy from DCTC!

We wanted to take a minute to invite you to our upcoming meetings, and to share some information with you about what we’re working on. We really hope to see you soon!

Upcoming Events
Tuesday, February 15, 7:30pm: Bi-monthly DCTC Meeting — Austin Center @ Whitman Walker Clinic, 14th & R Streets NW
Tuesday, February 22, 7:30pm: Needs Assessment Working Group — Soho Coffee, 22nd & P Streets NW
Tuesday, March 1, 7:30pm: Bi-monthly DCTC Meeting — Austin Center @ Whitman Walker Clinic, 14th & R Streets NW

What we’ve been up to
It’s been a busy winter! Below are a few updates on what we’ve been doing. If you want to get involved in a project, write to dctc@dctranscoalition.org or call us at 202.681.DCTC (202.681.3282), or better yet, come to a meeting!

Needs Assessment. Our community roundtable discussions are now underway! Our goal is to explore and document many issues facing members of the trans community, and we’re currently holding roundtable discussions with trans communities throughout DC as the first phase of the project. If you would like to participate in a roundtable or volunteer to help organize the project, please write to dctransneeds@gmail.com.

Police Liaison. We work with several local organizations to train new Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) officers, training about 90 officers in 2010, and planning to train 100 more over seven sessions in 2011. We also meet with GLLU once a month to discuss hate crimes and recently had a conference call with police chief Cathy Lanier to go over hate crimes statistics for 2010. We need volunteers to help train the officers, so please let us know if you want to help out!

Anti-Bullying Law. We have been working with our allies and lobbying the DC Council to pass a recently introduced bill to prevent bullying in DC schools at all education levels. We’ll keep you posted about progress and ways you can help us get this passed!

Government Oversight. We’re planning to testify at the DC Council’s annual oversight hearing on the Office of Human Rights and the Office of LGBT Affairs in early March. If you have experiences with those agencies, or with any other DC Government agency that you would like to share, please drop us a line!

Creating Change. Several DCTC members went to the Creating Change conference to talk about our successes and challenges here in DC and to meet with partners from around the country. We even got some media coverage around the release of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey report. Check out the press coverage here.

Thanks so much for being awesome and for reading our little update. See you soon!

New Resource on Trans/GNC Youth

Hi everyone! DCTC would like to share a new resource, created by our friends at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. They just released a Fact Sheet on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth in School that we think is great. Some of the information is specific to New York City, but most still applies here in DC. (See our Know Your Rights! section to learn your rights in DC.) We just wanted to make sure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to read this helpful document from SRLP.

Continue reading New Resource on Trans/GNC Youth

Survey Finally Acknowledges Trans Youth

Here in DC, trans issues have been coming up in the media a lot lately. Metro TeenAIDS, a local HIV-prevention resource, distributed a survey to DCPS middle school students. A group of cisgender adults are now causing a fuss because this survey asked students whether they are trans.

First of all, thanks and congratulations to Metro TeenAIDS for doing what the city should have done a long time ago: acknowledging that trans youth exist. However, we are saddened that so many cisgender adults are unwilling to accept this reality.

In the wake of recent highly publicized LGBTQ youth suicides, it is depressing to see straight, cisgender adults who are in favor of maintaining a climate of ignorance. If we do not even acknowledge that trans youth exist, we will never be able to “make it better.”

Finally, shame on the media for sensationalizing this story. Although the survey contained many questions about student’s sexualities, drug use and other risk factors, parents and media have focused on the gender identity question. (Amanda Hess shares her thoughts on why over here.) There is nothing “graphic” about asking someone’s gender identity. But more importantly, regardless of squeamish parents, supporting trans youth should be our top priority.

Our Statement for the 2009 Trans Day of Remembrance

Please distribute this widely! Available online at http://www.dctranscoalition.org.

DC TRANS COALITION

For Immediate Release
November 8, 2009
Contact: Sadie Ryanne Baker
(202) 557-1951

The DC Trans Coalition Commemorates the 2009 Trans Day of Remembrance

Washington, DC – In recent months, a lot of us in DC were deeply affected by the murder of Ty’lia Mack, a trans woman who was stabbed along with a friend only a few blocks from the offices of Transgender Health Empowerment, Inc. Many of us at the DC Trans Coalition are survivors of violence ourselves, or are close to someone who is. We now approach the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, a time of emotional ceremonies when we come together with our friends and allies to remember the hundreds of fallen transsexual, transgender and gender nonconforming people all across the world.

Our communities are faced with violence all of the time – and it is not only the kind that comes from bigots who follow us on the street. It can also come from the threat of homelessness and job loss, disproportional rates of poverty and HIV infection, bullying in schools, or denial of access to health care or public facilities like restrooms.

To help curb this violence, sometimes we rely on police and laws like the Human Rights Act here in DC. Calling the police can be important if we are in the kinds of unsafe situations that are all-too-familiar for many trans/GNC people. However, involving the police is not a viable option for many people in our communities. A lack of consistent identity documents, fear of prejudiced and hateful officers and other factors can create complicated problems when interacting with police. Thankfully, in DC we have fought for policies to reduce these problems. We strongly encourage anyone who lives in, works in or visits DC to become familiar with these rights and what to do if they are violated. But even with these strong protections on paper, police harassment on the street and the threat of being arrested and sent to jail remains a constant problem for many.

As the city cuts the budgets of social service programs like THE that help the most vulnerable, and the police enact “tough on crime” policies like the Prostitution Free Zones that result in massive arrest rates for those of us who live in the most precarious economic situations, we need to look at the institutional problems that create and fuel all this violence against us. Trans/GNC people are not only made targets of violence because of blatantly transphobic prejudice. For example, we must also deal with racism, the criminalization of sex workers and the collapsing economy. We need to address all of the complex reasons why so many people in our communities are poor, on the street or constantly going through the jail in order to understand why so many trans/GNC people end up victims or survivors of violence.

Recently, the Obama Administration signed the trans-inclusive Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. Within DCTC, we have a diverse range of opinions on hate crimes legislation, but we agree that it is important to acknowledge the limitations and flaws of the criminal justice system as it is. As folks who have worked hard to reduce problems for trans/GNC people with police and in jail, we know jails themselves can be dangerous places for trans/GNC people. They also fuel vast racial and class inequalities. (In DC,for example, only 2% of our jail population is white.) So while it is exciting to see elected officials taking action to address the very real problem of hate violence targeting trans/GNC people, we hope that more people begin to have productive dialogs and think critically about strategies to address and prevent violence within our communities.

Relying on harsher penalties for bias-motivated crimes alone cannot keep us safe. While recognizing that sometimes we need to use them for our safety, we need to think about ways to decrease our societies’ over-reliance on police and jails as the only solution. This over-reliance on incarceration disproportionately harms marginalized communities like trans/GNC people. Even as DCTC works hard to make sure we enforce policies that will keep people as safe as possible on the streets and in jail, we also want to find solutions that keep people from going to jail in the first place. We hope that someday we might live in a world where we are put in unsafe situations less to begin with. That’s why, for example, we also have fought to make sure that trans/GNC folks can obtain legal documents that reflect the way we live, to make sure homeless shelters place trans/GNC people where they want to be, or to keep funding for vital social services.

The week leading up to TDOR has been declared the Trans Week of Awareness by some of our allies in Massachusetts. While we need to commemorate our dead, remembering the fallen is not enough to bring change toward a safer world. We also need to focus on preventing violence by educating those around us, to make them aware that trans/GNC people are their friends, partners, family, co-workers and community members and that we deserve rights and protection just like they do. We at DCTC join with others to mark this Week of Awareness, and ask everyone to spread the word about the need to end transphobia and work toward gender self-determination.

If you are in DC, we invite you to join Transgender Health Empowerment and other groups at 6:30 PM on Friday, November the 20th at the Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St. NW) for the annual Day of Remembrance ceremony. This year, let’s mourn our losses, but also celebrate our victories, our shared commitment to social justice and to building a world in which all forms of violence are things of the past. In the meantime, we would like to commemorate the strong communities we’ve built to support one another through hard times, and we invite all who are interested to join us in organizing for a safer DC, or wherever you find yourselves this Day of Remembrance.

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