Tag Archives: social services

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

Trans People Say: End Economic Inequality, Solidarity with the 99%!

The DC Trans Coalition has decided to formally endorse and offer our support to the OccupyDC movement. We also encourage all of our members to attend today’s protest gathering at 4pm at Freedom Plaza and marching to the International Monetary Fund.

The Occupy Together movement started in New York City as Occupy Wall Street, which began on September 17th. The protests have grown progressively larger as increasing numbers take to the streets in nonviolent opposition to a society in which 1% of the population controls a quarter of all income. Inspired by this model, similar occupations are occurring in dozens of cities across the country, some being attended by tens of thousands. The demonstrators have highlighted that the current economic crisis is caused by corporate greed, and demand jobs and resources for oppressed people. In DC, Occupy K Street protestors have been in McPherson Square for several weeks.

As a whole, socially-marginalized communities (such as low-income trans people and trans people of color) suffer the most directly from poverty and are the most likely to be impacted by inequalities that arise from economic injustice. The DC Trans Coalition’s major priorities — as decided upon by our grassroots base through community forums and consultations — are creating inclusive, accessible jobs and services for all marginalized people in the District. We thus stand in solidarity with the grassroots Occupy Together movements.

Additionally, we especially encourage everyone who is able to attend the march that will take place today shortly after 4:00pm, leaving from Freedom Plaza, through McPherson Square, and ending at the International Monetary Fund. Today’s march was started by a group of women, queer people, and people of color in order to highlight the connection between multiple forms of oppression, both at home and globally. For this reason, DCTC especially wishes to express our full support for this action. It is critical that we recognize the links between our oppression and the oppression of others, and that we all work together to end inequality.

See you in the streets! For more information on OccupyDC and today’s march, see below. Continue reading Trans People Say: End Economic Inequality, Solidarity with the 99%!

Finally, Some Good News: Trans Employment Program Success! (Plus More Updates)

After a brutal summer, we are excited to share some positive results from our collective struggle to improve the lives of trans folks in the District. After talks between trans advocates and D.C. Mayor Gray, 21 trans individuals are participating in Project Empowerment’s pilot program to combat transphobic discrimination. NPR has an in-depth look.

DCTC is doing all we can to support the participants and make it a success. We are very excited to be part of this ground-breaking effort to address unemployment in our communities, and we hope the District will continue to fund similar potentially life-saving resources.

In response to the recent string of violence, we’ve received an unprecedented amount of letters of support in the past few weeks. We are looking forward to a busy fall, so if you’re thinking about getting involved now is a great time! We are gearing up for our next semi-annual Community Forum, tentatively scheduled for October 23rd. Here is a bit more news from our active campaigns…

Needs Assessment

  • We just passed a major hurdle toward receiving funding so that we can begin Phase Two. Our Needs Assessment Working Group is in the process of designing the paper survey that will soon be distributed. If you’d like to help out, they meet on the second and third Tuesdays of the month. Click here to learn more.
  • In case you missed it, be sure to check out the critically important results from our community roundtable discussions at the Phase One Summary Report.

Jails

  • DCTC members recently attended the first ever meeting of the D.C. Department of Corrections Transgender Advisory Council, a new body meant to increase transparency and community oversight into how the DOC is handling trans inmates. We will have more updates shortly!
  • A Corrections officer is currently being investigated for issuing death threats against two trans women. We are following this case closely.

Responding to Violence and Hate Crimes

  • DCTC is continuing to work with community members in response to the many recent instances of violence involving trans women and/or motivated by transphobia. Click herehere and here to see media interviews with DCTC members.
  • Adding to our fears that the string of murders was motivated by bias, the makeshift memorial to Lashai Mcclean that was left at the site she was murdered (and near where two other trans women were shot weeks later) has been burned.
  • The death of Gaurav Gopalan was recently ruled a homicide.
  • An arrest was made in the shooting of a trans woman in Southeast.
  • We are working with our allies at Transgender Health Empowerment and elsewhere to organize this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance and other events around November 20th. If you’d like to help, watch for an announcement about the next TDOR Planning Meeting.

Police

  • Members of DCTC have recently attended early meetings with other community organizations who are working to create a new coalition called TLGB Police Watch.
  • We maintain regular communication with the Metropolitan Police Department to express our concern about transphobia in MPD. We want to make sure that officers are being properly trained, and we want MPD to take the recent crimes against trans people seriously.
  • We are preparing to conduct another round of training for the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit.
  • We continue to monitor the legal case against Officer Furr, who recently shot at a group of trans people and their friends while off-duty.

The City’s Pilot Job Program: Are You Interested?

As previously mentioned, the city has promised to help address unemployment in the trans community with a paid job training program. If you are interested and meet the eligibility requirements (see below), please contact Jeffrey Richardson at 202-442-5143 or by email at jeffrey.richardson@gmail.com.

Here is more information from the Mayor’s Office on GLBT Affairs:

The pilot program will begin on September 12, 2011 with a class of 20 participants. The program includes three weeks of in class pre-employment training and job coaching followed by 6 months of subsidized employment. The Department of Employment Services will pay each participant minimum wage, while they are placed in an apprentice role with an employer. The goal is to support the participant in finding full-time employment by the end of the six months.

Eligibility Requirements

 All potential TEP participants must meet the following requirements for enrollment:

  • Age 22 to 54
  • District resident (as verified through a DMV records, lease, or judgment/commitment papers)
  • Currently unemployed
  • Not receiving government assistance, such as TANF, SSI, or Unemployment Compensation (Food Stamps are acceptable)
  • Not currently using any illegal substances (there will be a urinalysis conducted at Orientation)
  • Not a participant in a Project Empowerment workforce development program within the past 2 years

In addition, all potential TEP participants must demonstrate a substantial need for intensive employment assistance by exhibiting 3 or more of the following barriers to employment:

  • Basic skills deficiency, demonstrated by a lack of sufficient mastery of basic educational skills exhibited by CASAS scores below the 8thgrade reading level and/or an English language deficiency with an inability to speak, read, or write the English language
  • Lack of a secondary school educational credential (high school diploma or its recognized equivalent)
  • A documented history of substance abuse
  • Homelessness
  • A history of Job Cycling in which he/she has not maintained employment for more than one (1) consecutive quarter in the past eight (8) quarters, as verified through UI Wage Bumps
  • A conviction for a Serious or Violent Offense

Pending referral to TEP, all potential participants must be in compliance with and actively engaged in the employment activities outlined in the plan developed during the pre-enrollment assessment with a OneStop case manager for a period of at least four (4) weeks.

Discussing the Causes of Violence Against Trans Women

Violence against trans women does not only exist as individual hatred or bias-motivated crime. It comes in many forms and for many reasons. Trans women are systematically placed in circumstances where we are more likely than others to experience multiple forms of violence.

In order to end violence against trans women, it is important to understand that more than just personal prejudices are at fault. Other kinds of oppression like racism, laws like the criminalization of sex work, economic forces like poverty and gentrification, and many other forces are also at play.

Wednesday, DCTC’s Sadie Vashti spoke about violence against the transgender community with the Latino Media Collective. The interview was broadcast on the radio, but you can also listen to it anytime at this link. (The interview begins about 1/4th into the clip.) In order to be more accessible, click below to read an abbreviated transcript broken into headings by topic.

Note: The views expressed in this interview belong only to Sadie. DCTC is a collective of many people with a variety of views. To learn more about our official organizational principles and stances, see here. Also, this interview was conducted before the most recent attack on a group of trans women by an off-duty MPD officer. Continue reading Discussing the Causes of Violence Against Trans Women

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.

Trans Day of Action 2010

The DC Trans Coalition formally endorses this march and calls on our allies and supporters who are able to travel to New York City to join our contingent in the Sixth Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice!

When: Friday, June 25, 2010 – 3:00pm
Where:
To Be Announced (NYC)

On June 25, 2010, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color and allies will take to the streets of NYC once again and demand justice to let the world know, that the rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice, raising our voices until we are heard.  We call on all activist and organizers for justice, both local and organizations around the country and world to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together.  Below are the points of unity which hold together the purpose of this march.

To endorse Trans Day of Action 2010, send an email to endorsetdoa@alp.org.

See below for Points of Unity and more info about the Day of Action.

Continue reading Trans Day of Action 2010