One of the things I was looking for news wise out of last month's IFGE Conference in Tucson and I look forward to hearing about when an IFGE Conference convenes is who won the Trinity and Virginia Prince Awards.
I didn't find out about the Class of 2008 recipients until after the IFGE conference was over, and only because there was some controversy about Cheryl Ann Costa's acceptance speech remarks.
But my question to the IFGE board is this: If the Trinity and the Virginia Prince are considered the highest honors our community give someone for meritorious service to it, isn't that a newsworthy event we should be shouting from the rooftops?
I was set to write Bilerico and TransGriot blog posts publicizing the award winners. But I can't do that if I don't know who won them in a timely fashion.
I'm also concerned that as a 2006 Trinity winner, I have not had any input or been asked to join whatever committee oversees that process. The fact that we've only had three African-American winners of this award, with none of them African-American transmen speaks volumes as to why I'm concerned about the lack of input. You can't tell me that there aren't people of color who are doing yeoman's work for the transgender community that don't deserve at least some consideration for the Trinity or the Virginia Prince.
Now if the Trinity and Virginia Prince are supposed to be our community's highest award, then I submit that one group of people who definitely need to be in the loop on either choosing them or suggesting worthy candidates for these awards is former Trinity/Virginia Prince winners.
I would also suggest that they automatically get that right for life once they win either award. If we wish to increase the diversity of the winners of this award, it might help to have the only three African-American winners on that panel and other people of color as well.
We also need to do a better job publicizing the award. For example, the NAACP Image Awards get major television exposure, so do the GLAAD Awards. If we're going to dispel the myths our opponents throw at us we need to seize every opportunity for positive publicity or that paints our community in a positive light.
What could be more positive and uplifting than to have your community's heroes and heroines get the publicity they deserve as they win these awards? It doesn't
necessarily have to be a TV awards show, but most definitely a press release and a television camera or a newspaper photographer needed to be on hand trumpeting the awards.
This was a positive news opportunity that was missed, and we definitely needed it in light of the negativity flowing from conservative pundits and fundies concerning the recent Thomas Beattie story, the continuing negative attacks we get from our 'frenemy' Barney Frank, other anti-inclusionary ENDA GLB peeps, and elsewhere from other transgender haters.
While I'm making the case as a Trinity winner for better handling and promotion of this community's signature award, I'm also sounding a warning as well. One of the reasons the NAACP Image Awards were created was because of the lack of diversity in mainstream awards shows. Don't think that transpeople of color haven't noted and aren't happy about the lack of diversity when it comes to choosing these awards. You may find yourself one day looking at an African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander or Latino/Latina version of the Trinity if things don't expeditiously improve diversity wise.
We really can't afford as a community any more to be fumbling positive news ops if we wish to make federal transgender rights coverage in our lifetimes a reality.