Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Historic Day For Trans WOC At The White House
But this fifth trip to the White House was special and historic, because for the first time trans women of color, fittingly on the Transgender Day of Visibility, were gathering from around the country for the inaugural White House Trans Women Of Color Women's History Month Briefing.
It was organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force's Kylar Broadus and kicked off at 9:00 AM in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Auditorium with opening remarks from Aditi Hardikar from the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Cecilia Chung started the policy portion of it with some framing remarks before yielding the platform to my fellow TPOCC board member Mattee Jim and LaLa Zannell from the National Anti Violence Project.
Zannell also pointed out that trans women are less likely to be protected from IPV and some recommendations to change that negative paradigm.
When those ladies were done with their presentations, Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby and Bamby Salcedo of the Trans Latina Coalition were up next.
Salcedo talked about our trans Latina sisters an the issues they face in ICE detention including sexual assault and HIV infection and pointed out "It's important for us to understand how structural violence plays into us getting killed.".
Tracee McDaniel from the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc in Atlanta and Kylar Broadus from the National LGBTQ Task Force talked about the employment discrimination that trans women of color face on the micro and macro levels..
The final two person info panelists were Dr. Ayana Elliott, FNP and Raffi Friedman-Gurspan from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Dr Elliott got our attention by stating 'Transgender women are an endangered species," then broke down the statistics across various health categories to back that sobering statement up.
Raffi's presentation also contained some suggested policy recommendations for the assembled White House staffers and trans women of color from across the country nodding their heads in agreement.
In addition to informing us that Title VII the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers transpeople, Austin also discussed a Task Force on 21st Century Policing report that urged in its recommendations that police departments and law enforcement personnel across the US improve their relations with their local trans communities (which probably explains the invite I got from Harris County DA Devon Anderson last week to talk about issues of importance to the Houston trans community).
After taking a few questions, Mr Austin departed, and a super info panel was convened in which audience members received a few moments of the remaining time left in the event to ask the info panelists questions.
After remarks from Aditi, Kylar and Stacey and a poem from Cherno Biko, the briefing ended at 12 noon EDT.
It was my first visit to Task Force headquarters since the 2000 National Transgender Policy Meeting they facilitated at their old NE Washington DC digs. It was fun reconnecting with all my friends in the Task Force from the Creating Change team (and yes H-town, I let them know we want to host it again), and was happy to see Kathleen Campisano and Sarah Reece from my days of causing angelic trouble in Louisville with both of them.
We also were in the building on Nipper's last official day as deputy director, and we gave her a standing ovation when she was finished.
Major thanks to Kylar and Stacey for the invitation to be there for this historic briefing, lunch, and to super intern Dominique Chamely who did a wonderful job on the logistical end getting me and my trans sisters to DC from our various spots around the country.
And thanks to all my transsisters who made this historic day at the White House and this 6th annual Trans Day of Visibility a memorable one for me.