He once said during the Cold War when it came to negotiating with the old Soviet Union, 'trust but verify'.
When it comes to the trans community, we need to have the same attitude with people inside and outside of it.
Unfortunately, like most marginalized groups, the trans community has had leaders in name only more concerned with sucking up to power and lining their own pockets than addressing the many ills that ail the trans community at the grassroots level.
Transpeople weary of being emotionally beat down by society for living their lives are desperately hungry for people to show compassionate concern for them. They yearn for muscular trans organizations that have leaders who stand up for them against the slings and arrows of our oppressors and proactively act to help solve their multitude of pressing problems.
If some organization or someone appears to be doing that, they will find a segment of the trans population eager and willing to follow anyone who will do for us. It's a leadership void exploitable for trans people who wish to take advantage of the situation either to build a name for themselves at the expense of the community or scam it and our allies to line their own pockets.
Arianna Kitti Davis has had a seemingly meteoric rise in the last two months as the head of the Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition. It has a Facebook group called Trans Role Models that has user uploaded photos.
But it's the interesting and eyebrow raising claims made over the last two months that have people in the trans community talking.
*That GIEC is a rapidly growing national organization with a board of directors and a IRS EIN (employer ID Number)
*That GIEC is hosting a free Trans Strategy Conference September 4-5 with participation from big name community ally groups.
*That GIEC and Lotus Holdings Limited is scouting locations and properties in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles for a Trans Empowerment Center.
*It is contracting with various providers in different areas of the country to set up free services that transpeople need.
Conventional wisdom says if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
When Gina Morvay and I started asking tough questions about the claims that GIEC has given emergency financial assistance to transpeople for various purposes, a Katerina G. du Lac popped up, claimed that she was the VP of the org, and posted an IRS Employer Identification Number as 'proof' the organization was legit.
That EIN number she gave (272340079) when I checked it on the IRS website and a nonprofit verification website called Guidestar drew a blank. When they were called on it, that number and the FB post trumpeting it as 'proof' of GIEC's existence suddenly vanished off the page.
There's also no record of GIEC's existence in the real world except on its Facebook page.
The Trans Strategy Conference it was supposed to be sponsoring last weekend on the Soka University campus in Aliso Viejo, CA is not only NOT listed among the university's upcoming events, it has been postponed twice.
There were also claims made of a long list of noted GLBT organizations that were allegedly partners in this 'invitation only' conference.
From the initial press release for the conference:
Significant ally organizations and others, such as the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Sylvia Rivera Law Center, TIP, Radical Women,GLAD, NLGTF, GLAAD, NOW, TFA, TransUnited, TransHaven, GASS, TransAngels, Gender Justice, contributive UK/European/Asian/Latin American/African entities, MAGNET and Board members of the Guardian Angels, are just some being invited to attend.
One of the organizations was MAGNET, and when they were asked about the sponsorship, they not only weren't aware of it until I asked their communications director about it, MAGNET demanded that their orgs name be removed from any advertising for said conference.
There's the food giveaway trumpeted on the Gen ID Facebook page that was supposed to take place in Oakland.
Gen Id ***GIEC will be helping implement the very large food give away (including up to 4,000 loaves of bread) and housing program for Trans people and all other people in desperate need, in the California Bay Area tomorrow. We will be duplicating this throughout the country region by region. GIEC Assistant Bay Area Representative, Katerina G. du Lac will be making a mass media announcement of this tomorrow.
August 13 at 3:40am • Comment • Like
Guess what? The mass media announcement didn't happen on August 14, nor did the food giveaway either.
And that's before I even get started focusing on the long list of conflicting claims Arianna Davis has made, including about health issues that so far have not been verified and I'll deal with in a separate post.
But here's a sample to whet your appetite.
This is what she wrote on July 31 about an upcoming appearance on the local Los Angeles TV show Good Day LA.
Arianna Empowered Kitti Need to relax for a length before "Good Day LA" interview next Thursday morning.
July 31 at 4:09am • Comment • Like
That 'next Thursday' alluded to would be the August 5 airing of 'Good Day LA' on KTTV-TV Fox 11, which has a live stream of the show on its website. So far no video of Arianna Davis, Arianna Kitti or whoever showing up on the FB page for the group of the GDLA interview in question.
If you had a trans organization doing all these allegedly wonderful things for the community and a local TV station gave you an interview, wouldn't you want the trans community and the world to know about it?
Another one of those things that make you go hmmm.
As a marginalized group, we're at a critically sensitive point in our community's maturation, development and are on the verge of gaining mainstream support.
We cannot afford people or organizations proporting to represent the community making unverified claims of philanthropic work in a bid to seem legitimate.
We must have leaders that exhibit the highest moral and ethical character and organizations that operate in an ethically transparent, honest and as open way as humanly possible.
If GIEC, Gen ID or whatever its name is claims it is doing all this dizzying array of work on behalf of the trans community, it's show and prove time.
Where is your Board of Directors, pictures of it, or even a photo of a board meeting? Video of your food giveaway? Protests you've conducted? Your VP named Katerina G. du Lac?
If you're legit, prove it. It's not just the TransGriot asking questions, inquiring minds in the national trans community and the trans leadership ranks want to know if you are as well.
Sadly, the evidence is leaning toward the cow feces laden conclusion you aren't.