Monday, June 23, 2014

Louisville Forum, Why Are You Hosting A Trans Issues Forum With No Trans People On The Panel?

Since 1984 the influential Louisville Forum has been a nonpartisan public issues group that hosts monthly meetings to discuss and debate issues of importance to the Louisville metro area. 

From their website:  The Louisville Forum is a nonpartisan public issues group. Founded in 1984, the Forum hosts debates and discussions of contemporary and sometimes controversial public policy issues that affect the greater Louisville community. The Forum provides an arena for the presentation and analysis of different sides of vital issues affecting the Louisville Metropolitan area.

As an independent and nonprofit organization, the Forum itself never takes a position on issues. Instead, we bring together speakers who aggressively articulate their specific and often opposing viewpoints. Membership is open to the public at large, and guests are welcome at all meetings.

Since its founding, the Louisville Forum has held monthly meetings to discuss wide-ranging matters of public interest, covering economic, political, environmental, health, and social issues. Members and guests receive firsthand information from community and industry figures: business leaders, elected officials, industry experts and others deeply involved in shaping Louisville's future.

So with the July 9 forum luncheon scheduled to tackle transgender issues in the wake of what happened at Atherton HS recently, it was interesting to discover courtesy of Jaison Gardiner, one of the co-hosts along with Dr Kaila Story of the Strange Fruit radio show on WFPL-FM, that the Louisville Forum panel has no transpeople represented on it.   

Yes Louisville Forum, one of the panelists is the mother of a trans child, but the fact remains there is no transperson on it to talk about trans issues.   That is the equivalent of having a discussion on gay issues, having no gay people on the panel to discuss and debate it, and the only person there to discuss the issues pertinent to the gay community is the straight mom of a gay child. 

And that's before I even point out how monoethnic the panel is to begin with..

You mean to try to tell me that in the entire Louisville metro area, you couldn't find one trans person to sit on that panel?   Or did you even try?   All you had to do was give Chris Hartman a call at the Fairness Campaign and I'm sure he and Fairness could have easily recommended more than a few trans candidates for that panel to you. 

I lived in that city for 8.5 years.  I know for a fact there are transpeople who can eloquently talk about being trans, and one of them is Dawn Wilson, who is a current member of the Metro Louisville Human Relations Commission.  

When the country is finally paying attention to the issues that transpeople face, it is vitally important to have people who actually are trans and dealing with those issues to be talking about them in these type of forums.

It's imperative in a space in which influential policy makers gather, are in the audience, and the discussion is videotaped for future multiple broadcasts on Louisville public cable television.we transpeople are represented.

It is important for a trans person to be on that Forum panel room when there is far too much disinformation and lies being gleefully spread by our opponents in order to derail trans human rights concerns. 

It is imperative to have a trans person on that Forum panel when the Southern Baptist Church, which has a seminary on Lexington Rd, just voted on June 10 to openly oppose trans human rights laws and deny our existence as human beings. 

As Samuel Cornish and John Russworm once said in 1827, 'We wish to plead our own cause.  Too long have others spoken for us.  Our vices and degradation are ever arrayed against us, but our virtues are passed by unnoticed.'  

So yes Louisville Forum, it it time to allow transpeople to plead their own cause.  Without a trans person on that panel, your impartiality and credibility as a non partisan public issues group will be called into question when it comes to this debate on trans issues.

There is time for you to reconstitute the panel so that a trans person is present and in the room representing our community on July 9.  If you can't  (or won't) do that, at least have a trans moderator there asking the questions.

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