change is bittersweet.

There is so much that is swirling in my mind that I haven't been able to pin down. While state after state was being called for Obama, lgbt Californians were fighting for their place at the table. We had police threatening to arrest our poll workers and voters screaming anti-gay epithets. I screamed out loud when I heard that he took Florida. I cried when my 15 year old brother realized that he could be President. I bawled when I realized that our community could lose this election. I raged when I heard the scapegoating of the black community.
From Florida and Arkansas to Arizona and California our rights as full citizens were rejected. This week has been bittersweet but I'm anxious to see what change this administration brings.


Response to Palin's Community Organizer Dig

"Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager, Obama for America


From Mom

Well since you were born in January I remember it being cold as hell. I started cleaning your room
and making sure you had diapers and stuff. Then you were born at St. Lukes Hospital one of the
best hospital in the city. You weighed 6.00 no ounces! You were hard to delivery because they
had to induced labor. Your dad was right there. You were a pretty bald headed baby!
If I had a dollar for every time someone said when she grows up she is going to have a head
full hair. I would be a very rich woman today! I'd walk you down the wedding aisle myself.
You wore hats a lot. Your granny named you the hat baby. You grandfather was alive to see
you thank god!


The 4th Annual NYC Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice: Points of Unity

The 4th Annual NYC Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice

Points of Unity

Initiated by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color Center for Community Organizing.

When: Friday, June 27, 2008
Time: 3:00pm

Where: City Hall Park, NY, NY

We call on our Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) community and on all of our allies from many movements to join us for the 4th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice. We as TGNC People of Color (POC) recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to change the world we want to see. We live in a time when people of color, immigrants and poor people are disproportionately underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. It is critical that we unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates throughout our movements for social justice. Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced! These are the points of unity, which hold together the purpose of this important march:

• We demand that TGNC people have equal access to employment and education opportunities. We are outraged by the high numbers of TGNC people who are unemployed. Many TGNC people continue to face blatant discrimination and harassment from employers due to systemic transphobia. Few TGNC people have access to opportunities for learning in a safe school environment. TGNC people demand that all employers and educational institutions implement non-discrimination policies that respect the rights of all workers and students and that they comply with the NYC Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination against gender identity and expression!

• We demand that all people receiving public assistance entitlements including TGNC People of Color, be treated with respect and dignity. We stand in solidarity with all people living on public assistance. The NYC agency responsible for the administration of public welfare, the Human Resources Administration (HRA), continues to ignore our demands to address the systemic problems that exist internally and perpetuate the transphobia and harassment faced by TGNC people of color when applying for benefits such as welfare, access to shelters, access to culturally competent and sensitive healthcare, drug treatment programs, adult protective services, eviction prevention, and other essential services. We demand that the NYC HRA: conduct an internal investigation of these incidents; follow NYC ‘Guidelines Regarding Gender Identity Discrimination’ and develop means of enforcement; implement mandatory cultural competency training on gender identity/expression; implement a fully accessible process for reporting incidents of discrimination; and, commit to prioritize hiring of TGNC employees.

• We demand the full legalization of all immigrants. TGNC people deserve the right to access competent and respectful immigration services. We demand that the consulates of all countries respect and honor our identities and issue passports and other documentation that accurately reflects who we are. We oppose the guest worker program, the Real ID Act, enforcement provisions to build more walls and give greater powers to the Department of Homeland Security, increased barriers for asylum seekers, the HIV ban and other anti-immigrant policies that continue to divide our communities.

• We stand in solidarity with all prisoners, especially the many TGNC people behind the walls who are often invisible even within prisoner’s rights movements. We call attention to the under-reported accounts of severe violence and rape that our community faces at the hands of correction officers and other prisoners. We demand an end to the torture and high level of discrimination TGNC prisoners face. We demand that all TGNC prisoners receive competent and respectful healthcare. We oppose the continued growth of the prison industrial complex that continues to target our communities, yet we recognize that TGNC people need access to services and facilities that lessen our vulnerability to violence within the present jails and prisons. We are opposed to the closing of the “gay and Trans housing” unit on Rikers. We call attention to the criminal injustice system that increasingly puts POC, immigrants, TGNC people and poor people behind bars - further criminalizing our communities and our lives.

• We demand that TGNC people have access to respectful and safe living spaces. Many TGNC people face severe discrimination from landlords and housing administrators displacing us from our homes due to gender identity or expression. A disproportionate number of TGNC people have been or are currently homeless. However, many homeless TGNC people continue to face discrimination when trying to access shelters and other assisted living programs. NYC law and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) state that people will be placed in shelters according to that person’s gender identity and that discrimination based on gender identity will not be tolerated. We demand that all DHS shelter administrators continue to provide adequate Trans sensitivity trainings for all personnel and enforce clear non-discrimination policies that respect the dignity of all homeless people.

• We demand that all children and youth, under the jurisdiction of the Administration of Children Services (ACS) and Private Foster Care Agencies, have the right to the freedom of gender expression and identity. In the 2002-landmark case Jean Doe v. Bell, it was established that children in NYC’s foster care system cannot be discriminated against for being transgender and cannot be forced to only wear clothing associated with their birth gender. Government institutions like ACS and private foster care agencies must be accountable for the health of people under their care, and recognize that this responsibility must include TGNC people and Trans related health care. We demand that ACS initiates a full investigation of all the incidents of misallocation of personal funds and the violations of confidentiality issues that have negatively affected the lives of children and youth under their care.

• We oppose the Bush Administration’s “War on Terrorism” as an excuse to legitimize the expansion of the U.S. as a imperial super power and to justify a national security strategy that is really meant to militarize our boarders and heighten surveillance and control over people living in the U.S., separating our communities by fostering feelings of hate, xenophobia, and violence. Every day we see more and more of our basic human rights like healthcare, jobs, education, housing, privacy, self-determination and the right of dissent slipping away from all of us. We must stand up now to demand the immediate removal of all U.S. troops from all countries under occupation and demand an end of use of U.S. dollars to cultivate and sponsor wars against people in the U.S. and abroad.

• We demand justice for the many TGNC people who have been beaten, assaulted, raped, and murdered yet these incidents continue to be silenced, misclassified or blamed on the victim. The police and the media continue to criminalize us even when we try to defend ourselves. An increase in hate crime laws will not solve the problem but will give increased power to the state to put more people in jail. Instead we call for a unified effort for all of us to look deeper into the root causes of why these incidents happen. As a society that seeks social justice we seek to find ways of holding people accountable and coming to a joint understanding of how we can make our communities safer for all of us. Like many other oppressed communities like communities of color, immigrants and the poor, TGNC people are also targeted, profiled and brutalized by the police. We demand an end to the profiling, harassment, arrest, brutality and murder that occurs at the hands of the police! These incidents of violence do not occur in isolation, and are aggravated by racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, misogyny, ageism and damaging strict heterosexist values.

We stand in solidarity with the family of Sean Bell, who are still tirelessly working towards justice after the police were later acquitted of charges. We stand in solidarity with the Jersey 4, 4 Lesbian women arrested in the West Village for defending themselves from a man that assaulted them. We stand in solidarity with Miriam, a transgender woman who was pushed out the window of her 4th floor apt and left for dead. We commemorate the memory of Amanda Milan, Sakia Gunn, Ruby OrdeƱana, Gwen Araujo, Erika Keels, Victoria Arellano, Lawrence King, Saneesha Stewart and the many other brave souls we have lost, who struggled and lived their lives fearlessly day in and day out, being true to who they were. They keep the fire of struggle burning within all of us.

On June 27, 2008, TGNC People of Color and allies will take on the streets of New York City once again and demand justice to let the world know that the Stonewall rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for social and economic justice, raising our voices until we are heard. We call on all social justice activists from communities of color, the LGBT movement, immigrant rights movement, the anti-war movement, the reproductive rights movement, youth and student groups, trade unions and worker organizations, religious communities and HIV/AIDS and social service agencies, both local and organizations around the country to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together on June 27, 2008.

To endorse the Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice 2008, send an email to endorsetdoa@alp.org, for more information about the march send an email to info4tdoa@alp.org or contact Elizabeth Marie Rivera at 718-596-0342 x18. Join us on MySpace at www.myspace.com/transjusticenyc


trans rights currently

I have to start off by saying that I am super excited to be working on transgender rights with Basic Rights Montgomery. It feels great to be working on trans rights outside of a marriage equality framework. Personally I have been itching to do work outside of the freedom to marry. Working as an organizer for lgbtq rights can get pretty sticky anytime someone asks what you are working on and it is mostly marriage equality, people just assume after that. Leading to conversations defending the state of the ‘movement’ and explaining why I support it. A year ago I rolled my eyes and hoped I wouldn’t be working solely on marriage but I now wholeheartedly support it. I still do not want marriage to solely define me or my work. I have indeed opened hearts and minds to support the freedom to marry and I am proud of that fact.
I want to always make sure my work also includes fighting for greater social justice within and outside of the lgbtq community. I have a feeling that is why I was chosen, in addition to my desire to be molded into a better organizer.
In regards to supporting Basic Rights Montgomery in their fight for trans rights I am so very happy the Task Force has taken this on. Fundraising for trans rights – outside of a top surgery bar fundraiser – seems so daunting at first. The idea of training people on something that I had never done before was intimidating but with rehearsal I knew that would be quelled. I think everyone was worried that they did not have enough people who they felt they could call on to donate specifically for trans rights. Listening to Billy’s fears of rejection by family resonated with me and my own family. It is something to continue to work through and makes me realize how much I really need to talk to my father about my own life. I know that was one of my own worries, still is. Many of my friends who are the ‘true believers’ and want to give are also worrying about where their next paycheck is coming from or if they have enough money to pay rent. I was afraid that I wasn’t raising enough money but seeing how every little bit adds up has been heartening. Through the recruitment calls I have been feeling more and more comfortable asking for money.
As a personal note I always feel like an inadequate member of the team because I don’t have a substantial personal base that I can call on. I don’t know a lot people who give anything more than a few hours volunteer time here and there; or they work for nonprofits so they don’t feel obligated to give outside of that. I find that now that I working for social justice I am not sure what to do with my free time anymore. What do you do once your hobby becomes your job, your work?


Equality for All - Riverside, California

I must admit I was terrified. Being dropped in a smaller conservative area to block paid signature gatherers is a bit daunting. Not to mention the reality of being dropped into a gaggle of organizers that I do not know where the Task Force is not running the show.
The questions that I asked myself were: What did they know? What role was I expected to take on? What was I ready to take on? Would they resent it? These questions swirled through my brain as the plane glided over the Midwest.
Getting a tour of the office did little to quell my fears and I tried not to look horrified. Running with Equality for All organizers I made sure to let them lead the way. Keeping in the theme of team and staying on a level playing field I did not take the initial lead. I wanted to see how they operated and know their habits and tactics. Granted this was tougher than you would think it would be. Taking more patience than I thought I had.
Through working, asking, prodding my fellow organizers to prepare, to be better and it made me realize just how far I have come as an organizer. Working wit Brandi and Demi on volunteer recruitment got me to thinking about the work the Los Angeles team put into developing fellows last summer. This time around I trusted myself more than ver. I knew that I could successfully contribute to the work. Working one-on-one with Brandi showed me that I may not like every moment of it but I could make it worth something. Being able to meet people where they are at and inching them where you want them to be is one of the most important skills an organizer can have. People don’t usually move in leaps especially when its hard work but that should never stop you from getting behind them and pushing this past their real or imagined limitations.
I really struggle with the feeling of needing to train these organizers on how to better do the work. I feel with proper training the Riverside team could have pushed forward and ramped up their numbers of volunteer show-ups. Breaking the organizers into different teams during the week and allowing volunteer recruitment to be more methodical and less scatter shot could have meant the difference in making sure efforts were focused and successful.



Next Wednesday at noon the Kansas City’s City Council will vote on updating the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections based on gender identity. Currently it is illegal in Kansas City to discriminate in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. It is perfectly legal to discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming people if the proposed ordinance passes, this will change.

You can help ensure its passage by:

* Attending the Hearing.

Wednesday, April 2nd @ noon. City Hall, 10th Floor Conference Room.

(Park at 12th & Oak, cross street and take the elevator up to the 10th floor; the conference room is to the left.)

* Call and write every member of the City Council.

Letters and phone calls get more attention than email! Leave messages! Share your personal story; provide some statistics if you have them, tell the City Council this is the right thing to do!

Mailing address, phone numbers and email addresses can be found at the City Council website (follow the link: City Council)


New You, New Me

I live in Brooklyn and work in New York City. I will spend half of January in Miami and over a week in Detroit. I am a Field Organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

My partner, Billy, is a gender nonconforming writer and designer. Billy is one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I love far deeper than I ever thought. I have two pups that live in Upstate New York, while my partner and I find pup friendly housing in Brooklyn. I also have two rats, one a pink-eyed white rat named Huxley and a double rex white/grey rat with a roving bald spot named Peppito.

I moved to Brooklyn to continue my fellowship with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Someway, somehow I convinced Billy to make the move with me. I sold most of my worldly belongings, boxed up what I could not part with and hit the road with u-haul, pups and partner in tow.

This has been quite the year.