A Call to Action: Transgender Day of Action 2010

Transgender people exist, they have always existed, and they are important and integral parts of our society. From gender variant characters filling central roles in the Bible; through the 1 noticeably intersex child out of every 2,000; and to the countless trans and gender non-conforming folks in every city, we can see that gender variation is reality.

We all face discrimination due to gender identity and gender presentation. Men are called “girly” as an insult while women are called “manly” as an insult; we are told to like or dislike certain activities or forms of entertainment; and much of the discrimination against gay and lesbian folks comes as a result of our gender expression or our transgressing of gender norms.

And finally, as a cisgender person, I have the opportunity to learn from my trans friends and family as they teach me to understand and appreciate my own gender, think critically about assumptions, and fight for authenticity. I am wrapped up in this too.

The 6th Annual NYC Trans Day of Action for Social & Economica Justice is June 25. TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, “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 oppressed peoples including communities such as people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC people, and poor people are disproportionately underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state.”

I support the Trans Day of Action and will be attending the march & rally. If you are in NYC (or can get here), I invite you to join with me–send a message or a tweet and we’ll meet up. This is one opportunity to do something today. Below is the full text in the call to action.

• 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 are in solidarity with all people living on public assistance. The NYC agency responsible for the administration of public welfare, the Human Resources Administration (HRA), finally passed the procedure for Serving Trans and Gender Non Conforming clients, but this is not enough! We demand full implementation of the procedure including culturally competent trainings for all 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, and other anti-immigrant policies that continue to divide our communities.  We stand in solidarity with Indigenous-identified Two-Spirit people and the sovereignty of the First Nations, on whose land we now see the US attempt to enforce arbitrary boarders.
• We are 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, in psychiatric facilities, and group homes. 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, people with disabilities, 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 and community 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 and violence 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 support Queers for Economic Justice in their demand that all DHS shelter administrators provide adequate Trans sensitivity trainings for all personnel and enforce clear non-discrimination policies that respect the dignity and safety of all homeless people.  We oppose the ongoing profit driven development of our neighborhoods.  We support FIERCE’s campaign to counter the displacement and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color at the Christopher Street Pier and in Manhattan’s West Village.
• We oppose the US “War on Terrorism” as an excuse to legitimize the expansion of the U.S. as an 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 jobs, education, housing, privacy, self-determination and the right of dissent slipping away from all of us.  We must 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.  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 such as POC, immigrants, people with disabilities and poor people, TGNC people are targeted, profiled and brutalized by the police. We demand an end to the profiling, harassment, 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, ableism, xenophobia, misogyny, ageism and homophobia.

Photo: Audre Lorde Project