Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Step In The Right Direction, But More Steps Needed


Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People (MAGNET)

Filmmaker Luna says he will remove exploitative use of hate crime victim’s names from trailer of “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives”, but still has more to do.

We are very relieved that LaLuna Entertainment is planning to remove the references to specific trans women that have been murdered from its' most recent trailer for the film "Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives", a film which was directed and written by Israel Luna. Due to protests from the trans community, LaLuna Entertainment responded to one of their requests, which was not to exploit real life victims of hate crimes.

We note this gesture by the film makers, and hope that they will additionally address the offensive portions of the promotional materials of this film and remove any offensive material that has already been released. We would also like to emphasize that there remain the plethora of offensive, stigmatizing and inaccurate representations in the film itself that have not as of yet been rectified. We are asking that LaLuna Entertainment make every effort to work with the transsexual and transgender communities to help raise awareness of the rampant violence against trans women, and the poor media portrayals that they must struggle with in this day.

We therefore ask LaLuna Entertainment to amend all trailers for this film to include an acknowledgement that this film is intended for entertainment purposes only, and intentionally portrays stereotypes of transsexual and transgender people for the sake of humor and satire. These fictional personalities should not be confused as a portrayal of how transgender people live their lives or interact socially.We would also encourage such a statement be made prior to each screening of the film.

Though we are grateful that one of the numerous concerns many in the trans community have with this film will be edited, we still maintain that this film's message and title continue to be very problematic, transphobic and misogynistic. We hope that those at LaLuna Entertainment will educate their staff on the severe oppression trans people face, and why representations such as the one in the film only reinforce misunderstanding which leads to prejudice.

Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People (MAGNET) is an anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual and transgender issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of trans people in the media.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

MAGNET, Familes Against Hate and Intl. Foundation For Gender Education will be on radio tonight protesting "Ticked Off Tra#%ies With Knives"

Hey guys! I will be on the radio discussing why we are boycotting "Ticked Off Tra@#ies With Knives" tonight, about the protest on Tuesday, and other organizations will be speaking out aginst the film tonight too! See the info below!- Ashley

LIVE! on TransFM - Sunday, March 28, 2010

5:00 - 8:00 PM EDT Sodium Pentothal SundayJoin Ethan As he streams your favorite tunes.You can contact Ethan to say hello by either sending himan email to http://us.mc573.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=Radicalguy@gmail.com or simply give him a buzz at (978) 518-1835.

The Sodium Pentothal Sunday Talk Show
8:00 PM EDT Guest: - Michelle Bruce is a transgender women running for City council in Riverdale, GA.. Michelle has a list of accomplishments which she achieved from when she was voted into office in 2004. Michelle lost her seat and is now armed with the information that she feels is needed to win that seat back.
8:45 PM EDT Guests: - Ashley Love from Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People. (MAGNET) will be discussing the Protest/rally Against Tribeca’s Decision to Premiere Transphobic Film “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives.”
9:30 PM EDT - Marti Abernathey discusses how she was kicked off Facebook and why and which organization helped in her return.
10:30 PM EDT - Gabi Clayton, Board Chair for the national organization, Families United Against Hate and their support for the Protest/rally Against Tribeca’s Decision to Premiere Transphobic Film “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives.”
11:15 PM EDT - Denise Leclair, Executive Director for the International Foundation for Gender Education expresses IFGE's support for the Protest/rally Against Tribeca’s Decision to Premiere Transphobic Film “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives.”Ethan St.PierreFounder and CreatorTransFM International Broadcasting Networkhttp://www.transfm.squarespace.com/

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Yes, I Saw It And I Wish I Hadn't"

There seems to be some concern about whether or not I have seen the appalling film TOTWK. I in fact did see the entire film, though I wish I hadn’t. It made me feel violated, depressed, dehumanized and disappointed. As a media specialist, and organizer of a trans anti-defamation group, Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People (MAGNET), I have received many films from film festivals and film makers that are trans specific. However, director Israel Luna failed to truly enroll the trans community in his project. Even the Dallas trans community protested the film before it was finished being made, and their efforts, and Luna’s rejection of their plight, is documented.

He failed to give activists and leaders in the trans community his problematic film prior to this controversy - he knew from many warnings that it would not be well received by many trans people. As a person with many media/entertainment industry contacts, I was able to view the film through an associate. This associate asked I not have their name released, for fear of the "wrath of Luna and the 'ticked off' supporters of his transohobic film”.

The false accusation against me, and an affect of sensation is just as false as the story Luna's troops causing bloggers and Tribeca Film Festival to spread the notion of GLAAD being involved in a "TransGate" story, which was discredited in GLAAD’s update to their petition: http://www.glaad.org/calltoaction/032510. These are clever, yet dishonest, attempts to take attention off the issue: that this film is very toxic to the images of trans people and their loved ones. Even for those protesters who have not seen the entire film as GLAAD, I, and many others have, their protests are just as warranted.

The trailer, which mentioned real life slain trans people, the offensive title and the making humor of the rape and violence against trans women are also severally problematic. GLAAD's thorough analysis and petition, and the dignity, safety and human rights for transsexual and transgender children, adults and their families, is reason enough to boycott this exploitation that has somehow been called "art" (not sure how exploiting the real life brutal murder of a teenage girl is “art”).

When GLAAD went up in arms when Grey Anatomy's star TR Knight was called a "fa*ot", the gay men’s community was quick to give GLAAD two thumbs up. When GLAAD went up in arms when trans women were called "tra*#ies", some in the gay men's community gave GLAAD two thumbs down?! Please explain the logic in that!? Attacking GLAAD, myself, and the thousands of people who are protesting this film, will not make the film anything other then what it is: a cinematic hate crime.

I will leave you with the bottom line which is expressed so well by my friend Kim Pearson, Executive Director of TransYouth Family Allies: "Negative and stereotyped media portrayals of transgender people hurt the community because Americans still need more education on transgender issues. The images in this film (TOTWK) make a mockery of their lives. I want more for my child and all transgender people.”

GLAAD Responds To Silly & Untrue Accusations of "Trans Gate", and Still Stands by their Petition that Defends Transwomen!

Latest on the Call to Action updated March 26, 2010

GLAAD’s Call to Action asks that Tribeca not give a platform to a film that sensationalizes anti-transgender violence and misrepresents the lives of transgender women. When Tribeca announced its film selections, almost immediately GLAAD received numerous emails from upset transgender advocates asking GLAAD to speak out.

In just one day, over 800 community members and straight allies have sent e-mails to the Tribeca Film Festival voicing their concerns about the film and opposition to its selection for this year’s festival.

Last month, GLAAD was asked to meet with the director and cast members prior to seeing the movie to educate them about transgender terminology and issues facing the transgender community. During that meeting, GLAAD was not shown the film and voiced strong concerns about the title and the use of the word "tranny." While the word is used by some, it is largely an insult that is offensive to many transgender people. The filmmaker has elected to keep it, despite its potential offense.

At the time of the meeting, the film didn’t have a distributor or any major platform. Every year countless independent films are made and most remain unreleased. Showing at the Tribeca Film Festival offers the film a national space to spread its inaccurate message to thousands. It is because of this platform and the recognition it provides that we are standing with many in the community and raising our voices.

When GLAAD watched the film screener and trailer, we were immediately concerned about not just the title, but the film’s content and its exploitation of transgender victims Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado in its trailer.

In a recent interview the filmmaker admits, “I agree that the baseball bat and the clumps of hair on the baseball bat are very disturbing…” This sort of violence is played for cheap laughs in the film.

Filmmakers have the right to pursue his or her vision. However, film festivals and other media distributors have the responsibility to consider the consequences of advancing that vision.

GLAAD hopes that an institution as respected as the Tribeca Film Festival would be concerned about how this film trivializes violence against transgender people, concerns that the filmmaker has repeatedly shrugged off.

In the wake of this outcry, GLAAD and many other transgender advocates ask that Tribeca rescind its selection of “Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives.”“Negative and stereotyped media portrayals of transgender people hurt the community because Americans still need more education on transgender issues,” said Kim Person, Executive Director of TransYouth Family Allies. "The images in this film make a mockery of their lives. I want more for my child and all transgender people.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
register for updates or donate today

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why are men hating on GLAAD for opposing "Ticked Off Trannies With Knives?" and defending transwomen?

The Tribeca Film Festival has chosen to premiere the controversial and transphobic film, “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives” on April 23rd, 2010 in New York City. I have seen the entire film, and as a woman, was horrified by the misogyny and sexism expressed in this film. As a trans person, I was appalled at how the rape and violence against transwomen was made to be "humorous". As a human being, I was disgusted that a group of dangerously oppressed minorities were the subject of a CINEMATIC HATE CRIME! I find it amazing that only gay men are jumping to the defense of the film, as if transwomen are "mentally disturbed sex objects" that should be grateful for this depiction. I have nothing against drag queens, but to imply transwomen are really “gay men with wigs on” is extremely invalidating of their identities/womanhood. Whats wrong with GLAAD defending the dignity of women who are so often helpless, disenfranchised and abused in everyday life, and in the media?! Remember, trans people are also worthy of love and respect, they are more than just the "clowns and makeup" the media portrays them to be. I say shame on the director Israel Luna for exploiting transwomen and spreading fear, ignorance and hate. Attacking the divine feminine and trying to degrade women is getting old. How long did people think transwomen were going to allow all these mentally violent and abusive images block their pursuit of happiness? Just like transwomen hit the breaking point in 1969 and started Stonewall, this film is the breaking point of the trans community NOT accepting this inhumane defamation, and we are not going to be silent and endure this cruel treatment any longer!

The trailer for the film starts off mentioning the real life murder of transgender woman Angie Zapata, who was brutally murdered in a hate crime due to her gender identity. She became a martyr to millions of LGBT Americans, yet this film makes humor of “rape and violence” against transwomen. We find this exploitative trivializing of such a tragic crime to be severely abusive to Angie Zapata’s family, other families of murdered trans people, and to all women and trans people.

The title of the film is degrading to transwomen and protested by many in the trans community. The term “tranny” is a derogatory term that is used to mock the authenticity of transsexual and transgender people, and gives the impression that trans people are harlequins, subhuman, invalid in their identities, jokes, etc. Many LGBT organizations protest the use of this word, including anti-defamation groups such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates Against Defamation) and MAGNET (Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People).

Personally, I know transwomen who have been murdered in hate crimes, and when I saw this film I was crying uncontrollably. I have also met Angie Zapata's family, and they are such good hearted people. It saddens me to think of how they may be feeling to know that the director of this trash, Israel Luna, is using their daughter and sister to promote the film. This film is going to create long lasting harm on the trans community. This is literally a matter of life or death.

Could you imagine if a film came out called "Ticked Off Fagots With Pink Pistols" that mocked Matthew Shepard's Death, and expressed gay men just want to get married to get tax breaks, but still have sex with multiple partners, and jokingly alluded to gay men being pedophiles? The whole LGBT community would be up in arms! WE DEMAND THE SAME PROTECTIONS THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY RECEIVES! Crumbs are no longer acceptable. We need the gay and lesbian community, who have more access and influence in the media then we do, to stand with GLAAD and the trans community on this protest and call to action

We demand that Tribeca Film Festival not screen “Ticked Off Trannies With Knives”

Please sign the community's petition to have this film removed from the Tribeca Film Festival: http://www.change.org/glaad/petitions/view/demand_that_ticked-off_trannies_with_knives_be_pulled_from_tribeca_film_festival_line-up

Please come protest next Tuesday at Tribeca Cinema: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=103500239687288&ref=mf

Please join the online "Boycott" page and join the discussion: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1321716015326#!/group.php?gid=106926329329724&ref=mf

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Ashley's DC Diaries"

March 14, 2010


I‘m on a bus to Washington DC from New York City to attend a conference meant to advance liberation for trans folks, and I am super excited! More than being happy to help push forward gender equality, I’m also looking forward to seeing friends of mine from all over the country. It’s kind of like summer camp where you see friends you rarely see. I have lived in Southern California, San Francisco and now New York, and have made good friends in the trans community in all 3 areas, and many of them are going to be at this event! Some of these friends are like chosen family to me, and it will be warm and good times catching up with everyone.

This is such a vital time to work towards gaining legislation to protect the transsexual, transgender and intersex (trans) communities. Not only is it very much needed, but since President Obama is in office, and we don’t know if he will be in office in 2012, or if even a non-Republican will be elected then, we have to do all we can while he’s in office. President Obama is a big hope for the trans community, as he is the first President that has even said the word “transgender” in public! And he recently appointed a trans woman, Amanda Simpson, to work for his staff, so he is definitely not transphobic. He is such a hero, and I feel with all my heart that he is the man who will take a stand against the ol’ boys club and help our community more than any other President ever has.

This is only my 2nd time going to DC ever. My first time was last fall for the March for Equality. It was such an inspirational event, and 200,000 people from all over the country came to support LGBTQ equality! First we marched, with the country’s capital being our destination. It was so energizing marching with all those people who wanted similar things I wanted, like justice, humanity and dignity for all queer people. When the contingent got to the capital, there were many speakers who spoke on stage, and even some musical entertainment. It was such a loud message we sent to the government, like when Lady Gaga, who was a speaker, exclaimed loudly on the microphone, “Are you listening!!!!!!!!”

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) hosts Trans Lobby Days annually. NCTE works very hard to ensure that legislation passes to protect transsexual and transgender Americans from discrimination. I am only able to work part time because I am writing my book, so I was unable to financially afford coming to Washington DC for this event, however, NCTE gave scholarships to many people from all over the country who did not have the means to come. They paid for our hotel, and also fed us. Thanks NCTE!


It was raining during the bus ride, so the bus ran a little late, and I was 20 minutes late to the first panel. I didn’t even have time to go get ready because I didn’t want to miss any of the speakers.

Mara Keisling, who is the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality welcomed everyone before I arrived. Then Harper Jean Tobin, who also worked for NCTE spoke ID changes and amending birth certificates for trans people.

Discussing ID change, amend birth certificate:

We discussed: discuess Immigration ID, Green card, employment authorization card, issues with medi-care, health provider documentation info, social sercices, court orders, administrative process, passports, current policies vs. recommendations, etc.

FOR INFO ON THESE ISSUUES: http://www.transequality.org/Issues/federal_documents.html

Health Care/Health Care Reform

The next panel discusses health care reform, and trans specific health care issues. The speakers were Mul Kim (NCTE), Rebecca Fox and Kellan Baker from National Coalitions for LGBT Health.

Here are the notes I took from this panel:

• National Coalitions for LGBT Health: Over 70 organizationss providing LGBT voice to federal government on health issues
• LAMBDA LEGAL says 70% of trans folks receive discrimination, which is 2-3 more times than LGB people
• Data collection: nothing happens in federal government without data collection
• American Community Service (ACS) survey
• National Health Survey (NHS)- largest federal health survey- considered gold standard
• Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YSBS) - asks high school age which activities they are in (drugs, alcohol, sex) (some states have option to add to survey
• Only 8 states have sexual orientation, 2 have gender identity
Health Care Reform:
• The World Health Organization (WHO) says: are way behind on healthcare, we spend a lot of money
• 46 million who do not have insurance, not including immigrants
• 45000 people die due to no insurance
• 700,000 people go bankrupt due to healthcare, even though most had insurance at time of
• We are trying to overhaul healthcare system from profiteers who are
• 2 Bills HOR passed Healthcare reform bill last November the senate bill would prohibit from using ore existing conditions, and no “trans healthcare exclusions” such as being trans (many times trans is considered a res existing condition)
• Draw backs is there is no mention from gender identity, no public option, no non discrimination wording in healthcare reform bill
• Tammy Baldwin’s LGBT specific healthcare bill is called ELDA (# 3001) (will probably not pass because it’s too expensive, but will probably be broken apart and put into other bills)

Interesting talk and avoiding of talking about DSM revisions, until transsexual women in the audience pushed the issue forward. They seemed uncomfortable talking about it. They said something along the lines of "we are not ready yet to move "being trans" to being listed as a medical condition, so for now its best is DSM in order to get insurance company to pay. Maybe in 10-15 years when there is more scientific data to back up. But now it’s in infancy"

my notes:
• After healthcare reform passes, Obama administration is passed
• Healthy People 20/20:
• Putting GID and SO in all target areas for Healthy People 2010, expand database right, making sure definition of family is inclusive of LGBT people.
• Looking at getting office of LGBT health in federal government

GLAAD’s presentation
Sean Lund, GLAAD’s Director of messaging, led this discussion (though many people wanted to know why no transsexual people are employed by GLAAD, and why this presentation was not done by or with a trans person)
The presentation was called

“Preliminary Messaging Approaches Nondiscrimination Laws & “Bathroom Panic””
My notes and some of Lund’s power point notes:

It is interesting to note that the first question asked was by a trans guy named Jeffery who asked, “Does GLAAD have any advice for messaging that would used to lesbian and gay people that would be good for communicating to them why its important to have gender identity (trans) inclusion in anti discrimination bills? Lund said no, with no explanation, and no offer to look into doing so. The 2nd question asked was by a trans woman who asked “Does GLAAD have any materials that trans people can use in dealing with the transphobia they receive both in person or in the media from gay men and lesbian people?” Again- the answer was no. hmmmmm

Sean Lund was a couple hours late to give his presentation, which is symbolic of how late GLAAD is to supporting many in the trans community’s opinion of what “anti-defamation” is for trans people.

GLAAD’s power point notes:

Key Observations:,
• nondiscrimination laws enjoy high level of initial support
• its all about keeping supporters we already have
• opponents “bathroom panic: strategies peel off supporters
• same counter message help but

Understanding & Countering “Bathroom Panic”
• Confusion, but generally not hostility
• Lots of (mis)understandings of Gender Identity-
• Different ideas of who trans people are, why they r trans
• Mixed feelings towards trans people
• Most people see trans people as “people like me except the gender thing”

Lund then discusses “What didn’t work, and “Building Acceptance” and”Effective general messages”

Over all I didn’t learn anything from the presentation, and was really offended when
I felt that Lund expressed he knew more about the validity of transsexual women’s concerns over the unhealthy and unfair pairing of “cross dressing men and/or fetishists” with “women born with transsexual and/or intersex conditions”. Frankly, it’s very depressing when gay men who work in Hollywood or in LGB”T” organizations tell transsexual women that drag queens and cross dressers are the same thing as transsexual women! WTF! Perhaps it’s easier for politicians and non-profits to slap a TG label on anyone who wears women’s clothes, but is actually oppressing transsexual and intersex people. This is not a “clothes” movement for crying out feakin' loud! To see the transphobia that GLAAD has actually given awards to, see media specialist Regina Kleinzeller’s blog entry on GLAAD’s most recent Awards Gala from her amazing new blog on trans anti-defamation called “Skip The Makeup”: http://skipthemakeup.blogspot.com/2010/03/glaad-media-awards-joy-behar-thats-just.html Many of my activist friends and I have tried to inspire GLAAD to enroll the trans community in their work, but to no prevail, and it has now gotten to the point where they are ignoring our emails, and taking credit for the work trans anti-defamation activists do. Please email Executive Director of GLAAD Jarrett Barrios and ask nicely when his efforts for trans images in the media is going to be authentic and accurate. His email is: barrios@glaad.org

Meeting Amanda Simpson!

(Amanda Simpson and Ashley)

As I was leaving the banquet hall where the panels were, I met Amanda Simpson! Amanda made headlines when President Obama hired her as the Senior Technical Advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security. She made the news because she was the first transwoman hired by the administration. She is a hero of mine, and was so happy she took time out of her extremely busy schedule to come support trans equality!

I am now in my hotel room at the Double Tree Hotel, which is also where the conference is being held. It’s a lovely room with a nice view. I am now going to get ready to for the “Meet & Greet” sponsored by the National Stonewall Democrats at Mova. Beforehand some friends and I are going to get dinner.

Dinner with the girls, then the “Meet & Greet” hosted by the National Stonewall Democrats

I just got back to my hotel room. At 7pm Dana and 4 other transwomen we had met at the conference went to go have dinner before the “Meet & Greet”. We went to an Asian restaurant. It’s such a small world, as I noticed our lovely hostess was a transsexual woman! As we waited at the bar for our table, she came over to us and asked me what we were all doing in DC. I told her we were in town to demand trans equality from Congress. I didn’t ask her if she was trans, because that would have not been classy or sensitive, but though non-verbal’s she communicated to me she was our sister, and we totally had a humanity infused comrade connection. We had a lovely dinner, with some yummy Vanilla martinis! Our hostess said she would try to make the first part of the conference the following day.

We then walked to Mova to the reception. We were more than fashionably late because our food had taken awhile to come to us, but we were happy to see everyone was still there. I finally met Melissa Sklarz, who is a big part of the National Stonewall Democrats, and is a transwoman. She is one of my “Facebook buddies”, but we have never met. In fact, I met a lot of Facebook buddies I had never met in person! Melissa also lives in NYC, so look forward to getting to know her more. She then introduced me to Brett Burnham and other guys from the National Stonewall Democrats. The group is very trans progressive. It was nice to catch us with some friends from California, like Mason Davis, ED of the Transgender Law Center (TLC). He’s such a nice guy. I also got to meet another FB buddy of mine, Denise Leclair, ED for International Foundation for Gender Education. She and I have had many personal jokes together online! I was happy to have a longer conversation with Amanda Simpson. She is so pretty! I met a few other trans people, all from different states from around the country.

Now its time to get some sleep! God night!

Monday March 15
7 am

OMG! I rarely get up this early! But I want to go have breakfast with everyone and be on time to the conference that starts at 9.

9 AM:

The series of panels starts at 9am. Here are my notes on what was discussed:

Mara Keisling (ED of NCTE) welcomed everyone, and expressed that NCTE has many allies, and does coalition building. She expressed NCTE is non-partisan because of their non-profit status, but said the Obama administration really cares about trans equality. In Bush administration they were transphobic, and made decisions made on ideology.


Brian Bond spoke- Update from Whitehouse- one of greatest allies in White House. Bond is the Officer of Public Administration in Obama Administration
To contact him: bbond@who.eop.gov

He expressed that we are the side of right. Here are my notes on what he highlighted the Obama Administration has dome to trans and LGBT equality:

• The passing of the Matthew Shepard Act: This is the first time that the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” has been in US code. A lot of work went into this.
• In October the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act was signed
• In January HIV travel ban was lifted
• OPM’s official position that it was illegal to discriminate
• HHS created elderly LGBT people benefits
• HUD is doing 3 town meetings, first national study on housing discrimination against LGBT people, propose new regulations that protest LGBT families,
• Unemployment, Biden swore in LGBT person
• Seated out LGBT attorney in SD, and gay man attorney will get appointed EOC
• Appointed Amanda Simpson, and Dylan at Labor (both trans people)
• Jeff Crawley at National AIDS Strategy,
• Recently Justice Dept John Perez
• Brought school district in NY to not allow discrimination against LGBT youth (there was a recent bullying harassment case
• Uganda- against anti-LGBT laws
• DADT- President used state of union address to repeal
• ENDA- Justice Dept involved in moving process forward
• Baldwin/ Lieberman Bill- Obama spoke in support- domestic partner benefits bill
• We will see more initiatives to help LGBT Americans
• No Child Left behind
• Human Rights report just released on human rights violations around the world, by secretary of state and other entities

It is my opinion that President Obama is doing all he can for the trans and LGBT communities, and I feel many people are focusing on what he’s not doing, and not being appreciative of what he is doing. The thing is that America is a democracy, which means President Obama is not a dictator who can just do as he pleases. There are many Republicans who are delaying equality.

10:00 am

Anne Vonhof then spoke about employment discrimination.
My notes:
Federal Government/Employment, Anne Vonhof, (OPM)- Office Of Personal Management (works for Obama, but not a political worker, but is a civil servant

• Spoke about employment discrimination
• Spoke of restroom situation at work for trans people
• Wants EOO to at least make a statement about transgender cases so it will go down to the local levels
• Where we are now w/ transgender policy: Gender expression is there as well: Where we have found problems on past, Bathrooms- some people are so hung up on restrooms,
“what’s the big deal”? There was case when a woman was asked to leave her secure facility and use a bathroom half a mile down the road at a local diner!

10:30 AM

What's Happening Around The Country

Mason Davis (Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center (TLC) introduced Lisa Mottet: Transgender Civil rights Project w/ The Task Force (NGLTF) and Gunner Scott- (Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition)

Mottet and Scott listed the following subjects, briefly commented on them, and asked conference participants to ask questions and give comments.
Subjects: Suicide prevention, city state legislation, homes/shelter, HIV prevention, school policies, employment, prison, domestic violence, foster care, juveniles, education, cultural events, police, restroom, licenses/birth certificates, non discrimination, safe schools, healthcare

Safe schools: last statewide school to pass was in North Carolina, included GID and sexual orientation, 2 collage policies in N Dakota
Jails, prisons, police work: in California passed a bill that would make classification as LGBT INMATES into consideration, but governor vetoed it.
Non discrimination laws: NY just passed GENDA through assembly, now we need Senate to pass bill
Massachusetts’s bill is supported by Governor, but has passed no bills
Salt Lake City passed non discrimination bill, and Mormon church supported it
, Anchorage Al passed bill, but mayor vetoed it. Missouri may have bill may have cote called MONO
Housing: Cleveland passed bill for housing
• Driver License/birth certificates- in last year: Mass, NJ, Ohio had success. Maryland helped defend trans positive policy . Birth certificate- Tennessee is trying to educate people. Effort in NYC for birth cert. (must have surgery) , DC is thinking about working on this s well.
Work Force Development
Healthcare: Almost Penn State, still working on it. American University put in staff benefits, and now doing survey. Harvard just added trans benefits for staff, and will add for student in 6 mo. Bank Of America has trans benefits
Suicide Prevention: Mass has new developments,Trveor Project has new spokersperson Daniel Radcliffe from "Harry Potter"

They ended presentation talking about new coalition they have started “Transgender of State and Local Coalitions” and want people to get involved

11:30 am

National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Preliminary Results, Justin Tanis NCTE
Justin Tanis, who is Community Education & Outreach Manager for NCTE, talked about the results of the survey, and community members made comments and asked questions.

My notes:
• This survey reported the biggest amount of transgender data ever collected!
• 97% of trans people have been discriminated against
• Trans people are twice as likely than average to make 10,000 a year, POC trans people were 4 times as likely!, African Americans was 5 times!
• Lack of access to healthcare
• Good to use in lobbying for ENDA
• Here’s a link for more info: http://www.transequality.org/Issues/discrimination.html

11:45 am

The Census:

Ed SanFillippo, The Census, spoke about the US census and how it pertains to the trans community specifically, and to all LGBT people and families
• How important data collection is to our community
• (ourfamiliescount.org)
• States can gain or lose seats in Congress when we count
• First census where there’s been paid outreach to LGBT community
• If a gender queer/transgender/intersex person decides to choose “both sex boxes”, they will be designated one by “computer” (transsexual people identify with the binary generally, and would prefer to just choose female or male)
• Selective service registration (draft). An FTM who identifies as male has to write “No, I have not registered in draft”, but has to give a reason why, and therefore must include transition info. A MTF who transitioned after 18 (legally) must register for selective service if they want to work for government, or get federal school loans. However, they will be dismissed if draft takes place.

(This is offensive to me because a woman (or anyone for that matter) should not have to register to fight for a war they don’t believe in. On principle, I would never register to fight for a country that does not grant me my civil rights & allows my community to be discriminated against- which goes against the Constitution. So when I go back to school it looks like I will have to find someone else to sponsor me other then Uncle Sam. There’s no way I’m going to register for the draft when there is a war in my own country against me and other transsexual women!)

• Q: Future forms- How do we get LGBT folks get to be included on future census forms? A:Keep on having conversations, talk to Congressional leaders
Will have “hot pink queer sticker” to put on census form from the Task Force (NGLTF)
• They have transgender specialist for Census

Vanessa Macoy from The Task Force then spoke about the “Queer The Census” (on Census)
Queer The Census
“opportunity for us to be included to the Census bureau” Since the LGBT community is not on the official Census form, the Task force has arranged (however, the Census bureau is not going to tally the 3 of stickers, but I guess the visibility will at least express “We are here, and we are queer) a hot pink sticker that means the American is LGBTQQI. This sticker would go on the back of the envelope for the census form. On the large sticker there are different LGBTQQI identities, and one can check all that apply. There is even a blank space if one wants to add their own identity. For example, if a transsexual woman does NOT identify as “transgender”, she can write “transsexual”.

Implementing Hate Crimes Law, Robert Moossy, Civil Rights Division, Dept. of Justice
my notes:
• Overview of new statute: 18 Untied States Code 249- has 2 parts that prevent hate crimes: 1rst group: by race, or national origin, or religion - 2nd group- 2nd part. LGBT folks, new religions , disabled
• For it to be considered hate crime for first group: Act of violence that shows bodily injury and it was done due to race. For 2nd group: have to show bodily injury, and was done because of prejudice or said “epithet” , and showed that the crime happened in or inter-effecting interest commerce (either people committing crime went across state lines, that weapon went passed state lines, has to be commercial side to it.
• Police a lot of time are the very people who commit hate crimes against people they are supposed to protect. Community Relations Service can intervene and help and intervene when a citizen feels for their safety when going to police.
• Matt Nosanchuck 202 514 2151 LGBT Liaison for the civil rights division for the Dept of Justice
• Robert.moossy@usdoj.gov

Travel and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Jennifer Carmichael TSA Director of Civil Rights and Liberties, led a discussion
Discussed TSA Screening Programs: Secure flight

(I had to take a nap in my room during half of this presentation, but if you go to NCTE’s website (www.transequality.org) you could find more info.
The alarming thing is that now people are going to have their privacy invaded at the airport, as now they will have X-ray scanner to see people’s naked body when you check in! Many humanists and activists have been fighting this from happening, but now it appears they have lost the battle. Giving up our human rights in the name of “terrorism” is scary, and as I look around I see that more and more people are voluntarily giving up their civil rights due to “fear”, and of course many of us are unwillingly doing so.)

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Mara Keisling, NCTE and Rhodes Perry, PFLAG gave this presentation

The exact wording and language in the ENDA bill is not public yet, which has many transsexual/transgender and gender non-conforming people unsure about the bill, and if it may oppress certain members of the sex and gender diverse communities.

my notes:
• US Military is exempted from ENDA.
• This will not change partner benefits
• Wording about bathroom is up in air, and with locker rooms
• Most co-sponsors on any LGBT bill ever!
• We have the votes in the HOR (House Of Rep), but not sure about the Senate
• A good question asked “Who establishes the standards of what is deemed appropriate medical professionals or the employers as far as restroom usage, transition and how it’s handled?”
• They educated us on how to best hold conversations with Congress, different ways. We discussed messaging for lobbying.

Lobby Training and Organizing

Marcus Waterbury, Board Chair of NCTE, spoke for a minute, said thanks for coming
Gunner Scott- Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and Stephanie White (NCTE), led this discussion

• They schooled us on how to lobby
• 3 elements of visit: Your personal story, the ask, after the visit
• The ask: “Will you support ENDA”
• We then broke into groups according to states and practiced our pitch


I’m now back in my room getting ready to go to dinner, and then to another reception hosted by NCTE. It was a very educational day.


Dinner & "Moving Forward Together Recpetion" @ The National Press Club

Some girlfriends of mine (Dana, Teri, Ali, Janis, etc) and a new acquaintance, Marcus, went to get some dinner. We went to a Thai place (even though they did not have brown rice). It was delicious though. Marcus is the Board Chair of NCTE, and it was interesting to hear his progressive view on gender liberation. His wife, Jacqueline White, (who was not there) is writing a book called “My Transgender Husband: A Love Story” about her and Marcus’s relationship, and her personal journey through his transition. To learn more about this romantic story, go to www.mytransgenderhusband.com

We then went to a reception called “Moving Forward Together” hosted by NCTE, where there were drinks, food, dancing, socializing, and an award was given. It was located at The National Press Club. The "National And Local Leadership In The Trans Movement" was given to Bishop Yvette Flunder of City of Refuge United Church of Christ , on her work helping create the famous all trans gospel choisr called "Transcendence Gospel Choir". I got to meet the Bishop, and she is very committed to educating people that trans people are also children of God, and deserve a welcoming home.

(Jazmine (NCTE), Bishop Yvette Flunder (Founder of City of Refuge), Ashley)

The event ended at 9pm, and a few of us ladies were not tired, so 6 of us hopped in two cabs and went to a bar to bond with each other. I talked mostly with Denise Leclaire, and she has been doing activism for trans equality for a long time. I learned so much from her. There was a jukebox at the bar, and I love jukeboxes!! Well, only if there is good music on the jukebox. We listened to a lot of 80’s music, some rock, and hip hop. I met this cute guy who does marketing for political projects, and he was really interested in a project that I’m working on. He’s from California, which is also why we really connected. It’s that California love vibe! I had to get up early the next morning to get ready to lobby on Capitol Hill, so I took a cab to my hotel.

March 16th

I wake up and iron my black business suit and get ready to go tell Capital Hill that I am an American citizen and do not appreciate not having the same rights and protections other people have just because I am a woman born with a birth challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I walked to the subway to go to the east step of Capital Hill to where there was a planned group photo shoot with all the conference’s participants. I did not know it would take so long to get to the metro, and that it was so far away, so I was 5 minutes late and missed the group photo. But people were still there, so we took our own photos.

I then went to meet up with the California people who had a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. Though I moved to New York last fall, I am registered to vote in California, so it was decided I would talk to them. It was so surreal walking into the Capital Hill buildings on a mission to defend my human rights. We all met in the hall. It was Mason, Maceo (both from the Transgender Law Center in California) and a few others. We had a meeting with one of Feinstein’s staff members. As we approached her office, it was just or luck that Senator Feinstein came out of her office. Mason and I thanked her for supporting ENDA, and she took a picture with me! I was so happy because Feinstein is a legendary politician, dating back to the days of Harvey Milk, and has done a lot for the LGBT community!
We then sat down with one of Feinstein’s staff, and each went around and told her why employment non-discrimination laws are so important to us. I told her of how I was 17 that I couldn’t even get a job at Starbucks because I was asked “are you a guy” when they saw my ID. I was not allowed to change the name or sex on my ID until I was 18. I told her how due to discrimination and transphobia, that I was in very vulnerable situations, where I had not family to protect me, and how it hurt me very much to have to depend on people, when all I wanted to do was be an independent woman and provide for myself. I told her how marginalized, endangered, and oppressed I felt as a girl branded “T”. She told us that Senator Fienstein was committed to ENDA.

(Senator Dianne Fienstein and Ashley in Fienteins Captial Hill office)

And we all talked for a while, and then took a picture with her. On our way to our next destination we evaluated our meeting, and discussed what was done well, and what might be better for next time.

We then went down to the Capitol Hill’s big cafeteria (the largest one I’ve ever seen) and went to the area where people from our event had a few tables. We had lunch, and talked, and it was fun to bond with everyone. Us California people had another meeting with House Of Representatives Xavier Becerra. We got here at 2:40, but they were still in another meeting, and we had to wait a while. We then talked to one of his staff. We also discussed the importance of trans people seeking asylum on California from Central and South America, since Becerra is very progressive in his fight for immigration reform.

It was very inspirational to talk to these politicians. We then walked back to the cafterai meeting area, and socilized and discussed the days events and meetings.

My friend Maceo had to catch a plane back to California and had to go back to the hotel to get his luggage. I thought it would be a good idea to get my luggage and bring it with to the end of the event at Taco Place. He dropped me off, and I freshened up, and took the metro to the party.

The organizers of the event from NCTE gave some inspiring closing words. They had reserved a large part of the restaurant for us, and supplied some yummy Mexican food. There were also margaritas and drinks. It was a little sad for me, because I didn’t want the trip to end. I didn’t want everyone to go back to their different states around the country. I wanted us all to stay together. These were my trans sisters and brothers, and there are things they understand about me that no one else does: my journey, my pain, my hopes, my loss of family, my rejection from society for being different, the discrimination I get in so many arena, my childhood stories, my challenging love life, my struggles, my obstacles, my tears, and my passion for all of to work hard to right all the wrongs that continue to oppress our community. I didn’t want to go back to New York. I wanted to stay with my trans friends in that party forever. Of course I was almost the last one to leave, and I was very sad. The trans community is like my family.
On the bus back to New York, I made a commitment to get more involved in activism for the trans community. It’s one thing to complain online about lack of civil rights and horrific images of trans people in the media. And it’s another thing to take action and do something! So I made a promise to myself that when I go back to New York, I would not just talk, but help organize and do something! First line of business: “The BAAD Media Awards”, which will be an ceremony event giving awards to “dishonor” the most transphobic images in the media. Stay tuned for more details at http://www.transformingmedia.blogspot.com/!

To get info to see how you can got to "Trans Lobby Days" next year, or to learn more info about legisaltion concerning trans people got to NCTE's website: www.tranequality.org

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Call Speaker Nancy Pelosi TODAY and tell her why ENDA is important!

Please call Speaker Nancy Pelosi TODAY at 202-225-4965. Ask that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 3017, move to a vote. Be polite, but firm

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) keeps on getting delayed. Today is the day many LGBT/ally blogs and media outlets have orghanized a "blogswarm" and outrech to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to let her know how vital our community is protected from discrimination in the work place.

This week hundreds of transsexual and transgender people went to Captial Hill to talk to Congress to lobby/and or give thier personal stories of why ENDA matters to millions of Americans. I had the pleasure of going, and it was very inspiring to take action and let Congress know that we know our rights. My diary of the trip will be posted on this blog tomorrow.

If you have a blog or website, please post something today on this issue, If you are on Facebook or Twitter, please write a post expressing that we demand ENDA passes.

Here is the link to the organized "blogswarm": http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/take_action_demand_lgbt_employment_rights_today.php