And one who survived

It's Transgender Awareness Week, which will culminate on Friday with Transgender Day of Remembrance. That's the day we put aside to enumerate or losses through murders over the past year.

The truth, which we sometimes try to avoid, is that we lose just as many to suicide every year. We try to avoid it because, as Bynn Tannehill puts it, "Those who want to drive transgender people into the closet, legislate against us, and stigmatize us, talk about it all the time in order further marginalize us. It is literally a matter of life and death."

People know that transgender people are at a higher risk of suicide, but why this risk is higher is often not understood by the public, or misused by people who wish us further harm. The statistic that 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide is used all the time to justify all sorts of things that have absolutely zero basis in science.




Boulder campaign seeks to humanize trans people

Out Boulder has begun a new campaign which is intender to humanize the image of transgender Coloradans.

The Boulder Rapid Transit buses in Boulder County will carry advertising designed to illustrate the humanity of Boulder's transgender residents.

 photo MardiMoore_zpsqobfa87p.jpgModeled after a similar campaign in Washington, DC, it is expected that 806,000 riders will be reached by he advertising.

There has been trans-activism in Boulder County for a long time. But there has never been an assertive campaign like this for our community. I don't think policy is the end-all. We have non-discrimination laws that include transgender people in Colorado, but that doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't continue to happen.

We're trying to change hearts and minds.

--Mardi Moore, Out Boulder



Every voice counts

When numbers were gathered in the National Trans Discrimination Survey in 2010 and the NTDS was published in 2011, we finally had some data to point toward when we brought up the subject of out ill-treatment. And people actually started to listen some.

As discouraging, heartbreaking, and disappointing as some of the numbers were to see, having this information was a game changer. The Survey has been the leading source for data on trans people, shaping advocacy, influencing media, and informing policymakers.

Because of the 2011 Survey, we finally had numbers to back up the reality of our experiences and communicate the urgency and importance of fighting for full trans equality.

We have been able to shape the narrative so that people could no longer ignore us, our agenda, or our movement. Soon, the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey will do the same. And we can’t get there without you.

--Sandy James, NCTE

Because of the study, our voices and stories were heard in a way they never were before.



Arrested for being trans

 photo Meagan-Taylor-x400_zpsb94i2lda.jpgMeagan Taylor was visiting Des Moines with a friend. They checked in to the Drury Inn. Meagan, 22, is a hair stylist and a student, but the staff at the Drury felt they knew the truth. Since Meagan and her friend were black trans women, the staff called the West Des Moines Police to report that two males dressed as females had checked in and there was possible prostitution activity (see this rant).



New Mexico blocks sports participation for transgender students

 photo alex trujillo_zpspsbw57yj.jpgAlex Trujillo will be a junior in the fall at Laguna-Acoma High School in New Mexico. Alex was declared male at birth but transitioned to female between 9th and 10th grades.

Alex wanted to continue her athletic career as part of the girls volleyball team. Coaches and officials at the school had no problem with that, but it turned out that the state of New Mexico was unprepared.

I talked to the principal and the coach … [about] if it was OK for me to start going to volleyball conditioning. And they said they didn’t see a problem with it, but they would check with the NMAA [New Mexico Activities Association] to make sure it was OK. So I went to one day of volleyball conditioning, and a few days later I was told that I couldn’t [play]. … That was really devastating for me.

I just cried. It may not seem like a big deal … but it made me feel like I was less than my peers, that I didn’t have the same rights and the same privileges. And it really hurt knowing that I was still seen as a male in the state’s eyes.

--Alex Trujillo









Where we're at: What's Next?

It's hard to know how long we should wait.

Transgender people are very happy to see the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. People tend to ignore the fact that the ruling gives transgender people the legal right to marry whether we are gay or straight. That right has not always been available...and is not something that should be taken for granted.

But trans activists also know that if we wait too long before trying to get our hirons back in the fire, the instinct for activism in the LGBT community can just evaporate. We can't afford for that to happen.

Nine transgender women have been murdered so far this year. Nine. The latest was Mercedes Williamson, who was stabbed to death and left to rot in a field near a farmhouse in Southern Mississippi.

Advocacy groups hope that the same public focus and enthusiasm for change that produced such an irresistible surge in support for gay marriage will now coalesce behind their decades-old struggle for trans equality. They are loth to describe the fight as a new frontline – fearing that would belittle the hard work that has been waged over many years largely out of the limelight.

Clearly gay marriage has been a cause of great celebration. But it’s critical to remember that many members of our community cannot celebrate when they are struggling to survive on a daily basis.

--Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center




Do is a global organization advocating that young people get involved with social change.

our 3.8 million members tackle campaigns that impact every cause, from poverty to violence to the environment to literally everything else. Any cause, anytime, anywhere. *mic drop

Since that was written, the number of members has risen to 3,975,471. More than 2 million of the teens had signed up to receive text messages one or two times a month suggesting ways to do social good. Those texts came from someone named Alysha.

 photo freddie-laptop-e1435861345914_zpstchrrgh6.jpg

[Yesterday] they got a different kind of text from Alysha. Alysha, the text said, was now going by the name Freddie and was coming out as transgender. Instantly. To two million people. Via a text message. 

--Ina Fried, re/code

I’ve texted for DoSomething for 3yrs as Alysha, but I’ve been struggling. Im Trans. Im Freddie! Kind of a big deal.





Andrew Cuomo is outraged! Outraged, I say! He's so outraged, he wrote an Angry Letter on Friday.

In one of my least successful diary efforts, Indignity in New York from this past week I recounted how the NYCLU had released a report charging that the state of New York was a failure at protecting transgender and gender non-conformiing students as charged under the Dignity for All Students Act of 2010.

This lack of action appears to have resulted in harassment and violence being perpetrated against transgender and gender-nonconforming students.


According to the report, 19% of the 24,478 incidents of harassment reported in New York schools during the 2012-13 school year involved gender stereotypes.

Cuomo called the report “truly disturbing” and demanded that Acting Education Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin “take any and all necessary action” to address its findings.

Now that's scathing!




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