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White House convenes meeting on anti-trans violence
Trans advocates brief on epidemic of violence
2011-11-23

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From news releases, posted Nov. 18, 2011

Press Release from FORGE Sexual Violence Project:

Washington, D.C. - Wearing a button with the image of slain Milwaukee transwoman Chanel Larkin, FORGE Policy and Program Director Loree Cook-Daniels participated in an historic briefing convened by the White House on November 16, 2011 to give transgender anti-violence advocates the opportunity to speak to key Administration officials about the widespread violence against transgender people and strategies for addressing it.

The meeting, convened in honor of November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, was facilitated by Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who was joined by representatives from eight other organizations. According to Keisling, "the White House convening this meeting at all, let alone this week in honor of the Day of Remembrance, says a lot about the President's commitment to making America safer and better for transgender people." Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwen Smith opened the meeting by sharing stories of three people murdered due to anti-transgender prejudice, including the killing of 16-month-old Roy Antonio Jones III by his mother's live-in boyfriend who told police he was trying to make the infant act like a boy instead of a girl.

The Administration was represented by policy experts from a range of agencies in at least three Departments with jurisdiction over anti-violence programs. Topics covered included crime data collection, cultural competency for law enforcement, and ensuring that federal and federally-funded anti-violence programs and policies are transgender-inclusive. Special focus was given to violence against youth, homeless trans people and other marginalized individuals within the transgender community.

Cook-Daniels shared with federal officials unpublished data from an ongoing FORGE survey that demonstrates the wide prevalence of various kinds of interpersonal violence facing the transgender community, and told stories of transgender victims who had been turned away from and/or been mistreated by government-funded victim services. As part of the discussion around the need for cultural competency training for professionals who serve transgender victims of crime, she also outlined interim survey results of the top concerns transgender violence victims have when contemplating whether or not to seek services. Cook-Daniels also brought to the Administration's awareness a consensus report on the health needs of transgender people that concluded that violence and murder prevention is the highest United States trans health priority. ( 1 )

All community participants stressed that the burden of violence falls on different parts of the transgender community more heavily, being deeply impacted by other demographic components such as age, race, sexual orientation, poverty, employment and other forms of discrimination, access to health care and many other factors. A special focus was on Washington, D.C., currently the city with the most documented anti-transgender murders. Cook-Daniels reports, "Administration officials were extremely attentive, asked good questions, and seemed eager to keep the conversation going after the meeting's end. I'm confident this is only the start of what should be a very fruitful conversation about how the federal government can better address the epidemic of violence against us."

( 1 ) Xavier, et al ( 2004 ) . "An Overview of U.S. Trans Health Priorities: A Report by the Eliminating Disparities Working Group" available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/HealthPriorities.pdf

FORGE is a progressive organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs ( Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies ) . FORGE is dedicated to helping move fragmented communities beyond identity politics and forge a movement that embraces and empowers our diverse complexities.

Press release from the National Center for Transgender Equality

Washington, D.C. - On Wednesday, transgender and LGBT anti-violence advocates met with Obama Administration officials to offer strategies for addressing the epidemic of violence against transgender people. Recognizing that violence is an especially horrific reality in so many transgender people's lives, the Administration heard a broad range of policy ideas from the National Center for Transgender Equality and eight other organizations.

The meeting at the White House was facilitated by NCTE's Executive Director and the team included, among others, Gwendolyn Smith, the founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Smith shared with the Administration real life stories of transgender people who have faced violence.

According to Mara Keisling, "Meeting with the White House at all, especially the week prior to Transgender Day of Remembrance, says a lot about the President's commitment to making America safer and better for transgender people."

Topics covered included crime data collection, cultural competency for law enforcement and funding issues, as well as insuring that federal and federally-funded anti-violence programs and processes are transgender-inclusive. Special focus was given to violence against youth, homeless trans people and trans women.

Keisling continued, "So many kinds of violence are epidemic for transgender people: hate violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, school bullying, and violence by police. And though certain categories of trans people are more likely to face violence, especially people of color, working class people, young people, women and immigrants, all demographic categories of trans people are more likely to be victims than non-trans people."

NCTE and our allies will continue to push the Administration to address the violence that is such a part of transgender lives.

For more information or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at 202-903-0112 / vvillano@transequality.org .

ABOUT NCTE: The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation's capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501 ( c ) 3 organization.


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