This weekend Danielle Askini and I were proud to attend the 5th Annual Transgender Leadership Summit, Capitol T: Growing a Movement for Transgender Equality, hosted at the University of California at Davis, and organized by our good friends at the Transgender Law Center. It was a packed weekend with over 20 workshops and 5 plenary sessions with some of the most influential transgender leaders in our movement. The workshops were facilitated by activists on the front lines of efforts to change policies and laws to ensure equality for the transgender community. In addition, participants spent Sunday preparing to attend the 1st ever Transgender Advocacy Day in Sacramento.
On behalf of GSA Network, Danielle and I facilitated a workshop on creating safe schools for transgender and gender non-conforming youth. This workshop focused on providing a comprehensive snapshot of California's safe schools laws as well as current policy efforts to secure safe and equal access for transgender and gender non-conforming students. Additionally, we provided participants with information on how to work within their communities to make sure that their local school district has a policy in place. We taught participants skills for working with their districts to expand non-discrimination policies to include clear guidelines for protecting transgender and gender nonconforming youth.
Personally, I was most moved during the plenary session focused on transgender leadership and mentoring, when the panelists talked about the impact of meeting transgender leaders for the first time themselves and how such short meetings had such huge impacts on people's lives. I remember the first time that I met Leslie Feinberg, and how, in that moment, I knew who I was and what that meant for the first time.
Today almost 100 leaders from the transgender community and our allies gathered at the state Capitol for the first-ever Transgender Advocacy Day. Presented by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California Institute, participants met with state legislators to educate them on the need for good jobs and healthcare in the transgender community. In addition they advocated for the Mental Health Access for At-Risk Youth bill (SB 543) and the Data Inclusion Act (AB 1878).
GSA Network staff, Danielle Askini (far left) and t. aaron hans (far right) with Masen Davis, Transgender Law Center Executive Director, and Cecilia Chung, San Francisco Human Rights Commission LGBT Advisory Committee Chair, after the State of the Movement plenary at the Transgender Leadership Summit