Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trans-Activism Blossoms in Unlikely Environment

As community leaders continue to speculate when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be introduced in the next Congress and whether the bill's language will include gender identity and gender expression, transgender and gender non-conforming people and their allies continue their grassroots efforts educating their communities and advocating for equal protections across the country...even in some unlikely places...thriving in parts of the country's most conservative regions.

According to a new article in The American Prospect, entitled Trans in the Red States, "when we think of states like Nebraska and Wyoming, we think of people like Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard, both killed in vicious, nationally publicized hate crimes," and yet, despite the difficulties of living in small, conservative towns similar to Humboldt, Nebraska and Laramie, Wyoming, transgender and gender non-conforming people have chosen to take more visible roles in their communities - volunteering for political campaigns, participating in their local faith communities and even transitioning on the job without negative repercussions. Being visible in rural communities raises awareness and educates community members on issues impacting the trans community; a highly effective strategy that has secured rights for many rural trans communities.

The article states that people in very small, largely conservative communities like Loveland, Colorado - population 61,000, 92 percent white and heavily evangelical Christian - have surprisingly been receptive to anti-bullying trainings on how to honor and protect students on the basis of gender identity and expression, arming faculty and staff with fact sheets that help them answer any inappropriate questions from students and/or parents about students perceived to be transgender or gender non-conforming as well as students perceived as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Continue reading this post at The Bilerico Project . . .

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