Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th marks the 14th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, describes the day’s purpose: “It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, … honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national difference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.” As we honor TDOR, we look at the progress that has been made for transgender equality and the work that still must be done.

PFLAG’s Transgender Network (TNET) began at the PFLAG National Conference in Indianapolis in September 1995. TNET provides education on issues unique to the transgender community, and focuses on issue advocacy to ensure equal rights for the transgender community at local and national levels. With the support and advocacy of TNET, PFLAG became the first national LGBT organization to officially adopt a transgender-inclusion policy. In 1998, PFLAG added “transgender persons” to the organization’s mission statement, and in 2002, the PFLAG National Board of Directors adopted a policy resolution stating that it would not support equality legislation unless it included all of the LGBT community, including transgender individuals.

With this commitment to full equality, PFLAG has been integral in creating inclusive language in critical legislation. For example, in 2007, “gender identity” was removed from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in hopes that a less inclusive bill would help the legislation pass. PFLAG, however, insisted that gender identity be included in the bill. During this time, PFLAG Board Member and TNET leader Dave Parker said, “I can’t support ENDA because they’re isolating my child.” The Board then unanimously voted to not support ENDA without language to protect transgender individuals. 367 organizations subsequently withdrew support from ENDA in 2007. Today, thanks to PFLAG’s advocacy for complete inclusion, ENDA encompasses protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. However, ENDA has yet to pass in Congress. The bill currently has 171 cosponsors in the House and 43 cosponsors in the Senate, and PFLAG continues to advocate for a trans-inclusive ENDA to become law.

Maintaining this commitment to full equality, PFLAG is proud to announce the newly formed Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Advisory Council. This select group of PFLAG leaders will offer guidance to better inform the decision-making process for the Regional Directors Council, a network of PFLAG members who act as liaisons between PFLAG members and national leadership, on the organization’s strategic priorities as they are related to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and communities. The Advisory Council will continue TNET’s mission and provide guidance on how best to educate the PFLAG-network and surrounding communities to ensure better support for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and their families.

There is still much work to be done to bring full equality and protections for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and the entire LGBT community. We hope the TGNC Advisory Council will help to further equality, and we are confident that with the support and hard work of dedicated parents, friends, family, allies, and LGBT individuals, progress will continue to be made. We will continue to advocate for equality and honor TDOR so that no more individuals are lost to hatred or prejudice.

For More Information: To learn more about TDOR, click here.

To access PFLAG’s Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends, click here.

It is critical that ENDA become law so that all people are protected from workplace discrimination. Please click here and tell your elected officials why you support this vital legislation.

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