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6 - 10 : 52 Things You Can Do for Transgender Equality

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#6: Plan an Art Show of Works by Trans Artists

Jordy Jones, artist and event producer writes, “In the last few years, there has been a great proliferation of transgender visibility in the media. Mainstream representations of trans-people are on the increase. From the Discovery channel to daytime television, the images and lives of real trans-people pull in viewers curious for a glimpse of these ‘exotic’ life forms. Sympathetic representations by Hilary Swank, Felicity Huffman and other non-trans-people draw praise from trans and non-trans groups alike. As sympathetic as some of these representations may be, they still cannot have the immediacy, resonance and clarity of vision as work by trans artists can. Why ask Maury…or even Felicity what it is like to be trans when you can go the source? Plan an art show of works by trans artists and help further transgender equality.”

You can inspire your local community and give visibility to trans artists by holding an art show. Ask local artists if they will help you identify a venue to hold the event and plan it. Make sure that you think about how to keep the art work safe. Publicize it well and consider holding a special event for the opening of the show. You can include widely varying types of art, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, prints, film, spoken word and more.

Consider this inspiring, and beautiful, way to further transgender equality.

#7: Create and publicize a calendar of local events and encourage people to attend them

Ever feel frustrated when you just heard about a great event that happened last weekend? Wonder how newcomers could be better served in finding out about community happenings? Want to show community members, politicians, funders and others all of the things that are going on in your area? Here’s a great way to get the word about events in your area:

Create a calendar of all the transgender related events happening in your local community. That makes it much easier for people to find all of the events that might interest or help them and builds a sense of unity among the different groups. Having this kind of information readily available makes things more convenient for everyone and provides newcomers with an easy way to get involved and informed.

If you organize a calendar on your webpage or your group’s webpage, it also drives traffic to your site from people who might not have visited before. It can raise your group’s profile in your local area and help you be seen as an organization that serves the community.

There are a number of software programs available that can help you build a calendar for either print or a webpage. Many of them are easy to use and may already be on your computer (check for calendar templates on your word processing, webpage or publishing software). Contact groups in your area and ask them to send you the dates of their meetings, social events and conferences, along with contact information and a link to their websites. Then put them together to form a community calendar.

To give you some ideas and get you started, here are a couple of examples of community groups that are doing this:

Then encourage people you know to support the events in your community.

#8: Start an online community or a blog that deals with an issue that is important to you

The internet has created so many new ways for people, including transgender people, to connect. The world of blogs provides an avenue for new voices to be heard and opinions to be shared with others.

You can create a blog easily through many different portals available on the internet. You can set up a blog for just you or create a space for others in the community to share their perspectives. You can also create bulletin boards on a website for people to dialogue about their ideas or set up an e-mail list serve that covers a topic you’d like to talk about. With all of these, you’ll need to keep up with them to be sure that content stays current and that folks a topic to talk about in order to keep your presence vibrant.

An excellent example is the website, www.myhusbandbetty.com, run by Helen Boyd who is the wife of NCTE Board Member Betty Crow. The myhusbandbetty.com site includes blogs, message boards, and regular columns from Helen.

Speaking about her experience, Helen comments, “Although Betty and I first created www.myhusbandbetty.com for the sake of publicity, we've been pleased to see both the blog and the message boards on the site thrive. The message boards provide a useful place for interaction, nearly a think tank, and in fact have been part & parcel of an in-person monthly group forming here in NYC. Other people on the boards have met when they travel, on business trips, and at conferences. My blog has shown up everywhere from pro-choice websites to queerday.com - which means that many feminists and queer folk of all stripes know somewhere they can learn more about trans issues. Online communities end up facilitating not only in-person communities, but make transness more visible to other sympathetic people online. It takes a lot of work to moderate the boards and write the blog, but increasing trans visibility on the ‘net is worth the effort.”

What do you have to say to the world? Consider creating an online community to lift up your voice as well as the lives of others.

#9: Change the Policy of an Organization You Belong To

Many of us belong to organizations—neighborhood groups, professional associations, labor unions, hobby clubs and more. One way to further transgender equality is to add policies that protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and expression or make clear that transgender people are welcome in your group.

If the organization has an existing non-discrimination policy, propose that gender identity and expression be added to it. If the organization doesn't have a relevant policy, than put forward language that includes other categories as well.

Recently, Nick Gorton, Kevin Maxey, and Arlene Vernon helped make such a change. These three physicians are all members of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and submitted a resolution to change ACEP's Code of Ethics for Emergency Physicians. Their resolution was passed and the new ACEP Code of Ethics reads: “Emergency physicians should act fairly toward all persons who rely on the ED for unscheduled episodic care. They should respect and seek to understand people from many cultures and from diverse socioeconomic groups …. Provision of emergency medical treatment should not be based on gender, age, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, real or perceived gender identity, or cultural background. No patient should ever be abused, demeaned, or given substandard care.”

This could make a significant difference in the quality of care you receive if you need to visit an emergency department.

#10: Donate money to an organization providing direct services for transgender people

The money you donate to organizations is critical to their ability to provide services for our community. Because you give, organizations are able to make a tangible difference in trans people’s lives—drafting new legislation to protect our rights, reaching out to youth, providing answers to legal questions, doing HIV prevention, creating social events where we can come together and celebrate who we are, dressed as we want to dress, and much, much more. The donations you make to trans organizations can help our community thrive, be healthy and grow.

You may never have received a request from an organization asking for your support for other groups, but we believe that we are all in this together. Whatever we do to support our community strengthens us all.

Plus, giving money makes us feel good, recognizing ourselves as generous people, supporting a cause that is important to us. A little or a lot … any amount can help the community.

Some ideas to get you started …

Donate to your local support group or an advocacy organization doing work in your community.

Wherever you give, know that it is making a difference in the lives of people in our community. If you want some general information about making charitable donations, click here for an article from the Better Business Bureau.


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