Press

Task Force commemorates losses in the transgender community, celebrates victories for equality

Date: 
November 17, 2006

Task Force joins commemoration of International Transgender Day of Remembrance

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

RELEASE DATE: November 20

WASHINGTON — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force commemorates the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, Monday, Nov. 20, by reflecting on the loss of members of the transgender community due to hate or prejudice.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a solemn time to reflect on those who have been murdered because of their gender identity or expression,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). “The National Center for Transgender Equality and our allies have made great strides advocating for federal hate crimes legislation to explicitly include crimes based on ‘gender identity and expression’ — the language that covers transgender individuals — but we will need to continue educating policy-makers about the rampant violence targeted at our communities.”

“We pledge to our transgender brothers and sisters that we will not allow a federal nondiscrimination or hate crimes bill to move forward that does not include you. You are us and we will not walk down the path to equality without you at our side,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 

Although losses in the transgender community have been profound, this past year saw significant gains for the transgender rights movement.

States that passed or amended nondiscrimination laws to include transgender protections:

  • Washington — One of the few states to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination law that included protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Hawaii — Enacted a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations.
  • California — Enacted a law that amends jury instructions to state that the use of societal bias, including so-called “panic strategies,” to influence the proceedings of a criminal trial is not permitted. This legislation is named in the memory of Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager from Newark, Calif., who was attacked and killed in 2002.

Based on data from the 2000 Census, the total number of people now living in a jurisdiction with a transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination law in the United States is 86 million people, 31 percent of the nation’s population.

There are 10 states that have hate crimes laws that explicitly cover transgender people: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project provides legislative and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination bills or to add transgender protections to existing laws. The project has collaborated with more than 100 local, state or national organizations in 34 states to help pass local and state laws.

Task Force publications dealing specifically with transgender issues include Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People and Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers. For the reports and more details, please visit http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/trans_homeless.

During the commemoration of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, NCTE will distribute a new resource designed to help communities respond effectively in the aftermath of hate crimes against transgender people. To access Responding to Hate Crimes: A Community Resource Manual , please visit http://www.nctequality.org/resources/hatecrimes.pdf.

Additional resources and media contacts:

For more information about the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit http://www.rememberingourdead.org.

• Clarence Patton, Executive Director, Anti-Violence Project, 212.714.1184
• Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality, 202.903.0112
• Lisa Mottet, Transgender Civil Rights Lawyer, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 202.639.6308

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.