Coalition of Transgender Advocacy Organization Forms

The Task Force is proud to be taking part in the forming of a new national coalition of transgender advocacy organizations, initially being called the National Coalition of State-Level Transgender Organizations.The coalition will bring together state and city-based transgender-led advocacy organizations for the purpose of networking, organizing, sharing resources, and building grassroots advocacy.

Lisa Mottet, director of the transgender civil rights project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said:

I am honored to be invited to participate and support a stronger transgender rights movement at the state and local level. There is so much to be done, but I believe the tide in our country has turned toward transgender rights. This new coalition will be crucial in ensuring that transgender rights advance as quickly as possible all over the U.S.

Representatives from several groups will be meeting this weekend in Tennessee to define the mission, craft a vision statement, and outline plans for the first year. One of the overall goals of the coalition is to facilitate more open communication amongst state- and city-based transgender advocacy groups in order to provide additional opportunities for sharing of strategies, policies, and best practices. The hope is that independent organizations can benefit collectively from each other’s work in advancing the transgender movement in the United States.

The advisory board chose Memphis as their meeting location in order to bring continued media attention to the unacceptable and dangerous climate that transgender Tennesseans are facing. Since 2000, there have been ten recorded murders of transgender individuals in Tennessee. Four of those occurred in Memphis.

In February of 2008, Duanna Johnson, an African-American transgender woman, was beaten by Memphis police officers while cuffed to a bench in the police station. This beating was captured on videotape. In November of 2008, Duanna Johnson was found shot to death; her killer has yet to be found. Additionally, the case against the officer that was charged with her beating was declared a mistrial by a federal judge in Memphis in April of 2010.

In another case, Tiffany Berry’s murderer was allowed to walk free for two years without even a trial, and during that time he also killed his two-year-old daughter. These are just two examples of the many injustices occurring to transgender people in Tennessee, but they demonstrate the urgency of building a stronger movement to protect the lives of transgender people around the United States.

For more information on the formation of this new national coalition, the community reception on Saturday evening, or this historic meeting in Memphis, please contact Gunner Scott at 617-778-0519.