Points of Unity
Initiated by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color Center for Community Organizing.
We call on our Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) community and our allies from many movements to join us for the 8th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice. We as TGNC People of Color (POC) recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to create the world we want to see. We live in a time when oppressed peoples including people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC people, and poor people are underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. We must unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates our movements for social justice, while also celebrating the victories and strides for the rights of TGNC POC. Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced! These are the points of unity, which hold together the purpose of this important march:
• We demand an end to profiling, harassment and brutality at the hands of the police. Like many other oppressed communities TGNC people are targeted, profiled and brutalized by the police. This violence does not occur in isolation, and is aggravated by racism, classism, ableism, xenophobia, misogyny, ageism and homophobia. We call for an end to the current NYPD Quality of Life Initiative and efforts to “clean up” Christopher St. with increased policing. We support FIERCE’s campaign to counter the displacement and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color at the Christopher Street Pier. We support legislation that would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of ‘criminal activity.’ As members of Communities United for Police Reform we demand an end to the discriminatory “Stop and Frisk” and other “Broken Windows” practices of the NYPD.
• We demand access to respectful and safe housing. Many TGNC POC face severe discrimination from landlords and housing administrators displacing us from our homes due to gender identity or expression. A disproportionate number of TGNC POC have been or are currently homeless. However, many homeless TGNC POC also face discrimination and violence when trying to access shelters and other assisted living programs. NYC law and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) state that people will be placed in shelters according to their gender identity and that discrimination based on gender identity will not be tolerated. We support Queers for Economic Justice in their demand that all DHS shelters provide adequate Trans sensitivity trainings for all personnel and enforce clear non-discrimination policies that respect the dignity and safety of all homeless people. We celebrate that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has developed policy and procedures to prevent discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender orientation in their housing programs.
• We demand access to the NYC LGBT Center without fear of harassment, or censorship. We oppose the NYC LGBT Center’s moratorium, on groups using the Center as a meeting space to organize on ‘the issue of the Israeli/Palestinian divide’ and we support demands for restoration of the right of pro-Palestinian groups to meet at the Center. We oppose the reduction in programming and services for the TGNC POC community at the LGBT Center. We call for community members to hold community spaces accountable by voicing discrimination.
• We demand the full legalization of all immigrants. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous-identified Two-Spirit people and the sovereignty of the First Nations, on whose land we now see the US attempt to enforce arbitrary borders. TGNC POC people deserve the right to access competent and respectful immigration services. We demand that the consulates of all countries respect and honor our identities and issue passports and other documentation that accurately reflects who we are. We oppose the Secure Communities program, the guest worker program, the Real ID Act, enforcement provisions to build more walls and give greater powers to the Department of Homeland Security, increased barriers for asylum seekers, and other anti-immigrant policies.
• We are in solidarity with all prisoners, especially the many TGNC POC people behind the walls. We call attention to the under-reported accounts of violence and rape that our community faces at the hands of correction officers and other prisoners, in psychiatric facilities, and group homes. We demand an end to the torture and discrimination TGNC POC prisoners face. We demand that all TGNC POC prisoners receive competent and respectful healthcare. We oppose the continued growth of the prison industrial complex that continues to target our communities, yet we recognize that TGNC POC people need access to services and facilities that lessen our vulnerability to violence within the present jails and prisons. We call attention to the criminal injustice system that increasingly puts POC, immigrants, people with disabilities, TGNC POC and poor people behind bars - criminalizing our communities and our lives.
• We oppose the US “War on Terrorism” as an excuse to legitimize the expansion of the U.S. as an imperial super power and to justify a national security strategy that is really meant to militarize our borders and heighten surveillance and control over people living in the U.S., separating our communities by fostering feelings of hate, xenophobia, and violence. We demand the immediate removal of all U.S. troops from all countries under occupation and demand an end of use of U.S. dollars to cultivate and sponsor wars against people in the U.S. and abroad.
• We demand health care. TGNC POC people deserve the right to access health care, receive hormones and necessary surgery. We demand that health care providers and insurance providers acknowledge this right and provide this service without bias and discrimination.
• We demand safety while utilizing public transportation. We celebrate that due to a court ruling, TGNC POC are now protected while utilizing public transportation in NYC and can take action against the MTA (NYC’s public transportation system) if its employees use discriminatory language. TGNC POC utilize the MTA daily and should be addressed by their preferred gender pronoun, should not be targeted by employees or harassed by other customers. We call on the MTA to insure the safety not only of TGNC POC but of women, children and all riders.
• We demand that all people receiving public assistance be treated with respect and dignity. We are in solidarity with all people living on public assistance. We celebrate that the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the NYC welfare agency, passed the procedure for serving TGNC clients and approved a community developed training curriculum, but we call for full implementation of the procedure including culturally competent trainings for all employees that does not put the burden of education on the TGNC POC community.
• We demand that TGNC POC people have equal access to employment and education opportunities. We are outraged by the high numbers of TGNC POC who are unemployed. Many TGNC POC continue to face blatant discrimination and harassment from employers due to systemic transphobia. Few TGNC POC have access to opportunities for learning in a safe school environment. TGNC POC demand that all employers and educational institutions implement non-discrimination policies that respect the rights of all workers and students and that they comply with the NYC Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination against gender identity and expression.
• We demand justice for the many TGNC POC who have been beaten, assaulted, raped, and murdered. Yet these incidents continue to be silenced or misclassified. Instead of disrespecting the identities of TGNC POC, like the New York Times recently did with Lorena Escalera, we call for media to address individuals by their preferred names and pronouns. The police and the media continue to criminalize us even when we try to defend ourselves. Hate crime laws will not solve the problem but will give increased power to the state to put more people in jail. Instead we call for a unified effort for all of us to look deeper into the root causes of why these incidents happen. In striving for social justice we seek to find ways of holding people accountable and coming to a joint understanding of how we can make our communities safer.
We commemorate the memory of Tracy Bumpus, Yvonne McNeil, Deoni Jones, LaShai McLean, Brandy Martell, Paige Clay, Shelly Hillard, Coko Williams and the many brave souls we have lost, who struggled and lived their lives fearlessly, being true to who they were. They keep the fire of struggle burning within all of us.