It was no surprise that Johanna, Survivors' Truths sponsee was named Woman of the Year in the APAIT QUEST Transgender Advocacy Pageant. I first met Johanna at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where we facilitate monthly media workshops with transgender youth and she was the inspiration for our TransYouth Speak Leadership Development group. Transgender youth face incredible stigma, isolation, discrimination and violence and this group was a haven for them. As they shared their stories and brainstormed what they wanted to do with video, Johanna spoke up. “I think we should have a theme It’s Time for a Change!” She went on, in coming weeks, to help her peers identify the issues they wanted to address. Soon, she pointed out that meeting once a month for a couple of hours wasn’t enough to do what they wanted to do. “We need to have a place where we can get together and work on this stuff,” she said. And so the TransYouth Speak Leadership Development group was born. This past September, we started having ‘office hours’ and a work group every week, with staff who can support both the message development and the technical production, as well as provide mentorship and leadership training to participants. This group, led by volunteer professional facilitators, supported by local businesses, is one of the few safe spaces in our community where transgender youth can participate in this kind of action. Please consider supporting this project by donating, fundraising, or just helping us spread the word on Twitter and FaceBook.
Thanks and happy holidays!
Dove Pressnall, Founder and Executive Director