On Thursday, June 28th, in my new role as Project Coordinator of Survivors’ Truths’ TransYouth Speaks project, I attended the first Silver Lake Transgender Task Group meeting at the Sprouted Garden Cafe. LGBTQQ and allied community members attended to discuss how to make Silver Lake safer and more welcoming for transgender folks.
For me, it was refreshing to hear our cisgender (non-transgender) neighbors voice their genuine concerns over the many issues which plague me daily. On a day-to-day basis, as a transgender woman in the community I continually worry about the little things that much of the general public take for granted, like access to restrooms.
One of the more pressing issues the transgender community often struggles with is “Safe access to Public Restrooms.”
Throughout our process of transition, and for some – the rest of their lives, accessing gender-appropriate public restroom facilities can be a stressful, trying, and potentially embarrassing or even dangerous experience.
Sadly, not every city subscribes to California’s general anti-discrimination statute which ensures us access to places of public accommodation free from discrimination.
Silver Lake wants to take the lead and expand on this idea by making it not only apply to public use but also full city-wide implantation of the rule, as well as creating additional gender-neutral facilities free of discrimination and fear.
We also discussed:
AB1121: Focuses on easing the process of modifying gender identification on birth certificates.
AB1266 : This bill would allow our youth to participate in the many sex-segregated programs, facilities, activities and completions. Regardless of their chosen gender identity.
To hear those not directly affected by transgender related issues share their genuine concerns and offer ideas for making the lives of transgender people a little easier created an encouraging environment. Moreover, witnessing the willingness of Silver Lake to act as a forerunner in pushing city-wide change touched my heart.
As time passes, I as a transgender woman am looking forward to bringing you many more great bits of information and outstanding updates going on all around us.
TYS Project Coordinator
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