Transgenders, Families Gear Up to Lobby on Capitol Hill
Transgender activists from all over America will converge on Capitol Hill, April 29-30 to lobby Congress for transgender inclusion in, and passage of hate crimes and employment rights legislation. Lobby Days 2004 is sponsored by the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC), the country's largest and most active organization advocating for the rights of transgender Americans at federal, state, and local levels.
Among those in attendance will be victims of anti-transgender hate crimes and family members of those who have been victims. Attendees include Sylvia and Imelda Guerrero, mother and aunt of murdered Newark, California teenager Gwen Araujo, Queen Washington, the mother of teenaged Stephanie Thomas who, along with her friend Ukea Davis, was cut down in a hail of gunfire at a stop-sign in Washington DC, and Ethan St. Pierre, host of the internet community radio show TransFM and nephew of Boston-area transwoman Debra Forte, who fell victim to a hate-inspired murder in 1995.
Before visiting Congressional offices on April 29-30, NTAC will hold a plenary session at the University of Maryland's Annapolis Hall, in the southeast quadrant of the main campus. Just a short walk from the hotel, the plenary on the April 28 will consist of a brief lobbyist training and assignments for the following days. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with many trans and trans-supportive activists and representatives from organizations working toward fully inclusive federal hate crimes and civil rights protections and to participate in other Lobby Days events and actions to be announced.
Those planning on attending NTAC Lobby Days are requested to register at the NTAC website ( http://www.ntac.org). Links are provided to the registration form, hotel site, and other information. NTAC has arranged a special Lobby Days discount room rate at the Quality Inn in nearby College Park, MD. Room and ride sharing can be arranged through the NTAC Lobby Days 2004 email list ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ntacLobbyDays/).
It is essential to have demonstrably significant numbers of concerned community activists and supporters working together to educate their elected representatives on these vital issues. The need has never been greater.
"If we come out in numbers, and [congress members] see that, maybe they'll think twice before trying to take our rights away," said Ethan St. Pierre, NTAC board member and Lobby Days co-organizer, "Our country shouldn't stand for this kind of treatment. "
Arguably the upcoming election cycle will be the most crucial ever for the Transgender Community, and the stakes have never been higher.
"It's important for us to set the tone for the next election," said St. Pierre. "We need to maintain our position on civil rights." He added his feeling that with respect to federal protections, "we've been going backwards, not forwards."
You can make a difference, for yourself, your family, and your community. Join your brother and sister Transgendered American activists, family, friends, and supporters in speaking truth to power and fighting for a truly equal America for us all. Your support, your voice, and your active participation have never mattered more.
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Founded in 1999, NTAC - the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition - is a §501(c)(4) civil rights organization working to establish and maintain the right of all transgendered, intersexed, and gender-variant people to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.
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