Grassroots: Take action (updated 10-25-11)

This is a 10-25-11 editor’s update.

Washington, DC’s TLGB Police Watch Coalition of concerned citizens and organizations has now scheduled the first street action, a Transgender Day of Action (TDOA, November 7) in conjunction with the planners of DC’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR, November 20), to end DC police bias against trans folks.

While the TDOR has been held for two decades to honor those who have lost their lives in the struggle for full equality, this year everyone is cooperating to express in unison the community’s urgent need to rid itself of discriminatory practices in the police force and in city government. The trans community’s leaders have worked ably through the years, and we are starting to see some significant changes but the pressure from the public must remain strong until these practices are irradiated completely from life in our nation’s capital. AG

Recent coalition partners are Rainbow Response, Transgender Health Empowerment, and Gender Rights Maryland, who join DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), GetEQUAL DCThe DC Center for the LGBT Community, Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), Woodhull Sexual Freedom AllianceCedar Lane UU Church LGBT Task Force, and VenusPlusX.

Please let us know if you would like to be a part of this coalition to end police bias in DC. 

The grim numbers attest to the cost of unregulated hatred of vulnerable minorities when civil government fails:

  • Over a ten year period, eight trans women were murdered in Washington, DC, out of a population of 600 thousand. No place in the nation had a larger proportion of its population murdered in anti-trans assaults.
  • In the same period, ten trans women were murdered in California, out of a population of over 37 million. No other state in the union had a larger number of trans murders.
  • One in seven trans murders occur in DC. One in 500 Americans live in DC.
  • DC’s clearance of murders is a paltry 50% and in the trans community it is only 20%.

Local DC activists working in coalition have launched “TLGB Police Watch” to plan and strategize around concerns of the TLGB community-at-large. Their goal is to put well-aimed and -vetted “boots on the ground” to bring pressure on city government, the Metropolitan Police Department, and Congress (because we don’t have Home Rule in DC) and draw the attention of the public and the media to this gruesome national tragedy.

The coalition is expanding daily and we invite you to join. It consists of individuals and local and national organizations, such as DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), GetEQUAL DCThe DC Center for the LGBT Community, (ISO), Woodhull Sexual Freedom AllianceCedar Lane UU Church LGBT Task Force, Rainbow ResponseTransgender Health EmpowermentGender Rights Maryland, and VenusPlusX,

Everyone is working together to complement inroads community leaders are making in direct conferences with Mayor Vincent Gray and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, while making it perfectly that the entire community is unified in its rejection of anything short of instituting an emergency response plan to bring relief to these murders. DC has the best in the nation human rights laws for LGBT residents, but this alarming murder rate against trans and gender-nonconforming residents reveals that we cannot .

The Office of the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) must be forced once and for all to disrupt the existing anti-LGBT culture which every day leads to their employees’ non-compliance with the D.C. Human Rights Act, the standards for basic cultural competency, and existing police procedures and special orders. As Alison Gardener previously reported elsewhere, “Chief Cathy Lanier calls this, ‘willful negligence,’ on the part of her officers, and admits that police discipline and training has fallen short and endangers public safety.” We already know this pathological, undisciplined, willful negligence increases the likelihood of even greater violence and discrimination against our community.

TLGB Police Watch is putting the “T” first, in demanding systemic and sustainable change throughout Washington, DC. If you would like to work with us or familiarize yourself with what we are doing for problems in your own city, please contact columbia@venusplusx.org and reference TLGB Police Watch.

Change must come now, before more lives and families are shattered because of TLGB discrimination and violence against our community.

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner