Social Justice Monday – Dispelling Fear-based Policies: Protecting the Transgender Community Through Effective Advocacy

Social Justice Monday – Dispelling Fear-based Policies: Protecting the Transgender Community Through Effective Advocacy

October 31, 2016

Seattle University OUTLaws and leaders in the transgender community explored legal, social, and organizing efforts to include and protect a vulnerable community whose rights and interests have made headlines in the national fury over bathroom access. Panelists examined polices and legislation that misrepresent the transgender community and threaten to roll back their civil rights—including Initiative 1515, regarding bathroom choice, which failed to qualify for the Washington ballot this year. Panelists also discussed counter-efforts to protect the rights of transgender individuals. Greater understanding of the threats the transgender community faces to its civil liberties in this charged political climate will help everyone in the Law School community create a more welcoming space for transgender individuals and provide more effective, compassionate legal services to the transgender community.

Panelists included:

Leo Segovia is a graduate of the LGBTQ leadership development program, Out In Front. With a commitment to social justice, Leo serves the transgender community in many ways such as working with the City of Seattle developing Trans* competency curriculum for their front line staff. Leo also helped produce an LGBTQ visibility campaign for Seattle Office for Civil Rights. Through extensive travels, Leo witnessed social movements of displaced populations across countries and economic systems. The physical displacement of communities from their land and culture resonated with the displacement he felt in his physical body and as a first generation “American.” Inspired by the healing and unity sought out by these movements, Leo came out as transgender in 2014. Through community outreach and education, his work focuses on the relationship between race and gender; a complex intersection that many trans* folks are forced to navigate within our greater society.

Kiyomi Fujikawa is a queer, mixed-race, trans-feminine and gender-fabulous, anti-violence organizer. She has been based in Seattle since 2005 and has been involved with the Social Justice Fund NW’s Gender Justice Giving Project and many other projects. She formerly worked with the Queer Network Program at API Chaya where she engaged Queer and Trans* communities of color around responses to intimate partner violence and helped build agency. Kiyomi has also been a key contributor to the King County Trans Resource Guide and numerous arts and entertainment programs focused at QTPOC community in Seattle. She has been involved with movements to end sexual assault and domestic/dating violence since 2001, and in 2013, she participated in the Trans* Justice Funding Project, which distributed over $50,000 to organizations working for liberation for Trans* people and our communities.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books:

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Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law

Dean Spade

SU Law Library LAW-Reserve (Faculty Collection) (KF4754.5S63 2015)

Wait—what’s wrong with rights? It is usually assumed that trans and gender nonconforming people should follow the civil rights and “equality” strategies of lesbian and gay rights organizations by agitating for legal reforms that would ostensibly guarantee nondiscrimination and equal protection under the law. This approach assumes that the best way to address the poverty and criminalization that plague trans populations is to gain legal recognition and inclusion in the state’s institutions. But is this strategy effective?

In Normal Life Dean Spade presents revelatory critiques of the legal equality framework for social change, and points to examples of transformative grassroots trans activism that is raising demands that go beyond traditional civil rights reforms. Spade explodes assumptions about what legal rights can do for marginalized populations, and describes transformative resistance processes and formations that address the root causes of harm and violence.

In the new afterword to this revised and expanded edition, Spade notes the rapid mainstreaming of trans politics and finds that his predictions that gaining legal recognition will fail to benefit trans populations are coming to fruition. Spade examines recent efforts by the Obama administration and trans equality advocates to “pinkwash” state violence by articulating the US military and prison systems as sites for trans inclusion reforms. In the context of recent increased mainstream visibility of trans people and trans politics, Spade continues to advocate for the dismantling of systems of state violence that shorten the lives of trans people. Now more than ever, Normal Life is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require. – From the Publisher


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Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States

Joey L. Mogul
Andrea J. Ritchie
Kay Whitlock

SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4754.5.M64 2011)

In March 2003-three decades after Stonewall-police stormed the Power Plant, a private Detroit club frequented by African American LGBT people. Over 350 people were handcuffed and subjected to homophobic slurs. Some were hit on the head and back; others were slammed into walls. Their supposed crime was later chalked up to a bizarre infraction: “loitering inside a building.” Three years earlier, Freddie Mason, a thirty-one-year-old Black gay man was arrested after a verbal altercation with his landlord, and then anally raped with a billy club covered in cleaning liquid by a Chicago police officer. Bernina Mata, a Latina, was sentenced to death on the theory that being a “hardcore lesbian” caused her to kill. A Tennessee police officer’s brutal beating of Duanna Johnson, a Black transgender woman, was even caught on camera. Within a year, she was dead-the third African American transgender woman in Memphis in three years whose murder remains unresolved. Events such as these illuminate a long shadow of criminalization of LGBT people in America.

Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences-as “suspects,” defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes-like “gleeful gay killers,” “lethal lesbians,” “disease spreaders,” and “deceptive gender benders“-to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities. A groundbreaking work that turns a “queer eye” on the criminal legal system, Queer (In)Justice illuminates and challenges the many ways in which queer lives are criminalized, policed, and punished. – From the Publisher


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LGBT Youth in America’s Schools

Jason Cianciotto
Sean Cahill

SU Lemieux Library 4th Floor-Books (LC2575.C54 2012)

Jason Cianciotto and Sean Cahill, experts on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public policy advocacy, combine an accessible review of social science research with analyses of school practices and local, state, and federal laws that affect LGBT students. In addition, portraits of LGBT youth and their experiences with discrimination at school bring human faces to the issues the authors discuss.

This is an essential guide for teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, and social workers interacting with students on a daily basis; school board members and officials determining school policy; nonprofit advocates and providers of social services to youth; and academic scholars, graduate students, and researchers training the next generation of school administrators and informing future policy and practice. – From the Publisher

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.