MTPC stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown

Last night we witnessed Boston’s response to the grand jury ruling against indicting the police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. There were over a thousand people who took to the streets to push back against the dehumanizing tragedy that took place in Ferguson.

 

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and all those using their voice to push back on the violence, bias, and systemic oppression which has been so clearly portrayed in the recent events. This cannot, and should not, be ignored.

 

As an organization whose leadership is predominantly white, we recognize the great importance of using our racial privilege to push back on systems of oppression. We stand as an allied organization with all those organizing in Boston, Ferguson, and across the country. #BlackLivesMatter

 

We are committed to engaging with communities of color in active listening and support during this troubling time.

 

Black communities deserve justice, without the fear of violence or discrimination. Black communities deserve to be heard. Black communities deserve peace. Until these things can be guaranteed, we will continue to use our voice to push back against this discriminatory system.

 

To all communities striving for justice around the country, stay safe, and stay strong.

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Trans Awareness Month Meets NanoWriMo

November is Transgender Awareness Month (#TransMonth). It’s also National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), when people challenge themselves to write a novel during the month of November. It can be about anything and doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The idea is that so many of us have stories we want to write but never have the time. So this challenge provides support and networking and motivates people to stop putting it off or worrying about it being perfect and just write–without self-censoring or editing–as much as they possibly can in 30 days.

Stories are powerful things, but especially so for young people. Young people are surrounded by stories, whether it’s bedtime stories, cartoons, movies, books, school lessons, or the news. And one of the most wonderful, exciting, and powerful things for readers of any age, but especially youth, is to see a story about someone like them. Having a character that looks like you, talks like you, thinks like you, or identifies like you can make a huge difference in the lives of young readers. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of diversity in mainstream stories, especially not books for children and young adults. This is especially true if you’re looking for queer or trans characters. It is so vitally important that we make room for this diversity in stories for youth, both in media like NaNoWriMo stories and in mainstream media. So if you’ve got a story, tell it! There are people out there who would love to hear it!

To celebrate the intersection of Writing and Trans Awareness, here is a sample of some young adult and children’s books that already exist and have awesome trans and queer characters! Check them out!Brooklyn

  1. Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

A love story that takes place over the course of a summer between two marginally housed Brooklyn teens, Scout and Kid. Their genders are never revealed.

  1. EmilyBeing Emily by Rachel Gold

When Emily, who was assigned male at birth, tells her parents about her desire to live as a woman, they send her into therapy, convinced she is ill. She is able to rely on her girlfriend and a few others in her life to help her through her family issues.

  1. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills Music

Gabe, who was assigned female at birth, hosts a popular weekly radio show called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” He is not out at school, where he is still using his given name, Elizabeth. When someone discovers his secret, Gabe must figure out how to live an honest life and still stay safe.

  1. if-you-believeIf You Believe in Mermaids, Don’t Tell by A.A. Phillips

Todd knows he can never tell his family the truth: that he wants to be a mermaid, that he loves to play dress up, and that he doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps as an athlete. But when he goes to a summer science camp, he meets a girl who might help him learn to love who he truly is.

  1. London Reign by A.C. Britt london

London is one of Boston’s toughest boys, who was actually assigned female at birth. London must deal with his abusive stepfather, as well as a whole host of other issues that come with living in the inner city.

For more great youth books with trans and queer characters, check out the list at the link below!

http://www.yalsa.ala.org/yals/trans-titles-for-young-adults-summer-2013/

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Trans Day of Remembrance: 2014

Today, as we honor the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we wanted to take this opportunity to lift up the voices of others who have contributed to the movement through blogs, editorials, and other writings:

TDOR 2014 – Who We’re Remembering by Monica Roberts

“Let us continue to work for and pray for a time in which trans human rights will be an unchallenged reality and a time in which the Transgender Day of Remembrance events are no longer necessary.   But until that day comes, let us remember our sisters who were killed because someone hated them enough to do so. “ The blog also includes a link to the list of names we honor and remember today.

Quiet Reflections: Why I Chose Silence on Trans Day of Remembrance by Janet Mock

Very powerful perspective (from 2013) on the importance of supporting trans women of color throughout the year: “Often times, it seems we, poor-raised trans women of color, are more valued by this movement in death than we are in life.”

Everyday People by Kylar Broadus

Trans People of Color Coalition founder Kylar Broadus speaks about the need for equality and communities working together to combat root problems leading to discrimination against trans people of color.

Marking the Day of Reflection by Maxwell Ng

Maxwell, who is chair of MTPC and on the Steering Committee for QAPA, reflects on his own experience with TDoR, and the losses we face this year.

Marking the Day of Uplift by Janani Bala

Highlighting the importance of trans justice work in immigration, prison reform, and much more. “We can’t continue to view trans justice as only a matter of honoring our dead, however. How can we support trans activists who are doing the constant work of manifesting gender justice now?”

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Those We’ve Lost in 2014 by Mitch Kellaway

This article lists the names and photos of those we have lost this year. Read these names, remember their faces and stories, not just today, but throughout the year.

Reflecting on 15 years of TDoR by Nancy Nangeroni

A recap from the 2013 TDoR, looking back on how things have changed.

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Summer 2014 Recap

We have seen some amazing progress over the summer for MTPC and trans rights in Massachusetts, and we’re preparing for a busy fall. In case you missed the news of the summer, here is a recap of what we’ve been up to and the progress we’ve made for trans rights across the state:

State Bill and Local Ordinances

While the Equal Access Bill to add public accommodations protections to the state nondiscrimination law was not pNewtonassed this year, we haven’t been quiet on policy matters. MTPC and our coalition partners have been working statewide to pass local nondiscrimination ordinances that are inclusive of public accommodations.  So far we have doubled the number of trans-inclusive local nondiscrimination ordinances, with more to come.

Salem, Brookline, Somerville, Worcester, and Newton all passed nondiscrimination ordinances this past summer. They join Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst in leading fairness in our state. More cities and towns are expected to follow in the coming months, so stay tuned to hear more. If you live in a city or town that does not have a local ordinance, or if you’re not sure and want to learn more, please contact Mason to learn how you can help the movement in your city or town.

MTPC and our coalition partners are also making plans to continue the fight for public accommodations protections on the state level during the next legislative session.  We plan to host a statewide Lobby Day in 2015, along with other events and opportunities for you to get involved. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our events and activities.

#WeAreMTPC 

#WeAreMTPC

#WeAreMTPC

This June, MTPC unveiled a new campaign to showcase our greatest asset: YOU! Hundreds of you took photos with us, showing how MTPC is all about the many faces, experiences, and perspectives embodied by our community.

Want to show your MTPC Pride beyond social media? Check out our new button packs. For $3 you get two buttons: one for you, and one for a friend or family member! To get your buttons and find out more, email info@masstpc.org.

Project VOICE

Thanks to the input from all those who participated in the Project VOICE survey. MTPC, in partnership with Fenway Health, was able to collect vital information about the health and wellness of the Massachusetts trans community.  The survey results show an alarming relationship between discrimination and overall health of community members. To read the report and learn more about Project VOICE, click here.

CAT MAGIC Returns

MTPC hosted our second CAT MAGIC event in July. The celebration was an amazing opportunity to bring community members together for feline-themed fun and fancy. This time, thanks to the talented Shannon Iggy,we were able to capture some of the fun on film. Check out the photos here, and be sure to tag yourself and friends!

CAT MAGIC started as a community night, focused on celebration of the trans community and our allies … and, naturally, cats. It continues to grow as an opportunity to feature trans artists and performers, celebrate being trans, and come together as a community. Plans are in the works for the next CAT MAGIC event, so stay tuned!

Health Insurance Progress

This year has seen unprecedented progress for trans people’s access to appropriate health care.  On June 20, Governor Deval Patrick announced reforms to health coverage policies to ensure that transgender Massachusetts residents have full access to treatments they need.  On the same day, the state Division of Insurance issued a bulletin that bars private health insurers from excluding medically necessary care for gender dysphoria from private health insurance plans.

There remain several questions about how this will be enacted, and when. MTPC, along with our coalition partners, are working with the Division of Insurance and private insurers to ensure that these new policies are enacted. We’ve also released this FAQ about the insurance bulletins.

Looking Forward

We’re seeing progress on many big issues that affect trans MA residents. But much remains to be done. Be sure to follow MTPC on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date. If you have questions, or want to get involved, email us at info@masstpc.org or call 617-778-0519.

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MTPC/Fenway Report Finds Transgender-Related Discrimination Harms Health

Project VOICE Report

Project VOICE Report

Nearly two-thirds of transgender Massachusetts residents have experienced discrimination in a public accommodation setting in the past 12 months and those experiencing this discrimination were nearly twice as likely to report adverse physical and mental health outcomes, according to a study released today by The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health.

The Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, passed in 2011 and implemented in 2012, does not cover public accommodations. Public accommodations include “any place that is open to the public and provides good or services” such as hotels, restaurants, public parks, buses, trains, theatres, hospitals and health care centers.

In 2013, MTPC and Fenway’s LifeSkills Team launched a community-based statewide stress and health needs assessment called Project VOICE (Voicing Our Individual andCommunity Experiences). The team surveyed 452 Massachusetts residents to evaluate the needs of the community in all areas of public accommodations and health. The questions assessed multiple aspects of transgender-related discrimination in public accommodation settings including actions such as unfair treatment, denial of service based on gender identity or appearance, aggressive language, and physical threats.

“The initial findings of Project VOICE may be startling to those unaware of the persistent and ongoing discrimination faced by transgender and gender nonconforming people. Unfortunately, those of us who work with gender minority communities know that mistreatment is all too common. In addition to being a matter of social justice, protecting gender minority communities from mistreatment is a matter of public health. Discrimination is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Dr. Sari Reisner, ScD, transgender health researcher and LifeSkills Investigator at Fenway.

Some of the key findings:

  • Overall, 65% of respondents reported discrimination in one or more public accommodations settings in the past 12 months.
  • The five most prevalent discrimination settings were transportation (36%), retail (28%), restaurant (26%), public gathering (25%), and health care facility/service (24%).
  • Those who reported public accommodation discrimination in the past 12 months had an 84% increased risk of adverse physical symptoms (such as headache, upset stomach, tensing of muscles, or pounding heart) in the past 30 days and 99% increased risk of emotional symptoms (including feeling emotionally upset, sad, or frustrated) in the past 30 days.
  • 28% of respondents reported that they had not seen a doctor in the past year.
  • 29% reported having to teach their health care provider about transgender health issues in the past year.

Passage of the Equal Access Bill, currently before the Mass. Legislature, would provide improved access to public accommodations, hopefully leading to better health outcomes. Additionally, training health care providers in transgender and gender-affirmative care and working with employers to update non-discriminations policies to include gender identity and provide sensitive, competent training on how to respectfully interact with transgender co-workers and customers would help address some of these issues.

Project VOICE was generously funded by the Frieda L. Miller Foundation and The Fenway Institute.

Download a copy of the report here.

The Fenway Institute is continuing its work with the transgender community through ongoing community-based participatory research with transgender, lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, and questioning youth of color, which aims to understand risk and resilience factors among these communities to inform a positive youth development intervention created by and for LGBTQ youth of color. For more information about this project, please visit www.fenwayhealth.org/ourhealthmatters or contact Johannes Wilson at jwilson@fenwayhealth.org.

Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c)(3) organization that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local and federal government; engages in political activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action.

For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless; struggling with substance use; or living with HIV/AIDS.  In 2013, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts joined the Fenway Health family, allowing both organizations to improve delivery of care and services across the state and beyond.

 Some of the News Coverage:

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MTPC Announces New Steering Committee Chair, Maxwell Ng

Press Release: July 17, 2014

Contact: Mason J. Dunn, Executive Director 617-755-7852 MasonDunn@masstpc.org

BOSTON, MA – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) today announced the election of Maxwell Ng as the new Steering Committee Chair.

Maxwell Ng, MTPC Steering Committee Chair

Maxwell Ng is a graduate of Boston University, and has lived in the area for almost 20 years.  Besides his work with MTPC, he also serves on the Steering Committee for QAPA (Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance), and is a founding member of the Trailblazers, the Boston based softball team for trans and gender variant people.  He is passionate about visibility for Queer Asians, and strives to bring the complex issues that impact our enriched and intersecting communities to the forefront.

Nancy Nangeroni, MTPC’s out-going Steering Committee Chair, remains on the steering committee, serving as Chair Emeritus. “I’m pleased and honored to remain a part of this important and effective organization,” said Nangeroni, “and I’m excited to see Maxwell take on this new role which truly reflects the energy he is already bringing to MTPC.”

“I’m humbled to serve as Chair of the MTPC Steering Committee,” said Ng. “The work that this organization does has been empowering and challenging, and I am excited to further serve in this capacity.”

Prior to this position, Ng served as the Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee. He has been involved in the Fundraising, and Events sub committees as well as previously the Kaleidoscope group.

Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.

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