Do you identify as trans* or gender non-conforming? Do you have any interest in legally changing your name and/or gender marker in Massachusetts, or have you previously? Do you know someone who does/has?
We hope you will take 10-15 minutes out of your day to help us with the valuable feedback. Your answers will be kept confidential, will only be viewed by the project team members, and will only be used for this project. We hope to have as many answers as possible by Tuesday, July 22. Please feel free to share this information with anyone else you feel may have input on the process of legally changing names and/or gender markers with respect to gender identity.
The survey can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/
Your input is essential to this project and we sincerely appreciate your time. Thank you!
It was a weekend of celebration and excitement in the LGBTQ movement as Pride Month came to a close. Marriage equality has been achieved at the national level, and we congratulate the activists, advocates, supporters, and volunteers who made this win a reality.
But now it’s July, and it’s time to continue the work. We are one step closer to lived equality for all LGBTQ people, and we cannot stop now. Join us in the continued journey, and together we can make history for human rights.
As you may have seen, MTPC has joined forces with many LGBTQ and human rights organizations to form Freedom Massachusetts. This campaign is working to secure nondiscrimination protections for gender identity and gender expression in all Massachusetts public spaces. Please take a moment to join the campaign and sign the pledge.
Want to volunteer for the campaign? Email Katie: Katie@FreedomMassachusetts.org. We need your help with phone banks, data input, organizing, and so much more. This is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a very exciting campaign.
There is so much work left to do, but with this momentum, we are unstoppable. Join the movement, and together we can continue to change the world.
We hope you’ll join MTPC ED Mason Dunn and Steering Committee Chair Emeritus Nancy Nangeroni at the amazing North Shore Pride event in Salem, MA, on Saturday, June 20 from noon to 5.
Stop by our table to hear about our work, learn how to get involved, or just say hello! And be sure to enter our T-shirt and iPad Mini raffles!
We will have postcards you can sign for Gov. Charlie Baker asking him to support our public access bill. We’ll also have letter writing materials if you want to send something longer and more personal.
We hope to see you there!
Last Sunday the annual Trans 100 was announced. This list celebrates excellence within the trans community by highlighting exceptional work done by and for trans people, promoting those who may not otherwise receive recognition, and increasing positive visibility for the trans community as a whole.
This year, four Massachusetts advocates were named to the list: Grace Sterling Stowell of BAGLY, Sari Reisner from Fenway Health, Ben Power Alwin founder of the Sexual Minorities Education Foundation, and MTPC’s very own chair, Maxwell Ng. We want to congratulate each of these amazing advocates on this high honor. The hard work each of you has done for the trans community of Massachusetts, and beyond, is deeply appreciated by those of us here at MTPC.
Additionally, March 31st marks the International Day of Transgender Visibility. This day aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe by spreading knowledge about and for the trans community. This day is not about mourning: rather, this is a day to empower our community and celebrate our accomplishments.
Visibility is a vital key in advocacy and social change. It reminds the world around us that transgender people are each integral members of our communities. Visibility for the trans community gives us the opportunity to have conversations about discrimination, bias, and violence that our community faces. But, as the Trans 100 highlights, visibility must also be about the achievements, beauty, and strengths within our community. We must raise each other up, and celebrate all we have to offer.
So, for this day of visibility, I hope each of you has the opportunity to celebrate.
Massachusetts Trans 100 Honorees 2013-2015
Ben Power Alwin
Dr. Van Bailey
Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge
Grace Sterling Stowell
by Kelly, Community and Policy Intern with MTPC
The stories we know about the trans community affect how we think about and perceive the community. Too often these stories exclude Black trans people. Last year for Black History Month, MTPC featured 5 Black Trans Women Who Paved the Way. This year we have 4 Black Trans Men Whose Stories We Should Know. These are just a few among many stories of trans men of color that we as a community are not telling. Let’s make sure we are including these stories and the stories of other Black trans men in how we imagine our community.
Willmer “Little Ax” Broadnax
Born in Houston in 1916, Willmer “Little Ax” Broadnax was a gospel singer who performed with groups such as the Southern Gospel Singers, the Golden Echoes, the Spirit of Memphis, the Fairfield Four, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and Little Axe and the Golden Voices from 1939 through the 1980s. He was known as a powerful tenor and a “heroic screamer, holding his own with some of the strongest leads.”
He and his brother William “Big Ax” Broadnax started their careers singing with Houston’s St. Paul Gospel Singers before moving to Los Angeles and joining the South Gospel Singers. Willmer left the South Gospel Singers and formed the Golden Echoes in order to tour. Willmer continued performing and touring with various groups, including his own quartet, “Little Axe and the Golden Voices” into the 1960s. He continued to record with the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi through the 1980s. You can hear the voice of “Little Axe” here and here.
On May 23, 1992, Willmer was stabbed by his girlfriend after a heated argument and passed away on June 1, 1992. It was discovered upon his death that Willmer was assigned female at birth.
Born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1924, Jim McHarris disliked all things feminine in himself as a child but appreciated feminine girls as his dating partners. Beginning in 1939, he lived as a man moving frequently across the country. In 1953, he moved to Kosciusko, Mississippi, and began building a life. Over the next three months he became engaged to a woman, worked at a gas station, and was involved in the True Tabernacle Church. At the True Tabernacle Church, he was scheduled to be elevated to a deacon position even with Bishop Smiley Jones’s knowledge of Jim’s assigned sex.
In 1954, he was pulled over and arrested. As the officers pat him down, his assigned sex was revealed. Although it is not clear what motivated this action, Jim stripped off all his clothes and revealed his breasts and genitalia in front of the judge and arresting officers to “prove” he was “born female.” Jim was sentenced to 30 day in jail at the prison farm. Jim dressed in men’s clothes but was housed with a female prisoner. After he was released from jail, he was shunned by the community and left Kosciusko. In the 1954 EBONY article that featured his story, Jim said “I ain’t done nothing wrong and I ain’t breaking no laws.” After this ordeal Jim continued to live as a man.
Marcelle Cook-Daniels was a national transmasculine African-American leader as well as a dedicated father, son, and partner. He worked as a computer programmer and analyst as his day job while also contributing to many national and local conferences and organizations including the 1999 Creating Change conference, the 1998 Butch-FTM: Building Coalitions Through Dialogue event, several True Spirit Conferences, and The American Boyz. He was a supporter of COLAGE and the Transgender Aging Network because of his commitment to family, openness, and public service.
He did not shy away from addressing the intersections of race and gender. In an article he wrote with his life partner Loree, “My Life As an Erroneous Sonogram,” Marcelle said “in the back of my mind I always knew that gender realignment would make me a black male in society where black males are tolerated at best and hated and feared at worst… If anything being black has stood in my way of accepting my maleness” (194).
Marcelle lost his lifelong battle with depression on April 21, 2000. He is remembered by the community a major pioneering leader for his commitment to intersectional understandings of identity and community.
Alexander “Bear” Goodrum was a Chicago native who was an active social justice organizer from the 1980s until his death in 2002. As an African-American, transgender, queer, disabled activist, his work stretched across all these communities. After moving to Tucson in 1996, Alexander quickly became a leader serving on City of Tucson GLBT Commission and an Activist/Panelist for the Funding Exchange’s OutFund for Gay and Lesbian Liberation as well as being an active member of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, Wingspan (Tucson’s GLBT Community Center), and Desert Voices (Arizona’s GLBT mixed chorus).
In 2000 he founded TGNet based on his groundbreaking document, “Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer.” One of TGNet’s most significant projects was the Arizona Transgender Workplace (ATWORK) Project, which serves to create and foster open, inclusive, and safe working environments for transgender applicants and employees by promoting an understanding of gender identity and expression among managers and supervisory personnel.
In the Fall of 2002, Alexander sought mental health assistance. He died by suicide on September 28 while under observation at La Frontera Psychiatric Hospital in Tucson. The Southern Arizona Gender Alliance created the Goodrum Project to help support and empower transgender people in seeking mental health services while educating mental health service providers in honor of Alexander.
Last Friday Representatives Denise Provost and Byron Rushing, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz filed legislation to fill the gap of the current statewide nondiscrimination laws pertaining to gender identity and expression in public accommodations in Massachusetts. This is a very exciting time for MTPC, and we’re thrilled to bring you up to date on this important action.
As you may know, last month Governor Charlie Baker spoke out against this legislation – but we won’t let that get us down. We’re working hard to bring in support in the statehouse and from the community.
Just a few days ago, the Boston Globe published a wonderful editorial about the importance of public accommodations protections for the transgender community. The editorial urges legislators and the Governor to fill the gap and pass nondiscrimination legislation.
But there is so much more work to be done. Already we are planning phone banks, lobby days, and looking for interns and volunteers to help with this work. Will you join us? Here’s how:
- Click here to sign up for updates about upcoming phone banks, lobby days, or volunteer opportunities.
- Are you going to First Event this week? Join us Thursday at noon for exclusive updates and training to get even more involved. We’ll work with you to craft stories to impact change, speak about the details of the legislation, and take your questions about the work ahead.
- Click here to learn more about the legislation, public accommodations, and the state law.
If you have questions, or want to get involved in other ways, please email us at email@example.com.