MTPC Signs on to Open Letter to Human Rights Campaign: Trans people don’t need HRC to save us – we need HRC to back usPosted by: Kelsey Grunstra | Posted on: October 3, 2019
“After reading the article in Out Magazine, a few trans leaders, including representatives from the Transgender Law Center, Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project, Transgender Legal Defense, and Education Fund and The TransLatin@ Coalition, gathered to discuss our concerns. We made the difficult decision to draft this open letter because trans people have worked hard to build an infrastructure to support our movement, and we saw that work being dangerously invisibilized in the way HRC composed its plan and rolled out the announcement. For the biggest LGBT organization in the world to ignore hard-won existing trans movement infrastructure and leadership – and claim to speak for us – threatens our ability to maintain a strong trans-led movement for liberation. Under Alphonso David’s leadership, we see a new willingness from HRC to prioritize trans people of color. Our letter is an invitation for HRC to do so in partnership with us – rather than for us.”
MTPC is proud to join with our fellow trans-focused and trans-led organizations in sending HRC this message.
Joint Statement of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition (MTPC) on the Treatment of Individuals Arrested for Protesting ‘Straight Pride’ Parade in BostonPosted by: Kelsey Grunstra | Posted on: September 9, 2019
We are profoundly disturbed by the events surrounding the ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston on August 31, including the cascading missteps surrounding the counter-protest and its aftermath, at the hands of the police and the justice system. They are reminders of how far we have to go before our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender communities can trust that our voices will be heard, and our identities respected, in the public square, without fear of mistreatment or discrimination.
The individuals who gathered to protest the ‘Straight Pride’ parade did so to voice disagreement with the event’s extremist messages, including the message that LGBTQ people are not “normal.” Such dehumanizing statements, made by parade organizers who have ties to White Supremacist and other alt right ideologies, threaten not only the dignity but also the safety of LGB and especially transgender lives.
Our aspirations for equal justice in our nation require protection of avenues of dissent. And yet, the heavy-handed police tactics at the rally, resulting in the arrests of protesters, threatens to squelch the voices of marginalized people, particularly the transgender community who already experience harassment and discrimination at the hands of the police.
What happened subsequently in the courtroom did little to restore our community’s trust in the justice system. While prosecutors, under the leadership of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins, tried to do the right thing by declining to prosecute the minor charges levied against the protesters, Suffolk Municipal Court Judge Sinnott refused to defer to prosecutorial discretion and instead insisted that many of these charges go forward. Judicial resources are not well spent on prosecuting people who showed up at a rally to engage civic values of discourse.
To make matters worse, Judge Sinnott later mistreated one defendant, Kai De Jesus, a transgender woman of color, with humiliating and dehumanizing statements about her gender and name, including equating her name with a criminal alias. Whether intentional or not, comments like those made by Judge Sinnott send the message to transgender people that they may not receive a fair hearing in court – the opposite of the expectation we should be ensuring all residents of the Commonwealth can confidently hold with regards to our justice system.
But we have the power to change that. In 2018 the trial court created a mandated training, required of every trial court employee, including judges, setting out expectations for fair, respectful and inclusive treatment of transgender people in our courts. Last week demonstrated how critical such trainings are to continue on an ongoing basis for all court staff, including the judges who are entrusted with delivering unbiased justice.
Last year the Massachusetts community voted overwhelmingly to uphold protections for transgender individuals in public spaces, including on the streets and in the courts. It is up to all of us to live up to our collective aspirations of upholding fairness, dignity, and respect for LGB and transgender people, and for all people in the Commonwealth.
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. GLAD participated in the development of the 2018 trial court training on inclusive and respectful treatment of transgender people in the court system.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis on gender identity and gender expression. Rooted in social justice, we educate the public; advocate with state, local and federal government; engage in activism; and encourage the empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC offers regular trainings throughout the state on trans and non-binary identities and on developing accessibility and inclusion for trans and non-binary communities.
A bill pending in the State Legislature (H.3664/S.2203) would allow residents to choose a non-binary ‘X’ gender marker on driver’s licenses, birth certificates or other state-issued ID. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday Sept. 10th at 10:30am in Gardner Auditorium at the Statehouse.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and advocates who pressed for this hearing! There is a short turn around for the hearing, so Here’s what you can do now:
- Submit testimony: Write a short statement about why you support Massachusetts residents having the option to designate ‘X’ on their IDs rather than ‘Male’ or ‘Female’. Send that to Tre’Andre Valentine at TreAndreValentine@masstpc.
org or by snail mail to: MTPC, PO Box 960784, Boston, MA 02196. MTPC will submit a packet of testimonials to the joint committee at the hearing. Please make sure your testimony is in by Monday Sept. 9th by 9pm.
- Attend the hearing simply to be counted among those who care about this issue. We need people to show up.
- Present oral testimony: Sign up to testify for up to 3 minutes by contacting Rep. Domb’s office at: Mindy.Domb@mahouse.gov or (617) 722-2400 or simply show up to the hearing, sign-in and register the day of
- Contact members of the Joint Committee for State Administration and Regulatory Oversight encouraging them to report the bill favorably out of committee. Joint committees have both senators and representatives, but the priority now is to contact the Representatives on the committee.
Tre’Andre Valentine to Lead the
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Boston, MA July 17, 2019
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) announced today that Tre’Andre Valentine will take the helm as its new Executive Director.
Tre’Andre, who uses he/they pronouns, brings nearly a decade of non-profit experience and grassroots organizing energy to MTPC. In their previous role at The Network La Red, Tre’Andre was responsible for managing community engagement, outreach programs, educational programming, as well as grassroots fundraising. Tre’Andre also served on MTPC’s steering committee from 2006-2016. In addition to their extensive experience in the non-profit sector, they also bring their own lived experience as an indigenous transgender person of color.
“After an extensive, two month long search process, we are so thrilled to have Tre’Andre on board,” said Michelle Tat, Co-chair of MTPC’s Steering Committee. Co-chair Kaden Mohamed added, “In Tre’Andre we found a leader with drive, excitement, and passion whose values, skills, expertise, and lived experiences will guide MTPC into its future.”
“I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of leading MTPC as we continue to forge forward,” said Tre’Andre. “Massachusetts has a strong foundation for transgender rights thanks to the leadership of my predecessors Gunner Scott, Mason Dunn, as well as the steering committee and all of MTPC’s supporters and allies. “I look forward to being a part of the effort of making a difference in the daily lived experiences of transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals of Massachusetts.”
MTPC is coming off its historic 2018 victory in the Yes on 3 Campaign, defending transgender rights at the ballot box in Massachusetts. “We now have the opportunity to help our state become a place not only with legal protections, but where trans and non-binary people experience lived equality in their daily lives,” said Tre’Andre.
Founded in 2001, MTPC is a trans led and trans focused organization that has been working for almost two decades to improve the lives of Massachusetts transgender youth, adults, and their families. The Steering Committee and Tre’Andre are excited to step into this next phase of the organization’s work and to continue building and engaging community along the way.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Rooted in social justice, we educate the public, advocate with state, local and federal government, engage in activism and encourage empowerment of community members through collective action.
MTPC’s statement concerning the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the injunction on military service banPosted by: Mason Dunn | Posted on: January 22, 2019
Today’s news that the Supreme Court will lift an existing injunction and allow the military to actively pursue discriminatory policies against thousands of trans and nonbinary people serving, or seeking to serve, is a cruel slap in the face to our communities. Trans and nonbinary service members simply want to do the jobs they have been trained and tasked to do, and this decision from the Supreme Court will likely hold them back from doing just that. Those seeking to enlist and serve want only to be afforded the same opportunities, and held to the same standards as their cisgender peers. Trans and nonbinary veterans deserve the same honor and respect as others who have served.
This administration’s ban on trans people serving in the military is groundless: there is no evidence that trans people disrupt military effectiveness or threaten unit cohesion. Removing trans and nonbinary service members, however, will mean losing thousands of qualified and trained service members, and have a long term negative effect – for those serving, and for the armed forces as a whole. Regardless of our skepticism or opinions about the military, or critiques of the military-industrial complex, no one should be denied a job, or public service, based on their gender identity or expression. No one should be held back in their career or goals because of discriminatory, biased, and baseless policies.
Hi everyone, my name is Kelsey Grunstra, I use she/her pronouns, and I’m MTPC’s new Operations Coordinator! Before I get into too much detail about me, let me tell you what I’ll be doing with MTPC. My mission is the same as Mason’s and MTPC’s as a whole, to end oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, but my day-to-day work will mostly look like answering your emails and phone calls, running our newsletter and social media accounts, working on events and trainings, and generally helping out Mason so he can keep doing the great work he’s up to! I’m so excited to join MTPC and get to work for and with all of you, our beautiful community.
As for how I got here, It’s been an interesting few years for myself (and, well, all of us I suppose) and things have been changing pretty constantly in my life. Ever since I first came out and began transitioning, I’ve consistently become more and more driven to be directly engaged in work that uplifts and supports the trans community. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve had a lot of privilege in my life, and this commitment has really come from my desire to utilize that privilege to build up and advocate for our community. Almost exactly one year ago at the 2017 Harvard LGBTQ Conference, I was just standing around waiting for Mara Keisling’s (the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality) keynote to start when none other than Mara herself came over and introduced herself to my friends and I. She just wanted to meet us and have some casual conversation to avoid thinking about the fact that she’d be speaking in just a few minutes. I’ve been inspired by her work, her dedication, and her resilience for many years now but that was really the moment I knew I could go into advocacy work. Seeing one of my role models struggling with the normal things I encounter all the time, ultimately I realized, you don’t have to be anything special or unique to be a dedicated and empowered leader, you just need to be driven, full of passion and empathy, listen to those around you, and lift up the voices and people who can do what you can’t (after of course accepting that you cannot!).
So now fast forward about a year and I’m chatting with one of the MTPC Steering Committee members who knew I was looking for work and they suggested that I take a look at this role. It just so happened to fit in perfectly with my schedule and what I was looking for! So then I met with Mason and some more Steering Committee members and that’s the short and sweet version of what brought me to MTPC and how I became engaged in advocacy work for the trans community.
Outside of this space, I work and live in Somerville with four amazing roommates and my many, many guitars. I’m a musician who often struggles to answer the question “What do you play?” because of the many instruments and styles of music I’m often bouncing between. I hope to someday soon record some music and maybe even get a band together with some of my friends. When I’m not playing music, I can reliably be found tinkering with my instruments or building new ones (to highly varying levels of completion and quality!), reading fiction or comic books, hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, or nerding out over the latest sci-fi TV series. I do however also love spending time outdoors, whether just on a long walk, going on a strenuous hike, or spending a day at the beach.
With all that said, I’m very, very excited to get started and do what I can to help MTPC be effective and grow. I also can’t wait to get to know you, our community, better, and be I hope to see you at some of our future events. Please feel free to get in touch with me and introduce yourself by emailing me at email@example.com!