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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 Boston
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.
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.
Boston, MA – On Friday, December 15, 2017, the Trump Administration took yet another step in their efforts to suppress the rights of transgender people and minority communities. In a report from the Washington Post, we learned that the White House has issued orders to the Centers for Disease Control, stating the CDC can no longer use the word transgender, along with six other words and phrases such as “diversity” and “evidence-based,” in budget documents. This is nothing more than a prejudiced attempt to erase lives and facts, through an attack on health policy at the national level.
“Our lives and identities will not be censored,” said Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Executive Director Mason Dunn. “We will not be erased from the conversation. We stand together in the fight to ensure that fact and science prevails, even when those in power would deny them.”
“The federal government is improperly politicizing our public health agencies. This effort compromises the life-saving work of the CDC. It makes it even more challenging to reduce health disparities and will exacerbate negative health outcomes, particularly in vulnerable populations and marginalized communities,” said Lawyers’ Committee’s Executive Director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal.
The banned words are:
- Entitlement; and
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, stand firm in our resolve to fight these unprecedented attacks on our communities.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. We engage in creative and courageous legal action, education, and advocacy in collaboration with law firms and community partners.
The Mass Trans Political Coalition and Health Law Advocates are working together to determine the needs and shortcomings of health care coverage for trans people in Massachusetts. This information will be kept confidential to our organizations, and will be used to determine advocacy needs in health care systems. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this survey, please contact MTPC: email@example.com.
Thank you for your participation!
Link to the MTPC/HLA Trans Healthcare Survey here.