by Eli Coffin, GSBA Business Training Specialist & Grant Manager
| Feb 26, 2020
The Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition was created in 2018 when community leaders across the Puget Sound came together across organizations and set out to meaningfully work together in a long term sustainable way. With each partaking organization focused around different parts of the LGBTQ community, Ingersoll Gender Center lead the way in uniting GSBA, TRANSform Washington, Gender Diversity, Gay City, POCAAN, and UTOPIA Seattle for this important work.
Our collective goal is to identify barriers and gaps in resources, develop resources, and identify policy solutions to move our communities out of poverty. As organizations led by transgender people and LGBTQ people of color, we are stronger together in finding solutions that address economic inequities that impact access to community connections, housing resources, affordable LGBTQ affirming healthcare.
This is complex, hard work. Last year we were able to send a few leaders from our coalition to attend Creating Change, a national conference to learn more about how other communities are approaching these issues, to make new connections, and come back rejuvenated with new ideas. This year, we were to secure funding for a representative from each organization.
This year’s event was the National LGBTQ Task Force’s 32nd Creating Change Conference. The conference has grown each year, and is centered on “on innovation, justice, liberation, progressive voices, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and movement sustainability.” The over 3,000 attendees hailed from across the US to hold space together and grow as a movement. As we learned from each other, deepened our conversations, and shared our visions - our collective liberation became clearer.
We participated in workshops and institutes varying from “Moving Beyond Representational Politics: Valuing Blackness Outside of White Recognition,” “Being Courageous Together: Navigating hard conversations about gender identity, expression, and privilege in the LGBTQIA movement,” to “Nothing About Us Without Us: Today’s Advocates Update Us and Offer Perspective on History of the Intersectionality in Disability Advocacy.”
Folks from LGBTQ organization, hospitals, student bodies, government agencies, chambers of commerce, all came together and learned from one another. LGBTQ activism is unique in the sense that almost all current social, cultural, and political issues impact our community. LGBTQ people are everywhere, in all cultures, in all countries, across the world, and throughout time. Our issues are unique to us, and are also found within many intersections across marginalized communities. When we value and truly hear those who are most oppressed - who have the most barriers to overcome in order to sit at the table - we create better community solutions that benefit all people. We are all standing on the shoulders of generations who have come before us and led the way. Even though this history has so often been white-washed, many of these fights were fearlessly lead by Black and Brown Trans Women.
This year, Creating Change honored this important history by amplifying the voices of Black and Brown Trans Women. During the conference, national leaders from the Transgender Law Center released their new 2020 Trans Agenda for Liberation. The agenda is not meant only as a resource for trans activists, but a tool to help guide our next steps as a movement. We know we need to change the power dynamics - and that happens when we all use our positions of power to change the narrative.
2019 was still one of the deadliest years on record for transgender and gender diverse people. Over 26 transgender and gender diverse people were murdered in acts of anti-trans hate, with over 90% of those being femme and trans women of color. This is our family taken from the world because of hatred that is perpetuated through in-action and misinformation about trans identity and experiences which allows intolerance and hatred to fester.
Whether you are a corporate nine-to-five professional, full time parent, student, or small business owner, we ALL need to be coming together for our trans siblings. We ALL need to do better. Trans leaders have literally put together a road map for us to do so. So let’s come together, as a community and move onward. Learn more about the important work of the Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition.