Netroots Nation, the annual convention of progressive bloggers and activists that took place over the weekend in Providence, Rhode Island, for the first time included a panel on transgender equality and online organizing. This year’s convention, attended by almost 3,000 people, in fact marked the largest participation of LGBT activists in its seven-year history, with the “LGBT Netroots Connect” pre-conference, organized by Raw Story managing director Mike Rogers, including over 100 bloggers and activists from around the country. Among the prominent LGBT bloggers in attendance were Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend, Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod and Jeremy Hooper of GoodAsYou.
“Blogging for Transgender Equality: History, Challenges & Progress” (video of the full 75-minute panel below), included panelists Jennifer L. Levi, Director of Transgender Rights Project for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD); Autumn Sandeen, a blogger at Pam's House Blend; Jos Truitt, editor and blogger at Feministing; and Monica Roberts, editor and blogger at TransGriot. The panel was moderated by Dr. Jillian Weiss, blogger and editor at The Bilerico Project.
Panelists discussed the invisibility of trans people all too often in the larger LGBT media and blogosphere and the specific invisibility of African-American and Latino transgender people; organizing online to achieve trans equality; and intersectional activism -- working on issues important to both transgender people and other groups, such gays and lesbians, African-Americans and women.
Netroots Nation 2012 marked a greater sensitivity to and awareness of transgender people. The program included a section on “Transgender Etiquette,” which highlighted that there are “many transgender people at Netroots Nation,” and that no one should “assume anyone’s gender,” noting that a “person’s external appearance may not match their internal gender.” Bathrooms were designated as gender neutral and attendees were made aware that “in bathrooms, many transgender people face harrassment, so please let everyone pee in peace.”
Next year's Netroots Nation convention will take place in San Jose on the third weekend in June.