This year has witnessed transgender pioneers set impressive precedent in the ongoing struggle against the multiple levels of discrimination faced by the community. In June activist and attorney Kylar Broadus became the first transgender witness to testify before the Senate, relaying his experience of discrimination in defense of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). A few months earlier the Transgender Law Center led a landmark case that resulted in an EEOC ruling that extended employment protection rights to transgender individuals throughout the country.
Despite the significant gains in the movement for transgender equality, there still remain strict barriers for trans people when it comes to accessing health care, housing, education and economic advancement. Even Vice President Joe Biden has expressed his belief that the severity of discrimination against transgender people is the "civil rights issues of our time."
In an effort to continue the increase in advocacy for the human rights of transgender people, the Transgender Law Center is hosting its 7th annual Transgender Leadership Summit from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11 at the University of California Berkeley. Unlike most conferences that privilege theory over praxis in the fight for transgender equality, the summit is uniquely designed to offer strategic practical solutions through a series of skill-building workshops covering a host of topics. This year the gathering will offer attendees information ranging from ways to build transgender education programs to professional development tactics that will help trans folks thrive in the workplace. The event will also offer an all-day legal clinic for individuals who need advice on name or gender changes, or on ways in which to navigate their own experiences with discrimination.
In addition to skill building, the summit will feature, for the first time ever, the work of Trans Advocacy Network, a national network of transgender advocacy and educational organizations that seek to have a positive impact on the climate of transgender communities. TAN will be presenting a series of workshops based on lessons learned from their advocacy work across the country.
With an expected attendance in the hundreds, Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, notes with excitement that this year's conference "could be our best summit yet!" The event is set to feature well-known transgender leaders and allies, such as award-winning writer Julia Serano, popular performance artist Annie Danger and winner of the first ever Black Male Achievement Award B. Cole. The presence of these important leaders at the summit not only highlights the successful gains of the movement but serves as an inspirational representation of powerful advocates who are elevating the profile of the transgender community.
The Transgender Leadership Summit will be held Nov. 9 to Nov. 11 at UC Berkeley. Registration is $50, with assistance available for those who need it. For more information please visit transgenderlawcenter.org/leadershipsummit or contact Kortney Ryan Ziegler at Kortney@transgenderlawcenter.org or 415-865-0176 (ext. 311).