Transgender Law Center’s 2017 Plan of Resistance
We know that 2017 will be a cruel and difficult year for transgender and gender nonconforming people, but now is not the time for panic, isolation, or doubling down on business as usual. It is a time for us to remember how transgender people have long survived and resisted in moments of crisis: through community.
It is with this knowledge that Transgender Law Center (TLC) has formed the first steps in a plan of resistance for 2017. It is a plan that relies on and centers you—that builds on the Center’s existing movement-building strategies and radically restructures how TLC provides legal information and resources in order to harness community power so that the organization can respond to the crises that lie ahead.
- TLC is expanding its movement-building programming to train up a legion of trans and gender nonconforming leaders across the country who are ready to mobilize. TLC has already held three trainings through its National Training Institute, preparing a cohort of 60 leaders from the South, Midwest, and Southwest to organize against the attacks they know are coming in their states. TLC will provide ongoing training and support to this cohort over the next year.
- TLC is launching a legislative tracker, so that you can follow the events happening in your state and find the resources you need to fight back. Through videos, resources, the TLC@SONG partnership, and technical assistance to local activists, TLC will do everything possible to ensure that the tools and expertise developed in this work are made available to the people who will be most impacted by the dangerous legislation being proposed.
- TLC is changing the way the organization responds to the legal needs of people who reach out. TLC experienced a 45% increase in requests for legal information or assistance following the election of Donald Trump. But with that increase in requests also came an outpouring of generous offers to help—from attorneys looking to provide pro bono support to community members who saw this moment as a call to action. To increase the number of people TLC can reach, the organization is shifting its model to focus on mobilizing volunteers and better connecting folks to existing and emerging resources. This includes a revamp of TLC’s Cooperating Attorney Network, an expansion of its Helpline Volunteer program, and the launch of the new Trans Legal Clinic Calendar, a state-by-state resource that will be updated weekly. TLC plans to collaborate with community groups and cooperating attorneys across the country to bring legal clinics and legal education on an ongoing basis.
- Knowing that the new administration will introduce measures to criminalize and deport trans communities on an unprecedented scale, TLC is expanding the legal support provided to individual trans immigrants. Through the new Trans Immigrant Defense Effort (TIDE), TLC will recruit, train, and match pro bono immigration attorneys across the country to create a powerful army ready to defend transgender people facing deportation. TLC also plans to work closely with grassroots groups, including SONG, on strategies and community-based efforts to combat police abuse.
- For two years, TLC and GSA Network’s youth-led TRUTH program has supported transgender youth and families in sharing their stories, finding community, and shifting the narrative around what it means to be young and trans. In the coming year—as a Supreme Court decision in the case of transgender student Gavin Grimm approaches—TLC will continue this program under the leadership of our national and regional youth councils to mobilize trans youth to protect one another in a hostile climate and speak out against attacks.
- Less than two weeks into 2017, we have already lost at least three transgender people to violence. TLC is joining efforts led by other organizations to monitor and respond to this violence.
- Through a new partnership with NMAC, the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, Positive Women’s Network—USA, and THRIVE SS, TLC is expanding the work of its Positively Trans program to build the leadership of people of color living with HIV, as well as continuing research and digital storytelling workshops through Positively Trans.
These are just a few examples of how TLC is preparing to meet the challenges of 2017. TLC cannot predict all that will happen, and flexibility and the agility to respond quickly to emergencies will be essential. Over the coming weeks and months, TLC will roll out more details and calls to action. TLC is already hiring for some new positions to support this work, so please check out the organization’s job announcement page (https://transgenderlawcenter.org/about/careers) if you are interested in joining the TLC team.
TLC will also continue to rely on your support to raise the resources necessary to respond to this ever-growing need. But TLC already knows that the answer to every crisis will lie within us—not as individual leaders, not as an organization, but as a community.
TLC’s 2017 Plan of Resistance is to rely on the resources, wisdom, and passion of our community—so that you, in turn, can continue to rely on this vital organization.