By Sunnivie Brydum, Guest Blogger
Continuing with our celebration of Transgender Awareness Month (TAM), today we want to begin our multi-week effort to highlight groups, organizations, and resources dedicated to serving the transgender community on a national level and right here in Colorado.
National Center for Transgender Equality
Founded in 2003 by Executive Director Mara Kiesling, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), based in Washington, D.C., serves as the legal headquarters for transgender scholars, activists and allies, and advocates for trans-inclusive policies at the federal level.
NCTE’s mission statement defines the group as “a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.” NCTE seeks to achieve this goal by empowering transgender people and their allies to advocate for themselves and educate and influence policymakers to support trans-inclusive legislation.
While federal protections for transgender people still fall far short of even the limited protections afforded lesbian and gay Americans, NCTE has been influential in notable advances in transgender equality. NCTE boasts an impressive issues roster including discrimination, health care, identification documentation, relationship recognition, immigration, and hate crimes protections, among others.
In October 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which included, for the first time in federal legislation, enumerated protections for gender identity and transgender people. NCTE was also influential in the 2010 revision of State Department rules for changing gender markers on U.S. passports. This not only streamlined the process to change passport gender markers – making international travel safer for trans people — but also removed previous requirements that such a change required sexual reassignment surgery — something that is not attainable, nor even desired by all transgender people.
TransAction / It Takes a Village
TransAction is Colorado’s only HIV prevention and care program aimed at transgender people. As a program of Colorado’s It Takes A Village non-profit, TransAction began in 2007 in an effort to meet the needs of Colorado’s MTF and FTM transgender community.
TransAction offers a drop-in center, creating a safe space with clothing, food, movies, and computers for trans people to learn, relax, socialize, eat, and find support. Weekly group discussions — which include dinner and focus on everything from self-image to safer sex to employment, housing, and discrimination — are held every Wednesday from 4 – 6 pm in English and every Thursday from 3 – 5 pm in Spanish. TransAction also provides health support services, including an addiction and trauma counselor and rapid HIV testing. Case managers are on-hand to offer assistance and advocacy for anyone who tests positive for HIV or needs additional help.
With a focus on educating not only the transgender community, but also educating the broader community about transgender issues, TransAction has previously hosted two educational seminars for community members and service providers, highlighting ways to provide and adapt services to meet the needs of the transgender community. TransAction is planning on hosting another such seminar in January, but plans have not yet been finalized.
TransAction is located at 1477 Lima Street in Aurora. Give them a call at 720-243-0934 to learn more about the services they offer.
We have many more organizations to highlight in the weeks to come — so stick with us. And if you have a group that you’d really like us to feature, contact Sunnivie!
Sunnivie Brydum is the Denver LGBT Issues Examiner and a guest blogger for One Colorado. This article is also available on Examiner.com. You can also find Sunni on Facebook and Twitter, exploring and talking about her passion: the politics of equality.